A seven-colour Rapida 106 in a double-coater configuration will be entering production at Deluxe Packages in Karachi/Pakistan in autumn. It is the longest sheetfed offset press ever installed in the 60‑year history of the company, which supplies packaging for the pharmaceuticals, cosmetics and confectionery branches, as well as POS displays. Rehan Shafi Siddiqui and Zeeshan Mustafa Shafi Siddiqui represent the second generation at the helm of the family business. They are in full agreement: “We were looking to invest in the very latest technology, and the Rapida 106 was thus a logical choice. Our confidence in KBA and the local sales team from Imprint Packaging Solutions was paramount in this decision.”
Deluxe Packages today occupies more than 4,000 m2 (43,560 sq ft) of production space at its existing premises. A new factory adds a further 16,000 m2 (174,240 sq ft). With more than 150 employees, the company generates an annual turnover of around $5.5 million (approx. €5 million) and is one of the leading packaging companies in Pakistan. In the past, the company has used various half- and medium-format presses with four to six colours, and so the arrival of the 11-unit Rapida 106 heralds the transition to a whole new dimension. The postpress department is also dominated by the latest die-cutting and folder-gluer technologies. As the packaging market in Pakistan is currently undergoing rapid change, it is essential for companies like Deluxe Packages to match their equipment and technology options to future demands.
Increasing complexity in packaging production
The print format and production output of the Rapida 106 are important factors for the company. The increasing complexity of packaging designs calls for additional printing units for spot colours, and the double-coating facility is a further prerequisite for high-quality multiple coatings and UV finishes. The press is prepared for mixed conventional/UV production, features 450 mm raised foundations and incorporates dedicated accessory packages for both board and plastics printing. Its automation includes fully automatic FAPC plate changers, CleanTronic Multi washing systems for the alternating use of different ink systems, and CleanTronic UV.
The commissioning of the Rapida 106 will lend a clear boost to productivity and quality in the press room. At the same time, it will further expand the company’s substrate flexibility into the fields of plastic packaging and production on metallised board with an opaque white primer. “The Rapida 106 is known for its high productivity, and KBA is an expert for the precise tailoring of special presses to individual packaging applications. The UV equipment from KBA is likewise a superior system” – convincing conclusions yielded by market research conducted by the two company directors.
Future-oriented productivity and quality
Deluxe Packages operates a two-shift system and prints around 35 million sheets per year … with further increases planned! Its market success is achieved through a mix of innovative technology and concentrated customer orientation. The Rapida 106, with its comprehensive process capabilities, is certain to contribute to further growth with high-quality printing and finishing. The additional installation of a cold foil module is in the pipeline and will soon add yet another aspect to the application spectrum.
- Live presentations of Rapida 75 PRO and Rapida 76 daily through to 6th July
- Additional dates possible by request
- Easy-going exchanges in a relaxed summer atmosphere
- Visit b2.kba.com for more information
- Under the banner “Built for Your Needs. The KBA B2 Presses”, KBA-Sheetfed has kicked off a campaign aimed specifically at half-format printers and others with particular interests in that segment of the print market. The two half-format presses Rapida 75 PRO and Rapida 76 are being presented during a series of open days at KBA’s manufacturing facility in Radebeul. Each event is reserved for a deliberately small group of visitors and is intended to introduce interested users to the solutions which could help them to be even more successful in the future. The demonstrations are taking place daily through to 6th July, though further dates can be organised later upon request. Anyone interested in attending such an open day can simply get in touch with the organising team by writing to sheetfed-marketing(at)kba.com.
The Rapida 75 PRO is the allrounder of the KBA-Sheetfed portfolio and serves a broad production spectrum in B2 format. With its ultimate substrate flexibility and configuration freedoms which allow for up to 10 colours, as well as additional coating and perfecting units, it is an ideal choice for practically every application. As a dependable workhorse, it stands out with extensive automation and production speeds up to 16,000 sheets per hour.
The half-format flagship from KBA is the Rapida 76. With this press, printing becomes pure pleasure. Users who are presently unable to utilise the output capacity of a B1 press, but cannot afford to forego the convenience of sheer boundless automation, will find the perfect means of production in the Rapida 76. DriveTronic dedicated drive technology, fully automatic plate changing, Venturi sheet guiding and production speeds up to 18,000 sheets per hour are just a few of the highlights of this sporty half-format Rapida.
