At the end of November, just days after its world premiere at the All in Print China trade fair in Shanghai and five months before Drupa 2012 in Düsseldorf, KBA’s new Rapida 105 made its European debut in Radebeul, Germany.
A select circle of print pros from Russia, France, Italy, Belgium, Germany, the Czech Republic and Poland seized the opportunity to see live demonstrations of a highly versatile press incorporating an array of features adopted from the world makeready champion, the Rapida 106.
Focus on flexibility
The seven-colour coater press, which was put through its paces soon after completion in the huge assembly hall, printed three different types of job entailing two complete job changes. First, labels were printed on 80gsm textured paper using process colours and – common with labels – PMS gold at a speed of 16,000sph. These were followed by indulgence food packaging printed 4c on 300gsm GC1 cartonboard, and aqueous-coated. The last job was a challenging commercial forme for luxury items, whereby a printing unit that had been automatically disengaged for the previous was re-engaged from the console and the sheets finished with a drip-off coating using oil-based varnish in an inking unit and aqueous coating in the coater.
Introducing the platform concept in press engineering
The rapid job changes underscored the 105’s versatility. Its maximum rated output of 16,500sph is not the only difference that distinguishes it from its predecessor: alongside the features adopted from its high-tech stablemate, the Rapida 106, it also offers a wider choice of options. These include various washing systems (even for rollers and blankets simultaneously), automatic and semi-automatic plate change, automated coating-form change and diverse dryers (also for UV production). The most noticeable features adopted from the Rapida 106 are the overhead AirTronic delivery, DriveTronic feeder, the shallower angle between the impression cylinders and transfer drums, the multi-venturi sheet guides, the gripper shafts and the inking and dampening units. The new KBA Rapida 105 is arguably the most advanced press in its class. This is the first time that KBA has introduced a basic platform for its sheetfed models, akin to those common in the automotive industry. Unlike other makes of press the Rapida 105 does not cut corners by combining a new feeder and delivery with legacy printing units.
Those attending the Rapida 105’s European premiere were as impressed by its performance as the Chinese printers had been at the trade fair in Shanghai two weeks earlier. In the proofing section of final assembly they could see that production has already been switched to the new Rapida 105.