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Print industry’s top innovator invests in a long KBA Rapida 106

Press release from the issuing company

A long nine-colour Rapida 106 with coater, perfecting for 4-over-5 production and delivery extension will be put into operation at L/M/B Louko in Nuremberg in late autumn. The German printing firm was awarded the Top Innovator of 2016 prize this year. With the up to 18,000sph fast perfector, the company will not only receive a tool for producing magazine covers, but an extremely high-performance and economical sheetfed offset press.

For managing directors Dennis Haan (l) and Oliver Stapfer the Rapida 106 signals the entry into the highly productive field of sheetfed offset perfecting (1)A ceremony awarding the prize to the most innovative mid-sized German company took place for the 23rd time. The demanding, scientific selection process focuses on innovation management and success with innovation. L/M/B received the prize for Top Innovator primarily due to the way it involves the customer in the development process of the end product. Renowned scientific journalist, physicist and TV host Ranga Yogeshwar gave the award. L/M/B is only the second sheetfed offset company to receive this prize. It is also interesting that the other winner also prints on a Rapida 106.  

Looking ahead with the fast Rapida

Louko has traditionally printed on Rapida presses. Even the company’s founder operated KBA sheetfed offset presses which back then were still produced at the KBA headquarters in Würzburg. Up to four B2 Rapida were in operation at the same time. The change to B3 format took place in 2011. The company then switched manufacturers, but has since returned to the Rapida as managing directors Dennis Haan and Oliver Stapfer were won over by KBA-Sheetfed’s overall concept. The top speed of 18,000sph imperative for fast job change with simultaneous makeready processes necessary for the production of covers in different languages and various regional editions, and the fast service from Würzburg all spoke in favour of the high-tech Rapida. The presses currently in operation are running at maximum capacity. The company’s management expects the Rapida 106 to deliver a sizeable increase in output and a rise in capacity from some 40 to 60-65 million sheets per year. 

The market is once again seeing an increase in print jobs. Although the situation in Nuremberg didn’t look that rosy a few years ago, Dennis Haan and Oliver Stapfer now sense a shift. They believe that the site in Nuremberg has become a promising printing plant given its large gravure capacities and its proximity to the finishing sites in the Czech Republic. Post-press and mailing often take place outside Germany to save costs.   

L/M/B Louko mainly produces covers for journals and magazines, such as Kicker or Wirtschaftswoche. Time plays a decisive role in this business. The data arrives at 4pm and the first covers are sent to post-press at around 3am.  

Print production association 

Today Louko is the parent company of L/M/B Druck, a union with printing firms Mandelkow in Herzogenaurach and Bollmann in Zirndorf. Each of the three firms has its own strengths. Louko specialises in large print runs in offset printing and the production of covers. Mandelkow produces traditional commercial products in small and medium-sized runs. Bollmann focuses on high-quality finishing and unique services.   

95 employees generate sales of €12m under the umbrella brand L/M/B Druck. 45 of them work in three shifts at Louko. Production and storage space in Nuremberg spans 5,000m2. 

The experts at L/M/B Druck place great importance on ecological print processes. Their customer base includes the Umweltbank in Nuremberg (an environmentally friendly bank). L/M/B Druck has banned the use of hazardous substances and alcohol in the printing process. Air-conditioning and air humidification have specifically not been implemented in production to save energy and water. The company is EMAS and FSC certified. Together with an environmental officer, Oliver Stapfer is in charge of ecologically optimising all processes and makes sure that the company voluntarily does more than the law states. 


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