The day’s agenda provides a relaxed framework for the visitors to get to know the KBA production location in Radebeul near Dresden. The informal summer setting, furthermore, creates an ideal atmosphere for easy-going exchanges and individual knowledge transfer.
- Four-week further training seminar at AZP Chemnitz at the invitation of PrintPromotion
- Intensive knowledge transfer on automation features
- Information on trends in sheetfed offset
A special practical training session for print industry lecturers and teachers was held at KBA-Sheetfed in Radebeul on 15th June. It was attended by 15 specialist teachers from 15 countries on four different continents, who had been invited to join a four-week seminar at the AZP training centre for the graphic arts in Chemnitz by the PrintPromotion organisation. The key focus was placed on solutions for unbroken printshop workflows, and one day of this seminar agenda was devoted to KBA-Sheetfed. Further visits to industry manufacturers and suppliers rounded off the programme.
After a brief introduction to the KBA Group and its wide-ranging product portfolio, KBA trainer Stefan Splett presented some of the components and automation features of the modern Rapida sheetfed offset presses. Particular mention was made of the DriveTronic dedicated drive components such as SIS (sidelay-free infeed), SPC (simultaneous plate changing) and SFC (simultaneous coating forme changing), as well as further automation solutions for fast, parallel makeready such as the job changeover program or CleanTronic washing systems. A second training block addressed inline and online variants to measure and control print quality. The participants gained interesting insights into KBA’s modern sheetfed offset production facility and had ample opportunity to obtain competent answers to all their questions about KBA and about sheetfed offset technologies in general.
The whole day was characterised by intensive knowledge transfer and everyone agreed that they would be taking home valuable information on the latest trends and developments in sheetfed offset. Armed with this knowledge, they are now ideally prepared to act multipliers for print professionals back in their own countries.
- Standard for industrial print production
- Fully automatic production process without manual intervention
- Significant productivity increase in commercial and packaging printing
- Decentralised process monitoring via mobile devices and Rapida LiveApp
Automation of the individual process steps in print production is today more important than ever before. It is in many respects the only way to achieve further significant increases in productivity and competitiveness, by helping to exploit the performance capabilities of pressroom technologies to the full. A great deal has already happened in this direction – job changeover times are today dramatically shorter, workflows are supported by closed-loop processes, and the first users are enjoying the benefits of data-driven services such as performance reports and benchmarking.
The Rapida presses from KBA-Sheetfed already incorporate extensive automation: For top production speeds up to 20,000 sheets/hour, for lightning-fast makeready and even flying job changes, for precise inline quality control, and for increased economic efficiency through reduced non-productive times and minimised waste. With ErgoTronic AutoRun, KBA-Sheetfed is now able to present the next level of process automation for industrial print production.
Intelligent systems relieve operators
ErgoTronic AutoRun starts a job change fully automatically as soon as the production of the previous print job is completed – and then resumes production automatically once the necessary makeready steps are completed. This cycle is then repeated over and over until either the operator cancels the auto-run function or else all the jobs on the prepared job list have been printed. For section changes and web-to-print jobs, it is not even necessary to configure a new makeready process. Start of makeready, job changeover, start of production, colour and register control – all the individual steps are fully integrated and everything is triggered automatically at the appropriate moment. Press crews simply monitor the process sequence and are thus relieved of further routine tasks. They must only place the new plates in the corresponding channels of the plate changers, ensure that the necessary substrates and consumables are available when needed, and then take care of pile changes – insofar as pile changing is not also automated.
The principal field of application for ErgoTronic AutoRun is autonomous printing for the commercial sector – for example short-run jobs or multiple sections for products with high page counts. Language variants are a further possibility. Autonomous printing also benefits online printers with their highly standardised and automated processes. And in packaging, too, it can be useful to be able to start makeready automatically when the predefined run length is reached, or to return to production without further intervention upon completion of a complex job change.
