March 4, 2002 - On February 27 Koenig & Bauer (KBA) and Metronic, a specialist manufacturer of inkjet identification systems and printing machinery for plastic cards and CDs, formally sealed a strategic alliance initiated last year to target the expanding market for short-run colour. With their first joint project, the four- or five-colour Genius 52, KBA and Metronic are staking their claim in the B3 format - new terrain for both partners but one in which they see a lot of potential for sales growth.
The Genius 52 incorporates keyless inking systems - a technology in which KBA is the global leader in applications for newspaper and DI offset presses, while Metronic boasts extensive experience and a prominent market position in UV printing systems for CDs and plastic cards. Other big German press manufacturers had also showed interest in a link-up with Metronic, but KBA - the third-biggest press manufacturer worldwide, with a staff of 7,500 - clinched the deal thanks to its technological edge in keyless inking and its longstanding business relations with Metronic, which is based in Veitshöchheim close by KBA's headquarters on the outskirts of Würzburg and employs 400 people.
Avant-garde in design and function, the Genius 52 small-format waterless sheetfed offset press - the first joint project of the KBA/Metronic alliance - will be officially launched at Ipex
Sales and service activities for the paper and board version of the Genius 52 will be handled by KBA's global network, Metronic will market the UV version in its specialist sector. The two companies have agreed to collaborate on developing keyless inking technology for additional applications and products. At present keyless systems feature in the 74 Karat DI offset press manufactured in Radebeul and KBA Würzburg's Cortina waterless mini tower newspaper press, which many in the trade consider revolutionary. The Genius 52 will make its international debut in April at Ipex in Birmingham, UK.
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