KBA North America Invites U.S. Printers to Open House in Germany
Press release from the issuing company
Commercial printers explore benefits of long perfector presses and large-format sheetfed presses KBA North America, a leading sheetfed offset press manufacturer based in Williston, Vt., invited a large group of U.S. commercial printers to an Open House at its parent’s headquarters in Radebeul, Germany from February 17-18, 2005 to evaluate the benefits of large format sheetfed presses versus long perfectors. In all, more than 300 participants from Germany, Europe and the U.S. took the opportunity to see firsthand the current technology in medium- and large-format sheetfed offset production with integrated workflows, and to explore the cost efficiencies between the two. Using a Rapida 105 41-inch five-over-five ten-color perfector press and a Rapida 142 56-inch six-color straight press, KBA produced a 10,000 run length, 32-page A4 brochure on 135gsm paper and an additional cover on 350gsm paper to demonstrate cost-effective production scenarios based on run lengths and processes for commercial printers.
The U.S. commercial printers carefully evaluated each press and production scenario and listened to various KBA print specialists. “Our company was on the verge of purchasing a long perfector,” said one U.S. attendee, “but after attending this open house, we’ve reconsidered our purchase and feel that a large format press from KBA is a better fit.”
Long perfecting or large format?
The key contribution at the open house came from Jürgen Veil, marketing manager and print specialist at KBA Radebeul, who calculated production costs for a medium-sized printshop. Basing his calculations on pre-specified job structures he demonstrated that choosing the right press and process can have a dramatic impact on production figures and pressroom efficiency. The printshop cited in his example had three eight-up sheetfed offset presses, a slightly antiquated four-color perfector, a five-color press with coater and an eight-color press for 4 over 4. Jürgen Veil assigned some typical jobs and run lengths to the various presses. The printshop in question was then retooled with a large-format Rapida 142 five-color with coater and a new-generation Rapida 105 ten-color for 5 over 5. The older four-color perfector was retained and the jobs reassigned, with identical content. When calculating the production output Jürgen Veil demonstrated that the new press fleet could reduce the number of shifts required from eight (2 x 3 shifts, 1 x 2 shifts) to five (2 x 2 shifts, 1 x 1 shift). The new method not only generated capacity reserves technology but also substantially reduced labor costs for the standard job range.
Large format more cost effective
Using the job data and the number of print runs required for a fictitious print job produced during the open house – a 32-page brochure with four-page cover – Jürgen Veil demonstrated that, factoring in the output levels now achievable in the individual formats, a large-format press is more cost-effective than a 40-inch 5 over 5 perfector for run lengths of just 20,000 copies or more. The cost benefits associated with large format increase in proportion to the run length. Below 20,000sph the long perfector is more economical, and here the cost advantage increases as the run length decreases. If the four-page cover on 350gsm paper is excluded the break-even point in favor of large-format production shifts downwards. Factoring in the total manufacturing costs (pre-press, press, cutting, folding, saddle stitching) produces no significant change in the result, i.e. large formats retain their economic advantage from 20,000 copies.
The open house at KBA revealed two things: large format printing is frequently much more cost-effective, particularly for longer print runs or challenging substrates that can only be perfect printed with great difficulty, if at all, in medium format. It also offers users an option to extend their range of services, i.e. by printing large-format displays or posters. If the product range largely comprises a succession of smaller jobs with a limited number of pages, like the 32-page brochure with less than 10,000 copies, then perfecting on a 40-inch press has distinct advantages. As for pre-press, the print and finishing quality that can now be achieved, the preferred format is no longer relevant because there is little difference in the quality, makeready times, manning levels and maximum output possible with medium and large formats.
Listening to its customers
“We felt that the open house was very important and very educational,” said another U.S. printer. “KBA continues to listen to its customers’ needs and help them find the most cost-effective and productive solution for their company. We feel that this open house will help our company be more successful and help us to differentiate ourselves from our competition.”
The open house demonstration began with an overview of the new, open, flexible job management information system called “technoPLAN” from Rogler, a Swiss firm, which compares individually definable production paths. The MIS system, which is used in the KBA customer center, enabled jobs for the event to be planned and estimated for both the Rapida 105 and Rapida 142.
Next, a marketing manager for Creo Germany explained the processes involved in switching a job on short notice from the medium-format Rapida 105 to the large-format Rapida 142. Using the job parameters defined in the MIS system, the Creo workflow adopts the imposition pattern for the large-format press and in a matter of seconds prepares CTP output on the Creo Magnus VLF.
Finally, a KBA product manager showed how job data are professionally transferred from the MIS to KBA’s Logotronic management system. KBA Logotronic professional guarantees multi-system digital data communication. The company-wide data exchange between the printing company management system Logotronic professional, MIS or trade software and prepress is carried out by means of a JDF interface. Once the plates have been made the CIP3 data are automatically assigned to the job via the hot folder. The CIP3 files are also converted into preset data for the press. When a job is rescheduled to another press the preset data are automatically recalculated for that press. This ensures that the latest job data, including preset data, is always available at the control console.
Increase effective production time
PressWatch and SpeedWatch furnish printshop managers with practical tools for monitoring and subsequently analyzing the current production run within the Logotronic system. This not only increases effective production time by utilizing preset and repeat data but also reduces the number of waste sheets. Company efficiency is boosted by a continuous flow of data. Precise press and production data support a more accurate cost calculation.
The Logotronic Management system is the centerpiece of the KBA automation concept OPERA. Its advantages include:
• Totally automated workflow
• Transfer of order data from the trade software to the control console of the press
• Automatic determination of press presetting data from the prepress data
• Access to Logotronic professional from all workstations connected to the network
• Shorter makeready times thanks to presetting data or repetition data
• More effective printing time and therefore more saleable products per shift
• Less waste
• Greater efficiency, since data only need to be entered once and mistakes due to multiple data input can be avoided
• Improved accounting since exact press and production data can be used to calculate actual costs
• Greater overview since all job-related, presetting and pressrelated data can be looked at
• Comprehensive and transparent information for the printshop management
KBA North America is a leading supplier of sheetfed offset and digital presses located in Williston, VT. It is a member of the KBA Group, a leader in the manufacture of sheetfed offset, digital offset, web offset, rotogravure directory, security, and newspaper presses.
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