Today, KBA and Xerox made a very interesting announcement. It is another one of many partnerships in which KBA has been engaging with inkjet technology companies. These partnerships have allowed KBA to leverage its product and manufacturing expertise and rapidly move KBA and its customer base into new opportunities. These new products take advantage of production inkjet cost efficiencies and new production opportunities. Currently KBA has partnerships with R.R. Donnelly for the RotoJET® products, HP for the new HP PageWide T1100 Corrugated Press , and now Xerox with the VariJET® 106 Folding Carton Press.
According to Ralf Sammeck, CEO of KBA Sheetfed Solutions, “We have been speaking with our customers for a while now, and they are looking for a hybrid solution, one that could include Inkjet and Offset”. The new 7-color VariJET Folding Carton press is a unique design, very different than any of the other inkjet folding carton presses already announced. It is a modular solution, built on the KBA Rapida® 106 platform, allowing custom configurations that could incorporate Offset, Cold Foil, Coating, and many other options desired for Folding Carton production, designed to an individual customer’s requirements.
For Xerox, this highlights another new direction for the company in light of the upcoming corporate split. It also highlights yet another benefit of its Impika® acquisition, which should expand the potential opportunities for Xerox in the market. This new press allows Xerox to expand beyond the smaller format presses that are in its wheelhouse, and take advantage of a much wider range of applications.
KBA and Xerox have been collaborating on this effort for more than a year and a half, with teams from each company cross locating to the Xerox Impika location in Aubagne, France, and the KBA location in Würzburg, Germany. According to both Robert Stabler GM of Xerox Graphic Communications Group and echoed by Sammeck, “this has been a truly collaborative design partnership, with both teams sharing and learning from each other”.
The VariJET 106 Powered by Xerox, incorporates Xerox Impika inkjet technology, and a Xerox DFE. The print head bar is one meter long, and supports the 7 color extended gamut. It is expected to run at 4500 sheets per hour in quality mode. It should be noted that no B1 production inkjet folding carton inkjet press has yet shipped. All of the announced presses—Landa S10, Heidelberg PrimeFire, and KBA VariJET—are expecting to ship in 2017.
The VariJET presses, like the RotoJET presses will be sold by KBA. Xerox and KBA will be releasing more details on the new product on June 2 in Dusseldorf at the Xerox press event. We will be sure to update you at that time.
We will be publishing an in-depth article on Xerox and its new production inkjet products on Wednesday May 25 on WhatTheyThink.