KBA-Sheetfed laid the foundations for ErgoTronic AutoRun as far back as 2013 with the launch of its award-winning TouchTronic operating concept. The job changeover program on the ErgoTronic console possesses a very clear and logical structure. The printer sees all the relevant settings at a glance and can initiate a job change with just a single tap on the screen (One-Button Job Change). An interactive job list presents all the currently planned jobs to the operator, who can then re‑arrange the order at any time, for example to group together products which are to be printed on the same substrate or in the same format. Already at this stage, it is possible to enter and configure all the necessary makeready functions for each job.
ErgoTronic AutoRun coordinates the existing automation modules and in this way automates the print process as a whole. At the end of a shift or after processing of the complete job list, the press can be stopped manually in the usual manner.
The console goes mobile with the Rapida LiveApp
Operators are similarly more flexible than ever before when it comes to monitoring of the production process. They can now carry a mobile control console in their pocket. With a smartphone and the Rapida LiveApp, they are always in touch with their press – even while taking a coffee break in the canteen. A glance at the display provides details of the job which is currently in production and how much longer it will take to complete. The press crew can then decide at leisure when they need to be back at the press to load up the plates for the next job, for example.
In addition to the press status, the app provides a raft of live information from the running production, including even energy consumption and the equivalent carbon emissions per 1,000 sheets. With the batch data function, consumables such as paper and ink can be tracked either manually or by way of QR codes and assigned to the relevant job. The place of consumption, for example a certain inking unit, is determined automatically and saved in the data record. Whether inks, substrates, blankets or plates: All data are made available for tracing purposes or inventory management – immediately and without further intervention. The data are sent from the mobile device to the console, and automatically passed on via LogoTronic Professional and JMF to the company management information software.
The integrated maintenance manager draws attention to the press care required on the current day, as well as tasks which are scheduled for the coming days. The additional specification of the time needed for each task enables maintenance work to be planned such that it does not disturb production. Illustrated, step-by-step instructions explain the individual tasks to the operator. This further simplifies the maintenance process and avoids all misunderstandings. Each maintenance step can be marked as “done” after completion and the operator can also add individual remarks and comments, where appropriate.
Standards for automation in print
It is the continued intention of KBA-Sheetfed to define new standards for sheetfed offset with innovative solutions and proactive services. ErgoTronic AutoRun and the Rapida LiveApp are examples of such standards. They further enhance the capabilities of the presses, take workload off the operators and generally brighten up the work environment with modern operating sequences. In a nutshell: They boost the competitiveness of those print companies who are able to make use of them.
- Specialist for pharmaceuticals packaging
- Customer event on the future of pharma printing
- QualiTronic PDF for inline sheet inspection
- Grup Maculart in Cerdanyola del Vallès (Barcelona) is one of Spain’s leading producers of folding boxes and patient information leaflets for the pharmaceuticals industry. In August 2016, the company invested in a five-colour KBA Rapida 105 PRO with coater and extended delivery in order to further enhance its productivity and capacity. The new press was unveiled to customers from the pharmaceuticals branch within the framework of a forum-style event on the future of pharmaceuticals printing, which also focussed on current trends and challenges in this highly specialised market.The expected boost in productivity has been realised thanks to the high level of automation of the Rapida 105 PRO. The list of automation modules is sheer endless: LogoTronic Professional for data exchange between the MIS and pre-press, FAPC automatic plate changers, EasyClean ink ducts for fast ink changes, CleanTronic washing systems, DriveTronic SRW and fast roller exchange with AniloxLoader, inline quality assurance with QualiTronic ColorControl and QualiTronic PDF, an inspection tool which automatically detects even the tiniest printing errors through comparison to a reference sheet and is thus especially valuable in the sensitive pharmaceuticals segment.
At the same time, the ErgoTronic console with wallscreen simplifies handling of the press, which is equipped for mixed UV and conventional production. EES extraction and provisions for low-alcohol printing ensure a healthy working environment. The Rapida 105 PRO even takes on a rather futuristic appearance with its individual “KBArt design”.
Thanks to the Rapida 105 PRO, Grup Maculart is in a position to offer its customers both the best possible quality and the best possible price. That is especially important for the further growth of the company, which last year produced 69 million folding boxes and 77 million patient information leaflets. The more than 4,000 m2 of production space is shared with departments for large-format digital print and print advertising – and with Akewuele even a company which is specialised in the use of scents and fragrances in marketing.
