The EVO XD is to be used to test new water-based inks, specifically for printing on plastic films. At the same time, packaging printers will be able to run trials of innovative materials without interrupting their own production. “We are moving forward nicely with KBA-Flexotecnica. The good cooperation with KBA-Digital & Web in the areas of design and development, production and service is bearing fruit. Together, we can implement new ideas and customer-specific solutions even better and faster,” adds Christoph Müller, member of the executive board of Koenig & Bauer AG and CEO of KBA-Flexotecnica. The EVO XD is set for commissioning at the production facility in Tokyo by September 2017.
Dainichiseika on the market since 1931
Dainichiseika Color & Chemicals was founded in 1931 and has grown constantly ever since. More than 4,000 employees work for the company around the world. Dainichiseika is well established in numerous fields of ink manufacture, and today develops, manufactures and sells a wide range of both functional printing inks and offset inks for flyers, books and packaging materials, as well as inorganic, organic and prepared pigments for printing, paints and other applications.
EVO XD for flexible use of water-based inks
The eight-colour CI flexo press chosen by Dainichiseika is a version engineered for a web width of 1320 mm and cut-off lengths between 370 and 850 mm from the successful EVO XD series for printing with water-based inks on a broad diversity of substrates such as films, very thin and sensitive “breathable” LDPE, laminated materials and paper. It offers maximum flexibility for the most varied packaging applications and incorporates very energy-efficient dryer systems. The EVO XD uses modules of the current X series and was designed to meet demands for fast job changes, low makeready waste and high productivity even with short runs. The automatic impression system AIF, the highly efficient washing system “Speedy Clean” and the integrated print error detection system enable production to commence without delay.
- New Rapida 145 and retrofit for an existing Rapida 105
- 50 million sheets, but ever shorter runs
- Up to 50 makeready cycles per day
- Puzzles with up to 40,000 pieces
Ravensburger is a leading European provider of puzzles, games and activity products, and a leading publisher of children’s and youth books in the German-speaking region. The blue triangle is one of the most renowned trademarks in Germany. Founded by Otto Meier in 1883, the company today counts 2,100 employees, who together generate annual sales of almost €500 million. Two Rapida offset presses stand in the competence centre for print production, one each in medium and large format.
The large-format Rapida 145, with five printing units and inline coater, was commissioned just last year to replace an old large-format press. The medium-format Rapida 105 had also been in production for over a decade, but has now been given a new lease of life. Within the framework of extensive restructuring measures in the print centre, it has been turned by 180° and treated to a comprehensive retrofit. The total investment, including renovation of the hall, amounted to almost €4 million. Both presses now run in high-speed unison – the Rapida 145 at 15,000 sheets per hour for 98 per cent of the time.
The recent investments became imperative due to the increasing proportion of short-run production jobs. Print volumes have increased from 39 million sheets in 2010 to 48 million sheets, but the number of individual jobs has risen even more sharply from 7,600 to 11,000. Overall, average run lengths have fallen from 4,950 sheets in 2010 to 3,900 sheets in 2016. Faced with this challenge, there was no alternative but to minimise makeready times and raise production output.
Faster makeready processes for more print jobs
That is all child’s play for the Rapida 145. Thanks to the facilities for parallel processes (DriveTronic SPC with PlateIdent, CleanTronic Synchro and a DriveTronic SFC coater with AniSleeve), makeready times have been slashed by a staggering 80 per cent. But even that is only half of the story. As makeready is no longer such a major factor in production costs, classic games such as “Ludo“ can be printed more frequently. Consequently, less space is required for finished and semi-finished products, and less capital is locked up in intermediate storage.
There are typically up to 18 job changes per shift. The record to date was 50 makeready cycles in 24 hours. Production is generally spread across gang formes for maximum flexibility. Pre-press decides whether a particular product is to be placed on the sheet once or several times, depending on the overall quantities required and the delivery schedules. Between four and sixteen different products are printed together on one sheet. CtP is also the stage at which it is decided whether to assign the job to the medium- or large-format press.On the Rapidas, one test sheet is normally sufficient before actual production commences. In the past, three or even four correction steps were necessary. As a result, the amount of makeready waste has been halved. Alongside the direct material savings, the Rapida presses are in this way also contributing to the conservation of natural resources.
