On 12 October last year the biggest sheetfed offset press in the Asia-Pacific region launched into action up bang on schedule Linocraft Printers in Johor Bahru, Malaysia, following an installation and commissioning period of just five weeks. The highly automated Rapida 185 six-colour coater press for a sheet size of 130 x 185 cm (51.18 x 72.83in) is the company's second KBA press and joins a five-colour Rapida 105 with coater which was delivered in 2006. The imposing installation underscores KBA pole position in large format, both in Asia and the rest of the world.
The big press has catapulted Linocraft Printers to an even higher print level of print technology in South East Asia. Not only has it cut production and delivery times for existing customers, it has also attracted new accounts.
Partnership with outstanding prospects
Linocraft Printers was established in 1972 and has evolved into a full-service print and packaging provider on a soaring growth trajectory. It is associated with shareholders of Malaysia's biggest logistics group, Tiong Nam Logistics Holdings Berhad. While Linocraft's production halls house a number of small-, medium- and large-format presses from other vendors, the Rapida 185 is undoubtedly the flagship, and has enabled the company to expand its already strong position in the high-volume and VLF packaging sectors.
Linocraft managing director and CEO Andrew Tan Woon Chay says: "The Rapida 185 is a logical consequence of our company development and an expression of our satisfaction with KBA. We were looking for attractive, cost-effective technology that would address our packaging production demands one hundred per cent. KBA's specialists provided invaluable support. Originally we had planned to install a Rapida 205, which has an even bigger format of 150 x 205 cm. But in the end the Rapida 185 proved to be more appropriate for our needs. It, too, has enormous growth potential and a number of unique features that distinguish us from our competitors."
Packaging for top brands
Linocraft started out as a printer of books and commercials. In 2000 it expanded into packaging printing, and this has since become its primary business. As Andrew Tan Woon Chay explains: "A few years ago the ratio of commercial to packaging was 80:20, now it is 20:80. Packaging printing has become our biggest product line, and with the high-performance KBA presses we have achieved global standards."
Linocraft's reference list features international brands such as Dyson, Hewlett-Packard, Motorola, Panasonic, Loreal, Fedex and Sony. Packaging for the food and beverage industries is another growth market, and here Linocraft supplies top names such as Coca Cola, MeadWestvaco and Tiger Beer.
The Rapida 185 can print high-volume packaging for electrical goods much faster and more cost-effectively than smaller presses. Says Andrew Tan Woon Chay: "Prior to installing the new KBA we printed large items of packaging in multiple parts and then had to glue the lid and base onto the main body: now, with the 185's 2.4 square metres of sheet, we can print everything in one pass."
Total quality monitoring
Quality monitoring is also very much better with the KBA Rapida 185. Andrew Tan Woon Chay explains: "During the selection procedure one of our top priorities was to raise the bar in quality monitoring. That is why the Rapida 185 is equipped with DensiTronic Professional density measurement and control. We are planning to add QualiTronic Professional inline colour measurement and control so as to further enhance our efficiency in quality control and documentation when the investment is appropriate."
The big Rapida now runs in two shifts, six days a week. "We have transferred a lot of jobs from another large-format press to the Rapida 185 because it is better, faster and more efficient. We print six to seven jobs per day, with an average run length of 30,000 units. Our new Rapida 185 has fulfilled all our high expectations in terms of colour stability, product quality, makeready times and production speed."