At the end of July Mondadori Printing, a huge print operation owned by Italian market leader Gruppo Pozzoni, pushed the button on a ten-colour B1 (41in) KBA Rapida 106 for five-backing-five at its plant in the operatic city of Verona. The highly automated press is the first perfector in Via Montelungo and represents a major milestone in the company's longstanding association with KBA.
Mondadori Printing is one of the top addresses in the European print media industry, and this is reflected in its banner, "Quality at its very best". Founded in 1907 by Arnoldo Mondadori, it specialises in top-of-the-range books, magazines and catalogues for domestic and foreign markets. In addition to Arnoldo Mondadori Editore, the Mondadori group's headquarters in Segrate near Milan, its customer base has long included international publishing houses such as Bertelsmann, Langenscheidt, Metropolitan Museum, National Geographic, Le Martinière, International Master Publishers and Random House.
Gruppo Pozzoni has held an eighty per cent stake since October 2008, with the Mondadori publishing group, which is still a major client, retaining 20 per cent. Verona is by far the biggest of the group's production locations: in addition to the sheetfed plant in Via Montelungo, which prints books, there is a web offset and gravure plant in Via Mondadori for magazines and catalogues. In total a generous 200,000m² (over 2 million square feet) of floor space is dedicated to pre-press, press and post-press.
Rapidas followed Compactas
Since the 1980s five 16pp to 64pp KBA commercial web presses have been installed in Verona: a Compacta S 80, a Compacta 617, a Compacta 618, a Compacta 818 and a Compacta 215. At the turn of the millennium there came a succession of KBA litho presses. Six 7B (64in) Rapida 162a five-colour presses, three of them in Verona, were followed in 2005 by Mondadori Printing's first 18,000sph KBA Rapida 105. The new Rapida 106 ten-colour perfector enables the firm to address more sophisticated customer demands and to strengthen its market position still further.
All-rounder for the discerning
Simone Boggio, head of book production in Verona, says: "Here at Mondadori Printing our aim is to offer our customers the best possible service using innovative technology. This applies equally to quality, production flexibility, delivery times and production costs. Although we have a high opinion of KBA technology, prior to making the decision we conducted a rigorous quality and productivity comparison of all the prospective presses on the market. Our choice in March this year of a further new-generation Rapida was determined by the 106's perceptible edge in terms of overall performance. We were looking for an all-rounder – a press that can print books, magazines, catalogues and covers, has an advanced level of automation, fast makereadies and a high output. The Rapida 106 ticked all the boxes."
High level of performance and flexibility
He goes on: "The Rapida 106 is a new model with great prospects. We operate three shifts printing books with average runs of 5,000 copies, plus catalogue covers, so we make full use of the Rapida 106's strengths as the world champion in makeready and production speed. The automated inline quality control and monitoring systems guarantee flawless prints throughout the entire run. We opted for a ten-colour perfector because one-pass production delivers substantial time and cost savings. We use the fifth printing unit for additional colours or spot coatings, which makes for much greater flexibility. Adding virtually the entire range of optional features has given us a lot of advantages in the marketplace."
Installation and commissioning of the new ten-colour KBA Rapida 106 were completed to everyone's satisfaction and press acceptance took place bang on schedule.