Benefits on unusual substrates
Günter Märker, head of production at Ravensburger: “We can swear by our Rapidas for their advantages in board printing.” Typical board weights lie between 120 and 450 g/m2. “Both must run equally well,” says Märker. Playing cards are printed on virgin pulp stocks.Even though production is organised so as to group together common formats and substrates, it is still necessary to perform two to three coating forme changes and one or two anilox roller changes every day. DriveTronic SFC and AniSleeve are here real time-savers. Coating plate changes run parallel to other makeready processes, and an anilox roller sleeve can be changed by a single operator – without physical effort and without the need for a crane or the like.
One small detail is especially appreciated by the press operators at Ravensburger, namely the plate lift. Whole plate trolleys are lifted up to the press gallery level, and the printers only have to distribute them to the individual printing units. Climbing steps with an unwieldy plate has become a thing of the past.
Extensive know-how also in post-press
Before the investment plans could be implemented, there was one important point to be clarified: How to accommodate continued use of the existing die-cutting tools, despite the switch to a new large-format press model. After all, considerable money and know-how had gone into their production. The answer was amazingly simple: The Rapida 145 uses narrower colour bars, and thus the gripper margin required for die-cutting is still available.
There are 32 employees in Ravensburger’s competence centre for print production. They work three shifts and are also responsible for cutting. The post-press department and the associated store occupy much more floor space than the relatively small printshop with its 250 m2; the total production space amounts to approx. 20,000 m2. The departments for die-cutting and lamination of the puzzles and for box-making are much larger. Most machines here are the product of extensive specialist know-how – for example the lidding machine which places a lid on the finished box sets.
A company like Ravensburger is naturally a source of many superlatives. The largest Ravensburger jigsaw puzzle, for example, came onto the market in 2016. It comprises 40,320 pieces and weighs around 20 kg. Puzzlers can look forward to some 600 hours of fun to complete the puzzle measuring 6.8 x 1.9 metres.
- Good order intake of €602m
- Revenue of €539m down slightly on the previous year due to more deliveries in H2
- High order backlog of €621m
- EBIT of €16.3m
- Favourable customer response to new and enhanced solutions
- Guidance for 2017 confirmed: revenue of up to €1.25bn and an EBIT margin of around 6%
After a good start to the year in which Koenig & Bauer celebrates its 200th anniversary, the group is able to report favourable business performance in the second quarter of 2017. “The successful trade shows Print China in Beijing, interpack in Düsseldorf and METPACK in Essen contributed to a substantial year-on-year increase in order intake in packaging solutions for cardboard, metal decorating, marking and coding and glass and hollow container printing. Despite this growth and the expansion of service business, the order intake of €601.9m was slightly down on the previous year’s figure of €618.8m, which had been spurred by major security press orders,” explained CEO Claus Bolza-Schünemann. With group revenue dropping slightly to €538.9m compared with the previous year due to more deliveries in H2, the order backlog remained high at €620.5m.
EBIT came to €16.3m. “The previous year’s figure of €20.7m had been influenced by a strong catch-up effect in Q2 (€4.9m) from the execution of a large security press project and higher revenue,” said CFO Dr Mathias Dähn. The group net profit of €15.2m (2016: €17.2m) is equivalent to proportionate earnings per share of €0.93 (2016: €1.05).
“In addition to the continued expansion of service business, profitable growth will be particularly driven by our existing and new solutions for printing, finishing and postpress processing of packaging as well as our industrial digital printing applications,” explained Dr Mathias Dähn. Claus Bolza-Schünemann mentioned the strong customer interest in the newly developed CS MetalCan solution for printing two-piece beverage cans. Sales launch is to commence in 2018 following the completion of intensive field testing.