High-quality print products in half format
Color Press Art from Kielce in Poland has grown dynamically over the past few years. To date, the company worked with a four-colour KBA Performa 74. Given the ever more complex product portfolio and increased customer expectations, however, the company had no choice but to take up new challenges in respect of its printing technology.
In autumn 2016, a highly automated KBA Rapida 75 PRO with five printing units, coater and triple-length extended delivery was commissioned. The new press handles a mix of conventional and LED-UV production and is configured with the full raft of Rapida features. These include FAPC, PlateIdent, CleanTronic Synchro Speed, disengaging inking units, console wallscreen, ErgoTronic ColorDrive, ErgoTronic Lab, QualiTronic ColorControl with LiveView, DotView and QualityPass, and ACR. Accessories for printing on plastics, 225 mm raised foundations and KBA VariDryBlue dryers are further highlights.
The Rapida 75 PRO permits printing on non-absorbent substrates, i.e. on films and other plastic materials. The company is certified to PSO with the new press. Through the LED-UV technology, Color Press Art has captured the attention of its customers with especially high-quality products – also on uncoated papers. Further benefits are the significantly faster delivery times and lower production costs.
Breakthrough in London
The times have certainly changed. In the early 19th century, Germany still lacked venturesome investors and a fertile industrial environment. It was not least for this reason that trained printer and untiring inventor Friedrich Koenig travelled to London in 1807 to realise his idea of a steam-driven printing press. While there, he met precision engineer Andreas Bauer, and in November 1814, The Times became the first newspaper to be printed on their double-cylinder press. This laid the foundations for printing on an industrial scale and for access to print media for a much broader section of the population.
Production in a former monastery
On 9th August 1817, Friedrich Koenig and Andreas Bauer signed a contract establishing Schnellpressenfabrik Koenig & Bauer in a secularised monastery in Oberzell near Würzburg, and in 1823, the Haude und Spenersche Zeitung in Berlin was the first newspaper on the European continent to be printed on presses from Oberzell.
Friedrich Koenig died in 1833. His widow Fanny Koenig and his former business partner Andreas Bauer continued his work. New presses were developed and the one-hundredth press was already delivered in 1838. A number of ambitious young workers moved away to found their own businesses. In this sense, Oberzell can be considered the cradle of German printing press manufacture. The company’s foundation period came to an end with the death of Andreas Bauer in 1860.
Early social achievements
The founder’s two sons, Wilhelm Koenig and Friedrich Koenig Jr., developed new presses, modernised factory routines and introduced a series of social reforms. The sickness benefit fund founded in 1855 was followed by a factory savings bank in 1865 and by a factory training school, the precursor of today’s vocational training centre in Würzburg, in 1868. The factory statute of 1873 defined the rights and duties of workers and managers and established a factory council ‒ employee participation already 140 years ago.
1876: The era of web printing begins
The first webfed press was supplied to a newspaper in Magdeburg in 1876. Wilhelm Koenig invented the variable web press in 1886, designed the first four-colour press in 1888, and began building special machines for the printing of luxury products. At the same time, he became very interested in securities printing, a field in which Koenig & Bauer was later to become technology leader. In 1895, the 5000th cylinder press left the factory.
From 1895 and through into the 1920s, the course of the company was shaped by Constantin Koenig and the founder’s grandson Albrecht Bolza. In 1901, a new factory was built at the site today occupied by the company headquarters. The 225 metre long production hall was one of the largest in Germany at that time. Webfed publication and rotogravure presses were manufactured, and the development of sheetfed machines was stepped up. Alongside printing presses, various matrix-moulding presses and plate-casting machines were delivered to customers all over the world.
Destruction and rebuilding
After the First World War, Dr. Hans Bolza, a great-grandson of Friedrich Koenig, made a notable contribution to the mending of severed foreign business links. He was appointed to the executive board of the company when it was transformed into a limited company in 1920 and served as chairman of the board from 1931 to 1971.
Koenig & Bauer survived the period of hyperinflation in the 1920s thanks to the newly developed Iris collect press for coloured banknotes. In March 1945, bombs and artillery shells destroyed the Würzburg factories. Reconstruction began in 1946. After the post-war currency reform, Koenig & Bauer resumed business in 1949 with nominal capital amounting to DM 4.1 million.
