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KBA North America Promoting Waterless Technology to Printers

Press release from the issuing company

November 3, 2004 -- KBA North America, a leading sheetfed offset press manufacturer based in Williston, Vt., is promoting its waterless and keyless offset systems to the graphic arts industry through a wide range of its popular press models. Waterless capabilities reduce waste, provide higher quality through less dot gain, promote an environmentally-friendly workflow, and simplify handling. Waterless capabilities have been adapted to KBA’s new press models: the 20.5” Genius 52 and Genius 52 UV, and the Rapida 74G, as well as its established and popular 74 Karat digital offset press. The Genius 52, a 20½-inch five-color waterless, keyless sheetfed press features a compact design to fit tight spaces. A single operator can run the press using a touch screen console. The entry-level Genius 52 features automatic plate infeed, automatic circumferential register for handling various substrates and an optional automatic blanket washing. At Drupa, KBA debuted the Genius 52 UV press for printing on both plastic and board.This new model features UV inline drying, is able to print on stock up to 32 pt., and has makeready times that can be less than half of other presses.The Genius 52 UV is an offset printing press operating with an anilox short inking unit. It utilizes its waterless-offset function on synthetic materials such as PVC, PC and ABS. It can be used for printing credit cards, loyalty cards, mouse pads, informational garden spikes, 3-D pictures on lenticular lenses etc. The press prints a standard 20” format and operates up to 8,000 sheets/hour. The press also features an automatic plate changing device that guarantees short set-up times, reliable reproducibility, and brilliant offset quality. The Rapida 74G is a unitized, waterless offset press featuring the same keyless inking system as the 74 Karat. The press is equipped with a Technotrans temperature-control system, automatic plate changing, remote format and register control. The 15,000-sph G version can be configured with up to ten printing units plus perfectors, coaters and other inline finishing options.The Rapida 74 G primarily targets print operations specializing in short-run production in more than four colors on costly substrates (aluminum-coated paper, film, foil etc) or already operating computer-to-plate and unwilling to add a computer-to-press system such as the 74 Karat.At Drupa 2004, the Rapida 74 G became the first waterless sheetfed offset press worldwide to attain the brand new “Emission Reduced Waterless Offset” certificate presented by the European Waterless Printing Association (EWPA). Waterless printing is an offset lithographic printing process that eliminates the water or dampening system used in conventional printing. It uses a special silicone rubber coated printing plate, special ink, and typically a means of temperature control on press. In conventional offset printing, printers have always been affected by ink/water balance problems. Variations in this ink/water balance can cause emulsification of ink and lead to inconsistency in color, longer drying times, streaking problems as well as scumming and plugging of halftones. Press operators must have a wide range of skills to control all of these intricacies. Operators must have good mechanical skills and some artistic ability to decipher, match and sustain color throughout the pressrun. In waterless printing the process of printing is changed from a chemical/physical process to a mechanical one. Waterless printing eliminates a myriad of process variables. Instead of the press operator balancing the delicate relationship between ink and water, all that waterless printing requires is a temperature range for transferring ink to the substrate. The elimination of fountain solution means easier and faster makereadies which, in turn, results in higher productivity, less downtime for dampener related maintenance, less paper spoilage, more consistent color throughout the press run and faster drying times. Printers who use waterless printing systems on their presses derive environmental benefits as well. With the elimination of fountain solution, waterless printing eliminates the consumption of water and the release of VOCs (volatile organic compounds) into the atmosphere. The paper saved in faster makereadies not only reduces paper consumption, but also saves energy in reduced paper production. Waterless printing plates offer quick roll-up to color and thereby reduce set-up (makeready) paper waste. Chemically tainted waste water from traditional offset printing is also eliminated. Waterless plates are capable of extremely high screen rulings and, as a result, apply more ink to the printed piece. This results in a much larger range of colors in four color process printing. A waterless plate is an intaglio plate not unlike a gravure printing plate. Images to be printed are actually recessed from the surface of the plate. Since the water dampening chemistry is taken away, the printing ink cannot become emulsified. Thus, cleaner, sharper images are made possible. Fontana Lithograph / Affiliated Graphics, a versatile high-end commercial waterless printer just outside of Washington, D.C. in Cheverly, Md., has been successfully using its KBA 74 Karat digital waterless offset press with inline aqueous coating for over three years. The 74 Karat has slashed Fontana’s quick 48-hour turnarounds. Fontana principal, Joe Fontana boasts complete makereadies up to color and in register in only 18 sheets. The waterless, 74 Karat digital offset press also includes the ability to print on 20-pt stock as opposed to the 12-pt maximum of their previous machine, and the convenience of being able to make just one plate change instead of having to re-image all four plates. That certainly makes the press more efficient for plate remakes and single-color copy changes. “KBA North America is committed to helping printers produce high quality work, reduce makeready, maintain environmentally-friendly working places, and simplify their throughput,” says Ralf Sammeck, KBA North America’s president and CEO. “That commitment is seen through our development of a whole line of presses that employ waterless systems. We are focused on developing waterless with our customer base and maintaining our leadership role as the most technologically-advanced press manufacturer in the world.”