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KBA CEO Mark Hischar on Package Printing Advancements

Published on July 16, 2012

Cary Sherburne talks to KBA North America CEO Mark Hischar about their products that support packaging and also discuss their mix of presses going into packaging versus commercial printing.

Cary Sherburne: I’m Cary Sherburne, Senior Editor at WhatTheyThink, and I’m here with Mark Hischar who is President and CEO of KBA North America. Welcome.

Mark Hischar: Thank you.

Cary Sherburne: So packaging is a hot topic these days, ‘cause of course, you know, packaging is growing. We’re not like going to buy our Cheerios box digitally and I’m wondering -- I understand that you have some interesting new developments in your packaging press portfolio. Perhaps you could share that with us?

Mark Hischar: Well we have quite a bit. At drupa we introduced our new Rapida 145 with an awful lot of technology improvements including inspection systems and simultaneous form change and quite a bit of quality control enhancements to it as well. We’ve also introduced a number of other developments. We have a capability to inspect, for example, in packaging, inspect the boxes and if there is a printing error we can digitally -- our inkjet market so that it can be called later on in the die cutting process, which can save the converter quite a bit of money. In addition, we also have developed the ability to add coding, for example, to a sheet or a package where you put in a barcode or some type of numeric identifier.

Cary Sherburne: Lot number, batch number.

Mark Hischar: Exactly. So that gives more flexibility, more value add to the customer and to the printer.

Cary Sherburne: And so in terms of -- and some of these presses could be used for either packaging or for commercial print. So everybody’s talking about commercial print going down, packaging going up, but in your business how do you see the split between your presses being sold into the commercial print market versus the packaging market and where do you see that going?

Mark Hischar: Well, KBA is the world leader in printing presses to the packaging industry. And we also have a very good base in commercial printers and what we’ve been able to do, there’s some commonalities. Everybody wants to be more efficient. They want to have more output. They want to increase their quality. They want to reduce the risk for errors, and so, therefore, have better inspection systems. There are some real commonalities in that regard, whether it’s packaging or commercial printing and that’s really the key for KBA and where we’ve been successful in developing and implementing across the board for both types of presses.

Cary Sherburne: Okay. So but do you see in terms of where they go in the marketplace, how do you see that shaking out? I mean, you told me earlier -- we were just talking earlier and you said that you’re selling a lot of presses into commercial print. Are you selling more into packaging, or…?

Mark Hischar: We probably sell a few more into the packaging, but we also have had nice penetration into the commercial print market as well. I think from a marketing perspective, the package printers are still a little bit stronger than where the commercial printers are. The stronger ones continue to be strong, they continue to invest in presses. And we we’ve been there, and the packaging industry is continuing to grow. So again, we’ve been very fortunate in having good market share in both markets and I think it’s largely because of the technology we’ve been able to bring and share between the two industries.

Cary Sherburne: That’s great. Well we’ll be watching you going forward as we have watched you in the past.

Mark Hischar: Thank you very much.

Cary Sherburne: All right. Take care.

Mark Hischar: Appreciate it.

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