- Shareholders approve dividend proposal of €0.50
- Carsten Dentler elected to the Supervisory Board to replace Carl Ferdinand Oetker
- New products for the growing packaging market
- Organic growth target of 4% p.a. through 2021
- EBIT margin of 4 – 9% reconfirmed as medium-term goal
In addition to a presentation by president and CEO Claus Bolza-Schünemann outlining the company’s favourable performance in 2016 and the first quarter of 2017 (see press releases of 22 March 2017 and 9 May 2017), details of the growth strategy being pursued by the broadly positioned printing press manufacturer Koenig & Bauer AG (KBA) played a key role at the company’s 92nd annual general meeting, which was presided over by supervisory board chairman Dr Martin Hoyos. Further items on the agenda of the annual general meeting held at the Vogel Convention Center (VCC) in Würzburg included resolutions on the discharge of duties with regard to the members of the management and supervisory board, the election of a new member to the supervisory board and the creation of new authorised capital.
Shares moving sharply upwards since 2015
Koenig & Bauer shares have been posting strong gains since the successful completion of the Fit@All restructuring programme. In 2015, the share price climbed from just under €10 to almost €33 and in 2016 by a further 30% to €42.75. In the current year to date, the share has hit a high of €64. Says Bolza-Schünemann: “Our upbeat business performance, the sharp rise in earnings, the swift achievement of our medium-term goals and the clear orientation to growth markets have bolstered investors’ confidence.” In addition to the good business figures and the above-average gains of the share, shareholders were pleased with the dividend proposal of €0.50 per share, which reflected the group’s strong earnings performance, approving it almost unanimously. The dividend is based on Koenig & Bauer AG’s retained profit of €8.3m. This translates into a dividend ratio of 14% of the Group net profit adjusted for special items.
Koenig & Bauer targeting profitable growth
In the first quarter of 2017, the KBA group’s main performance indicators such as order intake, order backlog and EBIT were up on the previous year. Given this strong position and following the China Print fair, which was held in May 2017 in Beijing and proved very successful for the KBA group, the management board considers the increase in group revenue up to €1.25bn targeted for 2017 in conjunction with an operating margin of around 6% to be achievable.
In the medium term, Koenig & Bauer wants to continue growing profitably. Says Bolza-Schünemann: “We are targeting a group-wide EBIT margin of between 4% and 9% and annual organic revenue growth of around 4% for the period until 2021 depending on trends in the global economy, end markets and the necessary spending on growth.” The planned increase of around €70 million in profit is particularly to be underpinned by the optimisation of the security printing business, growth in services, integrated production network and strategic purchasing.
New demonstration centre to spur growth
Active in many markets, Koenig & Bauer sees good opportunities for operating growth in digital printing, industrial functional printing (e.g. decors) and packaging printing. At the packaging fairs MetPack and InterPack in May 2017, KBA companies presented newly developed presses for previously unaddressed fields, such as beverage cans, to address this growing core market. Currently under construction in Würzburg, the demonstration centre for flexo and digital printing presses will additionally spur growth in flexible packaging and corrugated board.
Change in the Supervisory Board
Carl Ferdinand Oetker, the managing partner of FO Holding GmbH and managing director of WINK Verwaltungsgesellschaft mbH, Bielefeld, stepped down from the supervisory board as a shareholder representative effective 31 December 2016. Corporate consultant Carsten Dentler from Bad Homburg v. d. Höhe was elected to the supervisory board as his successor. With four of the 12 shareholder and employee representatives on the supervisory board being female, Koenig & Bauer AG meets the stipulated 30% proportion of women.
The shareholders approved with a large majority all the other motions on the agenda including the creation of new authorised capital of up to €8.58m for the issue of up to 3.3 million shares including the right to exclude shareholders’ pre-emptive subscription rights.
• Orders received far exceed expectations
• Positive development of business in China
• Exhibited Rapida 106 goes to Liuyang Shuangfu Packaging Printing
• Looking forward to brisk post-show business
Koenig & Bauer (KBA) is able to report on an extremely successful China Print in Beijing. This year’s show was placed under the motto “Origin & Future – 200 Years Koenig & Bauer”, and visitors to the 1,000 m2 stand from China and numerous other countries in the region were treated to a raft of offset, flexo, screen printing and digital solutions for the commercial, publication and packaging markets. Practice-oriented press demonstrations and vivid presentations of products which could not be exhibited directly were undisputed crowd-pullers.
Walter Zehner, CEO of KBA Greater China, summed up: “It was a very successful show. The interest and sales results far exceeded our expectations.” Dietmar Heyduck, sales director at KBA-Sheetfed, was equally enthusiastic: “KBA-Sheetfed already recorded a very positive business result on the Chinese market in 2016. Our revenue increased by 10 per cent, not least because we placed a clear focus on the growing packaging segment. The aim must now be to maintain the upward momentum of last year, and this successful China Print is definitely an important step in that direction.”
