For KBA, and for high-powered printing presses in general, Belarus is a small but rapidly expanding market. So the inauguration of the country's very first KBA Rapida 106, at Minsk-based print combine Polygrafkombinat J. Kolas on 2 December, was a correspondingly high-powered event attended by an array of political and business luminaries and broadcast on several channels.
The Minister for Information, Vladimir Vasilevich Rusakevich, had signed a letter of intent for the five-colour press on 26 February, but a lack of foreign currency reserves meant that financing the investment was no easy matter. In the end the tireless efforts of KBA's Belarusian sales agency, VIP Polygraphic Materials, bore fruit in the form of funding by Belpromstroibank Minsk and LBBW (a German bank), and a firm order could be placed.
The inaugural ceremony for the high-performance Rapida 106 was attended not only by Minister for Information Mr Rusakevich but also by the Deputy Prime Minister of Belarus, Vladimir Nikolaevich Potupchik, plus a large number of directors and senior engineers from other printing plants throughout the country. So it looks as though there may well be further contracts in the offing. Orders for three Rapida 75 half-format (29in) presses in various configurations have already been placed this year by Belarusian companies.
Polygrafkombinat J. Kolas, whose magnificent premises are right in the centre of Minsk, has utilised press technology from Radebeul for many decades now. Prior to the new press installation the company ran five Planeta Super-Variant medium-format presses with four printing units apiece, plus a two-colour version of the large-format Varimat. Most of the presses were installed back in the 1980s. The combine's main products are illustrated books for Belarusian and Russian publishing houses. The Rapida 106, which features a special lightweight paper capability, sets a new benchmark in cost efficiency and print quality, while its maximum output of 18,000 sheets per hour is twice as high as that of the older presses. It also boasts a raft of automation modules, eg for plate changing, and a productivity-enhancing CIPLink interface to pre-press. DensiTronic colour control software raises quality monitoring to a whole new level.