Leading Tennessee firm installs world's largest litho press in North America from KBA
Press release from the issuing company
2/12/07 -- KBA North America, a leading press manufacturer based in Williston, Vt., and National Posters, Inc., the flagship company of National Print Group, Inc., headquartered in Chattanooga, TN, are announcing the successful installation and start-up of their KBA Rapida 205 81-inch seven-color plus coater sheetfed press, the world’s largest litho press in North America weighing in at almost 600,000 lbs.
Since its installation in late spring of 2006 and its first production job on June 26, the Rapida 205 has been giving National Print Group higher quality and speed over its competitors and penetrating new and existing work from customers. In fact, within the past three months, the firm has signed three new clothing retailers as customers for point-of-sale jobs due to the Rapida’s seven-color capabilities and wide variety of substrates. Currently, the Rapida 205 is on a three-shift a day/five day a week schedule. However, National Print Group plans to expand that schedule to 24/6 with a fourth press crew. The press has become a real money-maker and its integrated Logotronic press management system helps control all the data coming in and out of the press for maximum net throughput.
“We are a successful printer because we are constantly responding to the needs of our customers,” says George Diamantis, Chairman of National Print Group, parent of National Posters. “Our new KBA Rapida 205 press enables us to present our customers with more print opportunities and options than ever before.” This includes:
· Ability to print on a wider variety of substrates
· Faster cycle time
· More consistency with longer runs
· Enhanced quality and cost efficiencies
· Bringing all jobs in house for total job control
Only printer in Southeast with an 81” size press
Diamantis adds, “There is no single competitor that is able to do what we can with this press or have the ability to offer the variety of printing we offer, from digital to screen to litho. We are the only printer in the Southeast to have this type of press. This press enhances and completes our current large format capabilities. Having a competitive edge is so important in today’s market pace and KBA’s partnership helped to give us this edge.”
National Print Group’s roster of existing presses is capable of printing up to six colors. The new KBA Rapida 205 with seven colors allows the firm to take advantage of the “significant growth” in multi-color printing and the trend toward using opaque whites, metallic and custom logo colors.
The signage market represents 60% of National Print Goup’s current business. By installing the Rapida 205 with hybrid UV capabilities, the firm is able to print signage on a wider variety and more rigid substrates. “The acquisition of the new Rapida 205 was to pursue new markets being printed on non-porous substrates,” explains Joel Stuart, president of National Posters, “as well as to penetrate the market for new business from existing customers.”
For example, the first job produced on the KBA Rapida 205 was for a four-up retail display side panel of NASCAR driver Ken Schrader for McKee Foods, Collegedale, TN, a bakery known for making Little Debbie and Sunbelt snacks. The Ken Schrader side panel, which is part of a Little Debbie snack display, was rolled out to stores in early July 2006. National Posters used its newest press because it can print on 40 mil styrene.
Rapida 205’s advanced print technology
“It’s exciting for us to be a part of the launch of this new product [the Rapida 205 press],” says Scott Hale, purchasing agent for McKee Foods. “As a national company with a growing international business, it’s important to us to have access to the most advanced print media technology available. NPG continually impresses us with their quality and service, new solutions as well as their competitive price.”
“We invested in this press in response to the needs of our clients,” says Stuart. “They are demanding larger products printed on increasingly diverse materials with more unique qualities, greater weight and increased thickness. 40mil styrene is an extremely thick substrate to print on, but one that this press is able to handle.”
In addition to the side panel created for the NASCAR display, National Print Group is also printing a 60mil styrene header for McKee Foods at their Kennesaw, GA plant, Southern National. NPG also owns three other plants in the Southeast.
NPG offers the complete package
According to NPG Chairman Diamantis, investing $10 million in the KBA Rapida 205 enables the company to better serve core clients like McKee. “We now offer a complete package,” he says. “We can enlist the presses at all of our facilities to fulfill the multimedia printing requirements of our clients both efficiently and economically. Our new KBA Rapida 205 press incorporates KBA’s unique Denistronic S xy-axis spectral and density measuring system that ensures total consistency throughout the run. Plus, the press can output four times the size of a typical forty inch sheet with the same quality; additionally the makeready times are extremely low due to the presses fully automatic plate mounting and registration systems.”.
The KBA Rapida 205, which is custom built in Germany, and installed in Chattanooga, features such unique characteristics as seven-color printing and the ability to print sheets up to 81 x 59-inches. The press is also the winner of the prestigious GATF Intertech award and is capable of printing UV, Hybrid and conventional inks. The press is being used by commercial, packaging and poster applications.
Some of the major innovations on the Rapida 205 are inker declutching in every unit, automated make ready including fully automatic plate changing as well as wash-up on blanket, plate and impression cylinders as standard features. The Rapida 205 can also run stocks from 80lb to 48pt. Changing stocks is easy and does not require any gripper setting adjustments. The press also has a complete UV system for printing on plastic and other specialty substrates.
“We look forward to sharing the capabilities of the KBA Rapida 205 with our clients. It not only offers substantial cost savings to companies like McKee Foods, but it expands the possibilities for print marketing and advertising,” says Diamantis.
Answering the needs of their customers
“This press also gives us the ability to more quickly respond to the needs of our customers,” says Kerry Reedy, vice president of sales for National Posters. “In addition our customers now have the ability to print both short-run and long-run jobs with variability. We can use our current digital technology to print the variable message or print prototypes of holiday store advertising. Once they are approved, we can print the entire job on the Rapida 205.”
The installation of the large press went exceptionally smooth and in less time than anticipated. “We were extremely happy with the assistance provided by KBA for the installation of the press,” says Stuart. “It went much quicker than we had planned. Plus, our press crews had exceptional training in both Germany and in KBA’s US headquarters in Vermont.”
To prepare for the world’s largest press, National Posters readied its Chattanooga, Tennessee plant. A new glass-enclosed pressroom was built to house the large press with enough concrete to hold the 600,000 lb press. Surrounding the pressroom is a new customer lounge and viewing area to watch jobs being printed on press. To accommodate the larger sheet size, National Posters upgraded its prepress department by adding two new larger-format Kodak/Creo platesetters.
Founded in 1957 as National Posters, National Print Group has experienced exceptional growth. The firm began with 12 employees and has grown to over 400 employees in five plants. National Print Group is now ranked in the top 125 printers in the U.S. Today, the firm is a one-stop resource for outdoor advertising and point-of-purchase advertising production. National Print Group caters to a nationwide clientele of well-known ad agencies and corporate clients. Its Chattanooga plant employs 150.
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