Ralf Sammeck, CEO of KBA-Sheetfed: “Over the past years, KBA has established a firm reputation as a specialist catering for individual printing needs. Our customers are looking for special or complete solutions – for example for high-quality finishing. The sheetfed offset presses supplied by KBA are becoming longer and longer, and incorporate more and more practice-oriented automation. That is the technology which the market demands. The key to our success is that we concentrate on making our customers successful.”
Rapida 106 handed over to packaging printer
The official hand-over of the Rapida 75 PRO on the stand to its future owner, the Hucai Group, already on the first day of the show was followed up by a similar ceremony for the Rapida 106 on 10th May. The five-colour press which was to be seen in Beijing is now on its way to Liuyang Shuangfu Packaging Printing in Hunan Province. General manager Zhao Bang: “We will certainly benefit from simultaneous plate changing with DriveTronic SPC. Job changeover times will be shortened dramatically, and the pre-registration facility will also help to reduce waste. Everyone is really excited about the high production speeds and print quality of the Rapida 106. We are pursuing automation to enhance our production efficiency and to reduce labour costs. With this high-performance press, we are continuing the restructuring of our company and will be increasing our production capacity by more than 100 per cent.”
The products in greatest demand at the show were medium- and large-format sheetfed presses. Alongside the Rapida 106 for Liuyang Shuangfu Packaging Printing, a further press of this high-end series was sold with seven printing units, inline coater and extended delivery. Several buyers opted for the Rapida 105, including two eight-colour coater presses, one of which was also configured with the cold foil module Vinfoil Optima. In large format, KBA lived up to its role as market leader with several new orders, and a number of sales contracts for the Rapida 75 PRO are also close to completion. In total, the orders received matched the figures achieved at Print China two years ago.
200 years Koenig & Bauer – 200 years of innovation
“We are all very proud of the 200-year history of our company,” says Ralf Sammeck. “Over the whole course of those two centuries, KBA has always been a pioneer of new trends and solutions for the print industry. This innovative strength, the continuous development of new technologies and close customer orientation are the foundations for our success and have also helped us to master difficult situations along the way.”
And Dietmar Heyduck adds: “We have always been a reliable partner for our customers, and we can work from a sound financial basis. This trustful cooperation is to be continued. KBA is not only about history, KBA also has its eye on the future. We will continue to set trends, recognise and respond to emerging developments, and serve our users as an innovative partner.”
KBA is looking forward to brisk post-show business and increased demand from the Chinese market over the coming months.
As a further step along the adopted path of sustained growth on the market for flexible packaging, the Italian Koenig & Bauer Group subsidiary KBA-Flexotecnica S.p.A. has expanded its sales team. Richard Warnick has been appointed sales manager for the United Kingdom, Ireland and Scandinavia with immediate effect. Parallel to these duties, he will also be acting as global key account manager.
Richard Warnick has worked in the print industry for more than 20 years, both in sales and in the technical field. “Our presses embody high technical standards, with optimum solutions relating to energy saving, productivity, labour safety and environment protection. Especially in the growing packaging segment, we offer our customers a very modern and comprehensive portfolio,” he says.
Christoph Müller, CEO of KBA-Flexotecnica: “With his experience and network in the market for flexible packaging, Richard Warnick is the ideal person to help us achieve our ambitious goals.”
- Presentations for commercial, publication and packaging printers, as well as workflow solutions and data-driven business models
- Live demonstrations on Rapida 106 and Rapida 75 PRO presses
- Information on digital packaging printing
- Rapida 75 PRO for the Hucai Group
China Print 2017 opened its doors in Beijing on 9th May. And in the 200th year of its company history, the Koenig & Bauer Group (KBA) proudly unfurled a banner with its anniversary slogan “Origin & Future – 200 Years Koenig & Bauer” above a 1,000 m2 stand. Through to 13th May, visitors can here gain first-hand insights into the broad product portfolio offered to commercial, publication and packaging printers, alongside the associated workflow solutions, data-driven business models and services.
Packaging is a particularly fast-growing segment in China, and KBA is well prepared to satisfy the arising market demands with offset, flexo, screen printing and digital inkjet presses for folding cartons, corrugated board, hollow containers and metal substrates. Since 2016, this already diverse product range has been supplemented further with rotary and flat-bed die-cutters from KBA-Sheetfed and KBA-Iberica, as well as marking and coding systems from KBA-Metronic, some of which are assembled at a local subsidiary in China itself.
Especially during the live demonstrations on the KBA stand, the five-colour Rapida 106 with DriveTronic SPC plate cylinder direct drives and the new half-format Rapida 75 PRO with six printing units, coater, extended delivery and essentially identical control and automation features are stars of the show. They are to be seen printing a series of poster and postcard jobs, placing a focus on fast job changes and stable production quality thanks to inline colour control based on grey balance with InstrumentFlight.
