Following the sovereign debt crisis investment in new presses slowed in Italy, but there have recently been some positive signals. Mid-size packaging enterprise A. De Robertis & Figli in Putignano near the southern port of Bari is one example: the commissioning of a highly automated KBA Rapida 145 large-format seven-colour coater press was the first move in a comprehensive upgrade. By the end of the year three high-tech KBA medium- and large-format presses will have replaced older presses from another German vendor.
The 1060 x 1450mm (41.34 x 57in) Rapida 145 is a new model unveiled in March at a pre-Drupa open house at KBA's plant in Radebeul. De Robertis signed up for two presses of this type: the second, a six-colour version, will be installed in May. In the autumn they will be joined by a seven-colour B1 (41in) Rapida 106 with two coaters.
Commemorative plaque for the first Rapida 145 user in Italy
Joachim Nitschke, managing director of KBA-Italia, presented De Robertis proprietors Cesare and Fabio Contegiacomo with a plaque commemorating the inauguration of the first Rapida 145 in the country, and described the event as the start of a successful partnership. He said: “The De Robertis project exemplifies KBA's pole position in the Italian and international packaging printing sector, and a market share of around 80 per cent is evidence of the strong role played by medium- and large-format Rapidas in this sector. The reasons for this are their groundbreaking technology and superior productivity driven by the extensive automation of makeready processes and a high output. This major investment by De Robertis represents a clear signal for the sector and raises hopes of a gradual improvement in the investment climate in Italy.”
Development alliance for larger formats
Management reaffirmed its decision to invest in new kit and switch to KBA. Cesare Contegiacomo said: “Making investments at times of crisis was something our grandfather recommended, and we have followed his advice. Unlike other branches of the Italian printing industry we have a solid base in packaging, and this gives us scope for modernisation and innovative technological concepts. We allowed ourselves a generous time-frame for implementing this major project, scrutinised every possible variant and opted for KBA after viewing a number of installations in Germany and Poland. Along with press features and service, the format was a key criterion.”
He continued: “Shortly before placing the order for the press we purchased several Bobst Mastercut die-cutters for a 1450mm format. KBA said they could also supply this format. We were virtually KBA's development partner for the new format class and have streamlined our entire production workflow. A typical win-win situation for all concerned.”
Cesare Contegiacomo added: “We are confident that the Rapidas are the best and most advanced means of enhancing production output and quality. They will enable us to improve our customer services substantially. With the three KBA presses we are well geared up for our specific job structure and can even handle strong fluctuations in run length cost-effectively.”
Early specialisation in packaging
De Robertis started up in 1899 as a small printshop for books and booklets. In the 1950s and 60s, at customers' instigation, the product portfolio was expanded to include commercials and folding cartons. Following the company's acquisition by the Contegiacomo family in 1972 the focus shifted exclusively to printing packaging.
Dr Fabio Contegiacomo said: “We believed that specialising in a clearly defined business line was the sole path to success. It was the right decision: we have evolved into one of Italy's best known packaging manufacturers. Quality and punctuality, in tandem with creativity and a farsighted investment policy, were key factors in enabling us to achieve this breakthrough. Along with diverse other quality certificates such as EN ISO 9001 since 1995, in 2011 we were awarded UNI EN 15593:2008 accreditation by the Bureau Veritas.”
Premium quality for Ferrero and Barilla
Today De Robertis has a 35,000m² (8.6-acre) site with 15,000m² (161,460ft²) of production floor space in Putignano. Its 61 employees there generate sales in the double-digit millions and process some 18,000 tonnes (19,800 US tons) of board and e-flute corrugated per year. Customers include prominent manufacturing groups in the food-processing, sector, such as Barilla and Ferrero.
The fully monty enhances efficiency
The new fleet of KBA presses is highly automated and boasts an extensive range of features. An output of up to 17,000sph with the two Rapida 145 press lines and 18,000sph with the Rapida 106 is well above the average. Makeready times are exceptionally short and the presses require a minimum of manual input. The Rapidas are all mounted on plinths, have extended deliveries, a CX cartonboard capability, automated pile logistics, automatic plate changers, CleanTronic Synchro washing systems and energy-efficient VariDryBLUE dryers. DensiTronic Professional and QualiTronic colour control assist the operator by safeguarding cutting-edge quality monitoring and control.