Group earnings boosted by the substantial increase in Sheetfed profit
Order intake in the Sheetfed segment grew by 12.2% to €326.3m thanks to increased service business and more orders for medium-format presses. The flatbed die-cutters for postprint processing of cardboard and corrugated also made a gratifying contribution to growth. Revenue rose by 5.5% from €291.7m in the previous year to €307.8m. The additional revenue with better margins and lower costs resulted in a substantial increase in segment profit to €12.1m (2016: €8.6m).
Solid order intake of €85.7m was achieved in the Digital & Web segment. With revenue declining to €68.3m (2016: €75.5m), the order backlog rose from €92.3m to €93.6m. The EBIT of –€ 2.8m (2016: –€2.7m) came under pressure from KBA-Flexotecnica, which contributed a figure of –€3.1m. Optimisation efforts at the Italian subsidiary target to speed up the growth course in the future market of flexible packaging. Without the flexo activities, Digital & Web posted a clear improvement in earnings.
Despite the growth in orders for packaging printing solutions, new business in the Special segment dropped to €216.3m, down from €269.5m in the previous year, in which major security press contracts had been received. At €189.2m, segment revenue fell short of the previous year (€222.9m) due to more deliveries in H2. EBIT came to €14.6m, translating into a gratifying margin of 7.7%. The previous year’s figure of €22.1m had been influenced by a high catch-up effect of €4.9m from a large security press project.
Increase in equity ratio to 32.6%
Despite the higher customer prepayments, cash flows from operating activities came to –€20m compared with the previous year’s figure of –€10.6m. In addition to higher inventories for the planned revenue growth in the second half of the year this was due to the increased receivables resulting from an accumulation of deliveries shortly before the end of the first half. Aside from higher capital spending, the free cash flow of –€65.5m was burdened by the first payment instalments of €32.4m for the external funding of a part of the pension provisions. With its funds of €127.5m, securities of €14.7m that can be liquidated at any time as well as the high cash and guarantee facilities, Koenig & Bauer has a stable funding base. The equity ratio rose relative to the slightly increased balance sheet total to 32.6% (end of 2016: 31.1%).
The group workforce increased by 158 over the previous year to 5,359 employees as of 30 June. In addition to targeted recruiting in the service business and for new applications for the packaging and digital printing markets, 71 employees joined the group through the acquisition of KBA-Iberica Die Cutters for the growing die-cutter market.
Guidance for 2017 confirmed
The order backlog of €620.5m at the end of the first half, expanding service business, steady demand in the packaging markets and promising customer projects in security and digital printing, the management board expects revenue growth to accelerate with a positive effect on earnings in the further course of the year. In the absence of any material deterioration in global economic and political conditions impacting its international business, group management expects to achieve organic growth of up to €1.25bn in group revenue and an EBIT margin of around 6% in 2017.
The financial statements can be downloaded as a PDF file from here…
- Compact design and extensive automation clinched the investment decision
- Significantly improved print quality
- Additional production capacities
It was 45 years ago that LacherDruck in Memmingen converted a former ballroom restaurant into a printshop. There are still visible signs today – the parquet floor, stucco ceilings and an area which was no doubt once a stage for the dance bands. In the meantime, the only dancing is that of the screen dots on the paper, the pallets which move back and forth between the presses and finishing machines, and the printed sheets as they are folded and gathered.
The printshop is bathed in light in the truest sense of the word, and is located conveniently between the local motorway junction and the warehouses of numerous logistics companies. Space is at an absolute premium, however, because LacherDruck continues to expand.
The business was founded by Heinrich Lacher in 1963. His son Gerhard handed the baton over to his longstanding staff colleagues Walter Demartin and Christian Bittner four years ago. Today, LacherDruck produces a broad spectrum of commercial and packaging jobs, mainly for the regional B2B market. Alongside, the portfolio includes various own products and a number of specialities such as sheet music.
New technology to embrace changed market demands
LacherDruck used to print on a 12-year-old four-colour half-format press. Two years ago, however, the managing directors decided to invest in new technology in order to preserve their ability to offer customers print products of the highest quality and at the same time to facilitate further business development. Market changes, such as ever shorter run lengths, left no alternative to the purchase of a new sheetfed offset press.
