Ellerhold Targets Export Market with the First Rapida 205
Press release from the issuing company
March 12, 2004 -- Late January saw German poster printer Ellerhold Grossplakate take delivery of the first Rapida 205 to roll off the production line. The size 9 (80¾”) sheetfed offset press – the biggest worldwide – comes on stream in mid-March in a production plant adjacent to KBA’s sheetfed facility in Radebeul. Print professionals who have signed up for KBA Radebeul’s pre-Drupa open house from 24 to 26 March will have the chance to attend a production run.
Since KBA’s technological and market lead in large format is an open secret among industry insiders, the group’s exhibition stand in hall 16 will feature just one Rapida 205 printing unit. Prospects can arrange with KBA to see a four-colour version with perforator in action at teNeues in Kempen, near Düsseldorf, on certain days of the fair.
Extensive automation, format-specific extras
The Rapida 205 and its slightly smaller stable-mate, the size 8 (72¾”) Rapida 185 both have the same advanced level of automation as modern-day B1 presses, plus a flotilla of standard and optional extras specifically developed for VLF. These include a shaftless feeder; remote-controlled diagonal and parallel correction of the infeed line; remotely adjustable side and front lays; remote format adjustment; automatic plate changing (APC); automatic plate, blanket, impression cylinder and roller washing, a wash & print programme; automatic registration; and a nonstop roller facility in the delivery. The presses can be configured with a maximum of six printing units plus all the customary extras available with LF Rapidas (coater, perforator, hybrid/UV package, ICS slitter and Densitronic S colorimetric and densitometric quality control system or Densitronic Basic densitometry system directly at the console). They can be embedded in a JDF workflow via a Logotronic Professional production management system.
Suitable for posters, POS displays, books and packaging
The new console for the Rapida 205 is based on Windows and designed for ease of use. All the press parameters relevant to the production run can be preset and remotely adjusted from the console. Most of them can also be actuated via a display directly at the delivery. Makeready has been reduced to a fraction of the time required for existing presses of this magnitude.
The awesome productivity fostered by a maximum rated output of 11,000 sheets per hour for the Rapida 185 and 9,000 for the Rapida 205 makes them cost-effective tools not only for short runs of posters and point-of-sale displays but also for long runs of packaging or books. An optional ICS slitter can be inserted prior to the delivery to cut the sheets in half for output to two piles with more manageable dimensions: 1,020 x 1,510mm (40” x 59½”) with the Rapida 205 and 920 x 1,300mm (36¼” x 51”) with the Rapida 185. The fact that the two half-sheets are guided on both sides by grippers until placed on the pile means that pile formation is 100 per cent accurate. Inspection sheets can be removed from either side.
Ellerhold: ”XXL is too small for us”
”XXL is too small for us – we print VLF!” Was the banner splashed across the title page of the commemorative issue of Ellerhold’s customer magazine, I:mail.
The cost benefits delivered by a Rapida 205 in the production of giant posters can make a big difference to the bottom line. With the new press, 18/1 placards (= 18 x A1 surface area) can be printed in four sections instead of six to eight. Back-lit displays, which must always be printed in one piece, no longer have to be run on an ancient Miehle press. ”We have set our sights on the European poster market,” says founder and managing director Frank Ellerhold, ”and the 205 is the perfect tool because it can print all the formats, such as 40/1 superposters, which are based on a height of three metres.”
Vigorous organic growth
In recent years Ellerhold Grossplakate has pursued a policy of sustained and vigorous organic growth. Its first move, in 1999, was to build a poster-printing production plant, Plakatfabrik Radebeul, which has since been expanded four times. The next stage, implemented in 2001, saw the addition of 12,000m2 (129,000ft2) of production space, driven by rapid growth in sales of 9m2 (97ft2) Mega-Light posters. Two more extensions were erected to house a boxmaking plant.
Intelligent juxtaposition: posters and cartons
When Frank Ellerhold ordered his second Rapida 162a in 2000, he was well aware that it would be too small to cut the cost of poster production by reducing the number of sections. He decided instead to go for a configuration less common in his line of business: six colours plus coater and extended delivery. The idea was to run it alongside his first 162a, a dedicated four-colour poster-printing press, so that he could expand his product palette by offering his customers a wider choice of colours and coatings.
In October 2001 Ellerhold signed a contract for a Rapida 205. This is to be used for printing posters two-thirds of the time, with the remaining one-third filled up with packaging jobs. An ICS slitter was added so that two piles, each measuring 1,000 x 1,400mm (39½” x 55”), can be output to the pallets. The piles can then be die-cut in two flat-bed machines, one for size 6 and the other for 7b. Once this is up and running the Rapida 162a six-colour with coater will be used almost exclusively for high-quality packaging.
At the end of the year Ellerhold’s plant in Zirndorf will take delivery of a Rapida 185 which will be used to print posters for the German market (eg four sections for 18/1). The Rapida 205 will primarily be reserved for posters based on the three-metre raster required for export. At Ellerhold, exports account for around 20 per cent of output. On the domestic front, the company has secured the pole position with an estimated market share of 35 per cent. Frank Ellerhold is a dynamic entrepreneur with clear and definite plans for the future.
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