1952: Success story of security printing
Cooperation with securities printing expert Gualtiero Giori began in 1952. A further important milestone was the arrival of a talented young design engineer named Dr. Hans-Bernhard Schünemann, the son of a Bremen publishing family, in 1951. His first of over 250 patents was granted for a modification of the so called Maltese cross drive mechanism, which was subsequently used in another of his inventions, the sheetfed gravure press Rembrandt MT III. In 1959, Dr. Hans Bolza formally adopted Dr. Schünemann.
Dr. Bolza-Schünemann was himself president of Koenig & Bauer AG for almost 25 years from 1971 to 1995, and initiated the formation of the KBA Group from 1990. Executive responsibility was subsequently placed in the hands of his close partner and long-serving financial director Reinhart Siewert. After the turn of the century, he was succeeded by Albrecht (2003 – 2009) and Claus Bolza-Schünemann (since 2011), who thus represent the sixth generation of the founding family at the helm of the company.
Successful presses Condor and Rotafolio
Despite the growing offset competition in the 1960s and 70s, Koenig & Bauer retained the proven letterpress technology for its sheetfed and webfed presses for a relatively long time. Alongside the Rembrandt sheetfed gravure press and banknote presses developed together with De La Rue Giori, the two-revolution Condor and the Rotafolio sheetfed press for wrap-around plates were extremely successful all over the world.
High-performance in sheetfed offset since 1974
The first sheetfed offset press, the half-format Koebau-Rapida 0, was presented at drupa in 1967. The medium-format Koebau-Rapida III followed in 1969. Both ran at speeds up to 8,000 sheets per hour. The Koebau-Rapida SR III launched in 1974 was almost twice as fast at 15,000 sheets per hour. The presses of other major manufacturers did not achieve such performance until much later.
In 1986, Koenig & Bauer launched the Rapida 104, a unit-type press designed for high flexibility and printing speeds up 15,000 sheets per hour. Production was transferred to the new subsidiary KBA-Planeta AG in 1992, sowing the seed for today’s high-performance sheetfed offset presses from Radebeul. The current Rapida 106, for example, has defined the benchmarks in medium format with speeds up to 20,000 sheets per hour, extremely fast job changeovers and configurations comprising up to 19 printing and finishing units.
Today’s large-format series Rapida 145 and 164 are the successors to the Rapida 142 and 162 presses which were developed jointly by the Radebeul design engineers and their colleagues from Würzburg in the 1990s. In printshops around the world, these high-performance large-format presses took the place of presses from other manufacturers and paved the way for KBA-Sheetfed’s leading position in large formats. This standing was confirmed yet again in 2003 with the unveiling of the Rapida 205, the world’s largest sheetfed offset press.
Pioneer of new technologies
In the same way that the Würzburg engineers ventured new approaches to webfed printing, the Saxon designers have repeatedly struck out on their own in search of simpler and more efficient sheetfed solutions. Two examples are the DI offset press 74 Karat with direct on-press plate imaging, which was developed together with Scitex from Israel in 1997, and its sister press Rapida 74 G from 2000. Both were equipped with short-train inking units for waterless printing. KBA remains strongly committed to this technology, which is especially interesting from the perspectives of print quality and environmental protection.
When it comes to innovative processes for inline finishing, ecological printing, direct printing on corrugated board or – most recently – LED-UV drying, KBA Sheetfed has regularly acted as a pioneer. The entry into the post-press market in 2016 and the announcement of the digital sheetfed press VariJET 106 at drupa open up further prospects.
World first in webfed printing
The era of web offset presses from Würzburg began with the Commander in 1969. Over time, the still dominant satellite design principle was becoming increasingly complex. At the beginning of the 1990s, this trend was answered with the four-high tower presses Journal and Colora. Later, they were joined by the single-width series Comet and Continent. The less expensive four-high tower design appealed to many new international customers, and helped to establish the company as the number one in newspaper printing.
In this field, too, the Würzburg engineers have never shied the pursuit of new ideas. Already at drupa 1995, for example, visitors could admire an Anilox-Express with automatic plate changing and an imprinter with Scitex inkjet heads in the superstructure. It was shown adding a variable digital caricature to each offset copy. It was then almost 18 years, however, before the inkjet technology was actually used in practice in webfed offset presses.