The printers checked out the available technologies at the drupa trade fair, and followed up their research with print tests at KBA-Sheetfed and further manufacturers. The final decision at the end of this process: A five-colour Rapida 75 PRO. Walter Demartin has no doubts whatsoever: “The Rapida 75 PRO was for us the ideal press at the ideal time.” Factors which clinched the deal for the half-format Rapida were the compact design, the double-size cylinders and the extensive automation for short makeready times and reduced waste. “The results have been exactly what we were looking for,” says Walter Demartin.
Compact and flexible
There were hardly any changes to be made to the foundations compared to the previous four-colour press. The Rapida 75 PRO incorporates accessory packages which reflect the wide range of substrates handled by the company. Important features include the facility to disengage inking units which are not in use, CleanTronic Synchro washing systems, an ErgoTronic console with ColorDrive and LogoTronic CIPLinkX.Print quality has improved significantly with the new press. The dot is clearer and more stable. Inking unit temperature control provides for constant process conditions and a high degree of stability over the length of a run. Makeready times are considerably shorter and washing results are flawless. Thanks to its CIP3 interface, the Rapida 75 PRO comes into colour – and thus production – much faster. As a result, smaller jobs can be handled much more efficiently. After all, up to 2,500 jobs with average run lengths between 500 and 5,000 sheets are printed every year.
The printers really enjoy working with the new press. One example: The disengaging of unused inking unit is really appreciated. “It makes our work so much easier,” says Walter Demartin. On other sheetfed offset presses, the rollers continue to run and have to be protected by applying oil. And when the inking unit is needed again, it first has to be washed down. That is all different with the Rapidas. Here, the unused inking unit is mechanically disconnected from the press drive and simply left standing still for the time being if it is not required for a particular job.
For approx. 40 per cent of all jobs, the fifth inking unit is used to apply a protective coating. Otherwise, it is available for the printing of spot colours. That, too, makes the press more flexible than a straightforward four-colour model.
Consumables recommendations well received
The printers were equally happy with the consumables starter kit supplied with the Rapida 75 PRO. Many of the included PressConsum products are still in use – from washing solvents to blankets. The same applies to the inks recommended by KBA. LacherDruck today uses only the Novavit F950 Plus Bio series from Flint Group. The standard scale colours are produced at the K+E works in Stuttgart, which is barely 150 km from the printshop in Memmingen.
With its Agfa pre-press systems, further single-colour and digital presses, folding machinery, cylinder die-cutting and a booklet stitching line, LacherDruck is equipped to provide a full range of services. Some 80 per cent of the value creation chain is handled in-house.
Now that the Rapida 75 PRO has established additional production capacity, the next step is to strengthen the market position of LacherDruck’s own print products. To this end, the company is planning to invest heavily in training. Sooner or later, an answer must also be found to the location question. After all, the current building is already bursting at the seams.
KBA Rapida 75 PRO for a broad spectrum of substrates
Lacher Druck used to print on a 12-year-old half-format press with four inking units. To preserve their ability to offer B2B customers print products of the highest quality and at the same time to facilitate further business development, it was urgently necessary to invest in new printing technology. Ongoing market changes, such as ever shorter run lengths, also left no alternative to the purchase of a new sheetfed offset press.
The management at Lacher Druck chose the Rapida 75 PRO in a five-colour version. The compact design of the press was a key factor, as space is limited in the company’s printshop. There were hardly any changes to be made to the foundations compared to the previous four-colour press. The Rapida 75 PRO incorporates various accessory packages which reflect the wide range of substrates handled by the company. Important features include the facility to disengage inking units which are not in use, CleanTronic Synchro washing systems, an ErgoTronic console with ColorDrive and LogoTronic CIPLinkX.
Print quality has improved significantly with the new press. The dot is clearer and more stable. Inking unit temperature control provides for constant process conditions and a high degree of stability over the length of a run. Makeready times are considerably shorter and washing results are flawless. Thanks to its CIP3 interface, the Rapida 75 PRO comes into colour much faster. As a result, smaller jobs can also be handled much more efficiently. The printers really enjoy working with modern automated technology.