June 8, 2007 -- KBA North America, a leading press manufacturer based in Williston, Vt., invited a select number of US and Canadian printers as well as journalists to visit its headquarters and manufacturing facility in Radebeul, Germany during a four-day stay in mid-May. The group was treated to a behind-the-scenes look at the factory assembly hall, the research and development facility, product demonstrations on the new-generation Rapida 105 41-inch five-over-five perfector press and the large format Rapida 142 56-inch four-over-four perfector press, and visits to several cutting-edge printers who are utilizing KBA presses in sophisticated markets. Time was also spent sightseeing in beautiful Dresden and Leipzig.
“Our open house in Germany provided top North American printers with an in-depth education on how to decide on one of our popular presses from a long perfector 41-inch press to a large-format press, or even a large format perfector, which only KBA can deliver,” says Ralf Sammeck, president and CEO of KBA North America, who accompanied the group. “This was accomplished by showing them makereadies for commercial, packaging and label jobs, including hybrid technology, and comparing costs and throughput on both types of presses.”
Attendees stated that “being able to see in person the wide span of KBA’s presses---from the small format Genius to the super-large Rapida 205 81-inch sheetfed press---in one spot was amazing. But what was even more amazing was seeing the high quality of work being produced by these presses. At one of our many demonstrations, we were able to witness sheets being produced on a 56-inch sheetfed versus a 41-inch sheetfed and there was no difference in quality! Plus these sheets were being printed with total coverage and there was no marking whatsoever. This is the type of demo that you couldn’t see at a trade show.”
Impressive engineering and knowledge
“After reading about and learning about KBA’s line of high-tech presses, our main goal was to see the factory that actually builds these presses,” said another attendee. “We are seeking a press that gives us better technology and the versatility to print on a variety of substrates from e-flute to foil to board and plastics. We talked to the engineers at the plant that left us very impressed in their knowledge and gave us a great level of confidence in the quality-level of the press and its productivity.”
“This was our first foray into the KBA world,” added a third attendee, “and we were quite impressed. We’re both a commercial and packaging printer and we’re looking for new style equipment that will give us faster makereadies and faster speeds. The KBA presses certainly fit that bill. While our search has been limited to the 40 / 41-inch market, there is something to be said about the KBA 56-inch press. The print quality on the large-format press does not suffer.”
First stop for the group was the KBA headquarters Customer Center, where attendees learned about the benefits of KBA 41 perfectors as well as Rapida large format presses. The trip included a guided tour through the assembly halls, as well as demonstrations at KBA’s research and development facility in Radebeul, outside of Dresden. After impressive demonstrations on KBA’s high performance 41-inch and 56-inch presses, the group saw first-hand KBA’s unique method of individually building presses for each of its customers, then shipping the press, and having the same German press crew re-build the press on their premises. The group learned how KBA builds its popular perfector presses and saw a couple of long perfector presses, including special configurations with coaters on each end being test-printed and prepared for shipping.
The group also visited Ellerhold Grossplakate, one of the biggest poster printers in Europe, which laid claim to the world’s first Rapida 205 81-inch sheetfed press in January 2004. The group was treated to a production run on the huge press to see how Ellerhold produces posters within 24 hours.
Space-age high-tech commercial printer
The group’s next stop was to the sparkling, high-tech facility of a printer whose philosophy is to only take Internet orders and whose sales have been doubling each year. Within the facility on polished floors and employees all dressed in space-age white suits, the group saw the vast variety of 14 KBA presses in use ranging from a 20-inch model to a large-format model all linked via KBA’s Logotronic management system. The company’s philosophy and its KBA presses have propelled the firm to post a double digit growth over the last few years.