KBA North America, a global press manufacturer based in Dallas, Texas, continues to expand and solidify its long-time market lead in the large format segment as the completion of the 1,000th big Rapida press model will soon be leaving the KBA factory in Radebeul, Germany for a German customer.
"KBA continues to set the pace in large-format presses," says John Raithel, senior vice president of sheetfed sales in the U.S. "We're proud to announce that we've assembled the 1,000th large-format press. Large-format presses are complex products and our 90 years of experience has enabled us to continually introduce new innovations with the widest range of configurations and features depending on exact customer specifications and the application(s) for which they are to be used. The 1,000 LF presses manufactured to date run the gamut from the 51-inch Rapida 130 to the 64-inch Rapida 162a, and are used for just about every application that is commonly the preserve of 41-inch presses. The broad spectrum ranges from two-color perfectors for printing books, through classic four-, five- and six-color presses (with or without coaters) for printing books, advertising, movie, packaging and posters, to 13-unit Rapida 142 dual coater presses for printing packaging and Rapida 162a four-over-four perfectors for printing books and magazines. KBA is still the only press manufacturer in the market to deliver large-format perfector presses in its product line."
Here in the U.S. and Canada, knowledgeable printers see the value of a large-format press. Within the past year, both the largest independent packaging firm and a leading high-graphics corrugated box manufacturer specializing in custom full color litho-laminated packaging to a Canadian conventional and UV litho shop have all chosen to install KBA large-format presses. Malnove, Inc., the largest independent folding-carton manufacturer in North America, replaced a 50-inch press with a new KBA Rapida 142 56-inch seven-color press at its Clearfield, Utah facility. Accurate Box Company Inc., located in Paterson, New Jersey improved its automation and productivity with a new KBA Rapida 162 64-inch seven-color sheetfed printing press.
"Our goal in purchasing the new press was to update our print capabilities and increase our capacity," says Steve Mayhan, vice president of corporate manufacturing for Malnove. "In both areas we have succeeded with our new KBA Rapida 142 56-inch press. Having this new press, we're now providing faster turnaround, increased speed-to-market, and printing at a higher quality level than before."
Accurate Box Company Inc., a leading high-graphics corrugated box manufacturer specializing in custom full color litho-laminated packaging, improved its automation and productivity with a new KBA Rapida 162 64-inch seven-color sheetfed printing press. "Our niche is the production of exceptional high graphics corrugated packaging for nationally-recognized brands such as Kellogg's and Pepsico," says Lisa Hirsh, president and CEO of Accurate Box. "This type of packaging has become more brilliant and requires higher color reproduction due to the growth of the big box retailers like Costco and Sam's Club. Our job is to produce the logos and graphics with the highest quality on a strong corrugated material that will withstand shipping, storage, and display, and entice customers to purchase the products."
Pazazz Printing, a Montreal-based printing firm, invested $5 million to purchase a new KBA Rapida 142 56-inch six-color hybrid UV press. The one-stop-print-shop offers conventional and UV litho printing, digital and flexographic label printing, and digital large-format production, all under one roof. The Rapida 142 was sold in cooperation with KBR Graphics Ltd., the eastern Canadian distributor for KBA North America.
Brisk demand, largest market share
Since its DRUPA 1995 launch of the KBA large-format Rapida boasting speeds of up to 15,000 sheets per hour and a raft of automation levels on par with 40-inch presses, KBA has generated brisk demand and captured a global market share of 60%. This establishes KBA as the leader in large-format production.
The two longest Rapida 142 presses shipped to date, both extending over 131-ft and weighing more than 220 tons are in Australia and the US. Their sheer size makes them look more like commercial web presses. The Rapida 142 at Anzpac in Sydney has a total of thirteen units – two printing units, an interdeck dryer, six additional printing units with perfecting after the third unit, a coater, two interdeck dryers and a second coater – plus a triple delivery extension. A similar press, but without perfecting, is in, Massachusetts. KBA's customer list also includes several press lines with eleven and twelve units.
KBA is continually driving advances in large-format technology, the most recent being a format enlargement and performance boost for the Rapida 162a perfectors, special post-perfector drum shells with an anti-marking coat, new Windows-based console software with job-change program, remote internet-based maintenance and a wider choice of maintenance tools. New quality monitoring modules include DensiTronic PDF and QualiTronic inline inspection systems Color Control and QualiTronic Professional for consistent excellence and minimum waste. A new generation of eco-friendly chilling devices with natural cooling can dramatically cut energy consumption.
Around 15% of all Rapida large-format presses built today have a perfecting capability, and this figure is rising along with the advance of big new eight-color perfectors in the commercial and magazine sectors. There are around 30 such presses in operation worldwide today, some with perforators and coaters. While Germany, France, the UK, Italy and the USA are the major markets, presses have also shipped to China, Belgium, Hungary and elsewhere. In response to brisk demand KBA invited users to its Radebeul facility at the end of September for an update on new advances in large-format 4/4 perfecting.
KBA North America is a member of the KBA Group, a leading global supplier of sheetfed, webfed, and digital offset presses located in Dallas, Texas. KBA is dedicated to excellence in printing technology. The company's greatest satisfaction comes from helping its customers succeed by building presses that enable their businesses to prosper. From engineering through production, KBA's focus is on people, providing flexible technology, customized printing solutions, and personal service to help its partners differentiate themselves and be successful today and in the future.