Koenig & Bauer (KBA) welcomed over 250 print pundits from 22 countries to its sheetfed offset plant in Radebeul on 26 and 27 June. Under the banner “Commercial Printing. Competence. Network. 2014” the visitors were updated on the hottest topics regarding commercial printing.
Following the two-day open house which focused on the latest trends in packaging printing in mid-May, this was the broadly based printing press manufacturer’s second, internationally acclaimed customer event of 2014. The first day was dedicated to theory. On the next day the participants were able to choose between various print demos which focused on perfecting, on-demand printing, mass production and finishing.
Martin Wenk, executive board member of communication agency Jung von Matt/Neckar in Stuttgart, held an inspiring keynote speech. In a creative and entertaining way he showed that in today’s media arena print and brand communication has to be surprising and convincing in order to be effective: “Good advertising works like this as well, just like the most successful idea ever – the Trojan horse. It comes nicely packed as a gift, but it is specifically designed for conquering.” Martin Wenk offered insights into a consumer society full of emotion and with the aid of specific examples showed just what really counts in advertising.
As flexible as an ant
Ants are brought up to take on various roles, ranging from hunters, food gatherers and cultivators which look after fungi as a source of nutrition. They are all-rounders. KBA product manager Anja Hagedorn used the example of these versatile insects to address the topic of flexibility in printing. The Rapida sheetfed offset presses can achieve this level of versatility with the raft of different add-ons available. Along with standard materials (usually 0.06 to 0.6mm) they can handle thin substrates (from 0.04mm) up to heavy board, beer mat board or microflute (1.2 to 1.6mm). Rapida components are even used by KBA MetalPrint in metal decorating systems.
The KBA Rapidas can also be equipped for maximum flexibility for inline finishing. The RSP solutions from CITO open up numerous possibilities in terms of grooving, die-cutting and perforation. These can be implemented in the printing units and coater. Anja Hagedorn presented possible applications and compared these based on practical criteria, such as the cost of die plates, flexibility, ease of operation, register accuracy and print-run stability.
Sensory effects make a printed product distinctive and prompt consumers to look at it, touch it or even smell it. Luxury finished printed matter in particular evokes such consumer reactions. One coater or a free-standing printing unit in connection with a coater are all that’s needed to create many finishing effects, such as drip-off, haptic qualities or fragrances. KBA has a wealth of experience in inline finishing and the company often sets new trends with its Rapidas. An example of this from shortly after the millennium was the hybrid printing method which simultaneously uses oil-based overprint varnish and UV coating for premium finished printed products.
As clever as an artic fox
Fellow KBA product marketing representative Jens Baumann focused his presentation on the topic of performance in commercial printing. He looked at far more than just speed. Perfection when turning the sheet, fast job changes and quick finishing with effective drying all at the lowest possible costs contribute to performance in commercial printing. The Rapida commercial presses are designed specifically for this with features ranging from fast perfecting at speeds of up to 18,000sph, AirTronic delivery, simultaneous plate changing (DriveTronic SPC) and new drying processes, such as HR-UV und LED-UV.
The latter offers interesting approaches to optimise investment costs with short delivery times: investment in conventional four or eight-colour presses is the lowest. However, the printed products cannot be finished immediately. Investing in a four or eight-colour press with coater would bump up the start-up costs, but it is then possible to finish the products immediately. HR-UV dryers before perfecting or in the delivery only moderately increase costs compared to conventional presses as a coater and dryer are not necessary. Printed products can still be sent straight to finishing. LED-UV is a process with a promising future. LED-UV dryers significantly and sustainably reduce energy consumption. In addition, they have a long service life, require little maintenance and offer many other advantages. Every firm should look for the optimum solution for them based on job structure and an accompanying cost calculation. Jens Baumann recommends: “Look at the artic fox. Its fur offers the best insulation and energy-saving qualities of all land mammals. It also uses less energy when running in winter than in summer.”
Under the key word “efficiency” head of KBA complete services & key account manager Europe Sascha Fischer spoke about boosting efficiency by networking, production planning/control and process optimisation. Under the name “KBA Complete Services”, the company offers integrated solutions and top-of-the-class automation technologies, all flanked by comprehensive advice and consulting services. When required, KBA works closely with technology partners, such as Kodak, Optimus, Printplus, Logica, MBO, ClimatePartner, IPM, Perfecta, Montex, Müller Martini and others.
Premiere: LED-UV also in large format
The print demonstrations focused on typical commercial print applications with particular attention paid to economy, efficiency, finishing and innovation. A ten-colour Rapida 106 was shown producing a cookery book signature. This was followed by a gang forme in quick succession. Four-colour posters were then produced by switching between the first and last four printing units. The other units were set-up for the subsequent job with Flying JobChange and the next job could begin immediately without any interruptions to production. Innovative UV drying processes were demonstrated on an eight-colour Rapida 105. The visiting print experts were able to directly compare the images produced and cured using HR-UV and LED-UV. A further highlight on this press was inline colour measurement with grey-balance control from System Brunner.
The print demonstrations which took place on large-format presses focused on mass production. Typical book and calendar pages on silk-matt art paper were produced on a six-colour Rapida 145 with coater and delivery extension. The inks were cured by a LED-UV interdeck dryer for the first time ever in large format. The sheets were then finished with a matt aqueous coating, and with glossy UV coating following a coating change. A five-colour Rapida 145 with coating kit printed a brochure in various languages on the other side of the pressroom. With the Flying JobChange capability the plates for black ink were switched between the first and second printing units during production and the language variations were produced without any interruptions to production after decoupling and coupling of the corresponding inking units. Both presses ran at speeds of up to 17,000sph.
LED-UV dryers are also available for the half-format Rapida 75. KBA demonstrated the fast production and finishing of postcards on a five-colour press. Printing on the back of the substrate with LED curing after the fifth printing unit was followed immediately by printing the front. This included inline perforation which meant that the individual post cards could be separated easily. High-quality covers of a magazine were printed on a six-colour Rapida 106 equipped with a KBA VariDry HR-UV dryer and cold-foil kit. They were finished with cold foil and UV high-gloss coating. A further Rapida 106 printed at a maximum speed of 20,000sph.
Nearly all of the presses used for the print demonstrations are equipped with cutting-edge systems for quality assurance, includingQualiTronic ColorControl (inline colour control), QualiTronic InstrumentFlight (inline grey-balance control) and QualiTronic PDF (inline PDF control).
An evening spent together in one of Dresden’s traditional pubs not only provided an opportunity for the guests to exchange thoughts on the day, but also to watch the Germany-USA World Cup football match.