At drupa 2000, a new trend towards compact highly automated newspaper presses was heralded by the KBA Cortina, which stood less than 4 metres high. Further features new to newspaper offset were the elimination of dampening units, four-high towers which glided apart for easy access, dedicated drives for each cylinder and the ease of operation with lifts to the upper couples of the tower. The same concept was implemented by the wet offset counterpart Commander CT in 2007. Both presses have remained unique on the market to this day.
Media upheavals and realignment
Already in the early 1990s, the World Wide Web was taking its first tentative steps and new digital competitors entered the print arena. Faced with growing online competition, and especially due to the world financial crisis, the market for new webfed offset presses collapsed dramatically in 2008. Koenig & Bauer responded by turning attention to the digital process from 2011, and presented its first inkjet web press, the RotaJET 76, at drupa 2012. Today, with the RotaJET VL series for decor printing and the T1100 S manufactured on behalf of the American HP Corporation for the production of corrugated packaging, the largest digital web presses in the world are produced in Würzburg.
The company Koenig & Bauer went public in 1985. The acquisition of Albert-Frankenthal AG and of a majority stake in Planeta Druckmaschinenwerke in the early 1990s established a company group with a turnover of more than DM 1.1 billion. From the turn of the century onwards, the group management started a programme of diversification into market segments less affected by changes in the media landscape.
The acquisition of Swiss partner De La Rue Giori SA in Lausanne in 2001 secured KBA’s pole position in banknote printing. The purchase of Metronic GmbH in 2004 opened the door to the important market for industrial coding systems. The acquisitions of Bauer + Kunzi and LTG Print Systems, and the subsequent merger into KBA-MetalPrint GmbH in 2006, established KBA as the number one in metal decorating. And with KBA-Kammann GmbH as a global leader for the decoration of glass containers, alongside flexible packaging specialist KBA-Flexotecnica S.p.A, KBA has since 2013 further expanded its portfolio for the diverse packaging segment. A similar purpose was served by the takeover of Spanish die-cutter manufacturer Iberica in 2016.
This early diversification has helped KBA to master the structural upheavals which have rocked the branch much better than other press manufacturers. At the turn of the century, 60 per cent of the turnover from new press sales was still generated in market segments under pressure from the online media. Today, 90 per cent is accounted for by the growth markets digital and packaging printing and by securities printing.
Print technologies for every eventuality
Through market-oriented capacity realignment, the introduction of a new group structure and a clear focus on future-oriented markets, structural changes implemented in 2014 and 2015 have prepared the oldest press manufacturer in the world to meet the challenges of advancing digitisation and globalisation.
Today, analogue and digital KBA technologies are used to print, finish and process products such as banknotes, metal cans, books, brochures, displays, decor, labels, glass and plastic containers, board and film packaging, catalogues, laminates, magazines, tyres, cables, smart cards, advertising flyers, newspapers and many more besides. Practically all common printing and finishing technologies are involved. This diversity creates unique know-how, and continues to drive innovations, new applications and new partnerships.
The highly automated KBA C16 came on stream right on schedule on 1st June. The new press runs with a maximum production speed of 65,000 cylinder revolutions per hour. B&K Offsetdruck now operates three commercial web presses from KBA (a Compacta 217 and two KBA C16 presses).
Stefan Segger, sales director for KBA-Digital & Web: “Our press was once more able to convince B&K with reliability, quality and cutting-edge technologies. The cooperation between our two companies is excellent. Another new chapter has now been added to the success story of longstanding partnership between B&K and KBA.”
High automation and newly developed technology
Jörn Kalbhenn is proud manager of the family business founded by his father and can count on the support of more than 200 employees. Over the past years, B&K Offsetdruck has recorded steady and healthy growth. The latest five-unit KBA C16 was configured with a raft of innovations, including a new superstructure concept with novel ribbon leads. Automation functions such as KBA EasyTronic, in conjunction with the ErgoTronic console technology, serve to enhance productivity while at the same time minimising makeready and waste. At the request of the customer, the C16 has again been equipped with a cutter. In this way, investment and production costs are reduced, and production output is increased.