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Belgian playing card specialist places full trust in KBA sheetfed offset

Press release from the issuing company

Just a few days ago, the oldest and largest playing card manufacturer in the world, Cartamundi in Turnhout/Belgium, signed yet another order for sheetfed offset technology from KBA. The total of 23 printing and finishing units are to be split between two high-tech presses of the medium-format Rapida 106 series. The first of these Rapidas has been configured with a corona tower, seven printing units, coater and triple-length extended delivery. The second is a 14-unit perfector comprising five printing units, a coater and two dryer towers before the perfecting unit, followed by a further five printing units, a second coater and an extended delivery. The presses are scheduled for installation in February and May 2011.

With this order, Cartamundi is continuing a tradition which began back in 2006 with the commissioning of a first 14-unit Rapida for printing and inline finishing on both sides of the sheet at the company's headquarters in Belgium. At that time, KBA was still the only manufacturer able to supply such presses. In January 2009, another Rapida 106 in a practically identical configuration went into production at the Cartamundi facility in Dallas/USA. 

The two new Rapidas for the Cartamundi print centre in Turnhout are to replace an older small-format and three medium-format presses. The facility will then be a pure KBA user. The latest investments were necessitated not least by the prevailing trends to ever more complex products and shorter runs. Already in the spring, therefore, Cartamundi and KBA established the technology partnership which culminated in the recent order. The key project team members on the Cartamundi side were CEO Chris van Doorslaer, CTO Steven Nietvelt, COO Philip Fimmers and print facility manager Jan Borgers. Numerous automation components contribute to the ultimately high productivity of the new Rapidas, for example DriveTronic SPC dedicated drives for fast, simultaneous plate changing. At the same time, given the increasing use of sophisticated substrates such as aluminium-coated card, hologram foil laminations and a diverse range of plastic films, UV option packages were an absolute must. Cartamundi already entered the field of UV printing with a Rapida installed in 2004 and has since gathered wide-ranging experience with extremely high-quality UV printing and finishing. This know-how is to be expanded further on the new presses. With the corona tower on the straight Rapida 106, furthermore, it will in future be possible to optimise the printability of plastic films directly at the press infeed.  

Playing cards have been produced in Turnhout for more than 150 years. The longstanding expertise of the various local companies is today pooled in a joint venture under the name Cartamundi –which in Latin means "Cards for the world". As a globally active market leader in the printing of playing cards of all kinds, Cartamundi operates production facilities in Germany, Brazil, Mexico, the USA, Great Britain and Poland. Branch and distribution offices are to be found in a further 12 countries, and customers have already been served in 121 countries. Around 200 million decks of cards are produced each year – or, in other words, 518 cards per second. CEO Chris van Doorslaer has made a decisive contribution to the company's international success. In 2008, Cartamundi received an award as Belgium's "Enterprise of the Year".