A special area of the stand has been set aside to provide up-to-the-minute information on the KBA VariJET 106 for digital folding carton production. The market launch of this new inkjet/offset hybrid press is planned for the coming year.
Already on the first day, the Rapida 75 PRO was officially handed over to its future owner Hucai Printing Co. Ltd. A first order for a press of this series from KBA was placed at drupa 2016, almost a year ago. In the meantime, Hucai operates three half-format Rapidas. The company sees the new technology as an ideal means to further increase print quality and efficiency, and as a step into the future in terms of workflow automation.
- Reorientation under difficult circumstances for investors
- Highly satisfied with print quality of the KBA Rapida 105
- Press and operating concept greatly appreciated
It was back in 1968 that Jassim Mubarak Al-Jassim founded the company Al-Resala Printing Press in Kuwait. As a journalist with entrepreneurial instinct, his idea was to establish the company as the first address for modern, high-quality publications, based upon the principle of customer proximity.
In the meantime, however, the impacts of media transformation are also being felt by Kuwait and Al-Resala: The company was forced to decommission one of its two web presses. In the sheetfed sector, on the other hand, it still sees growing demand in the market and has decided to invest accordingly in the future.
General manager Marzouq Al-Jassim: “We considered all the possible scenarios and analysed corresponding press types and configurations. And we came to the conclusion that the Rapida 105 is currently the best choice for us. We are continuing to observe the market, however, and could well imagine an investment in another press from the Rapida series as the next step.”
For Noureddine Amalou from the sales department at KBA-Sheetfed Solutions, the instable political situation in the region is an important factor for the currently subdued readiness to invest in the Middle East. Even so, there are good opportunities for continued growth and development for healthy enterprises. Al-Resala Printing Press, for example, is financially sound, has earned a very positive reputation on the market and can rely on the service of the Al-Kharafi Group.
Al-Resala has worked with presses from KBA from the very beginning and is extremely satisfied with their quality and production performance. The new Rapida 105, a five-colour model with coater and extended delivery, entered production at the beginning of the year. Adel Al-Salem, press manager at Al-Resala Printing Press: “Our team really appreciates the concept. For us, it is not maximum automation which counts, but rather the mature technical basis of the press – things like the excellent paper travel, the perfect interaction of the inking and dampening units, and the ease of operation.”
- Ralf Sammeck and Christoph Müller appointed to the Executive Board
- Dr Andreas Pleßke delegated to the Executive Board
The Supervisory Board of Koenig & Bauer AG has appointed Ralf Sammeck (54) and Christoph Müller (56) to the Executive Board with effect from 1 June 2017. As of today, Ralf Sammeck leads the Sheetfed division, and Christoph Müller the Digital & Web division. Both group management members will represent their segments in the Executive Board. Aiming at expanding new equipment sales, Ralf Sammeck has additionally taken over the coordination of global equipment sales. In order to push global service, Christoph Müller has also taken responsibility for coordinating services initiatives. The planned increase in the revenue share generated by Services to 30% by 2021 is set to achieve greater profit stability. The appointment of Ralf Sammeck and Christoph Müller to the Executive Board aims to support the implementation of the medium-term Group targets announced on 20 February 2017. By 2021, the target is to reach an annual organic growth rate of around 4% and an EBIT margin of between 4% and 9% across the Group. Of the targeted €70 million increase in earnings, approximately €20 million in either case is to be generated through service growth and the optimisation of the security printing business.
- 21% higher order intake
- Revenue at the previous year’s level
- Rise in order backlog to €620m
- Increase in EBIT from €2.1m to €5m
- Innovative new products for metal decorating presented
- Guidance for 2017: revenue of up to €1.25bn and an EBIT margin of around 6%
The Koenig & Bauer group commenced on a high note in 2017, the year in which it celebrates its 200th anniversary, with a 20.7% increase in order intake to €321.5m. At €259.1m, group revenue remained at the previous year’s level, while order backlog widened by 6.4% to €619.9m. EBIT came to €5m, substantially exceeding the previous year’s figure of €2.1m. The group net profit of €4.7m (2016: €1.6m) is equivalent to earnings per share of €0.30 (2016: €0.11).
“The clear focus on the growth markets of packaging, industrial and digital printing as well as the group-wide service initiative launched at the beginning of 2016 are increasingly paying off. We were able to widen the share of service business in group revenue from 24% in the previous year to 26% in the first quarter of 2017,” explained CFO Dr Mathias Dähn. “We also made good headway in the packaging markets. Our youngest subsidiary KBA-Iberica Die Cutters, which specialises in flatbed die-cutters, posted growth in order intake, revenue and EBIT,” said CEO Claus Bolza-Schünemann. “At the beginning of May, we presented two product innovations in our packaging printing business with a high-performance printing solution for two-part beverage cans, a market which had previously not been addressed, and the world’s first digital printing press for migration-free metal decorating.”
Double-digit percentage growth in order intake in all three segments
In the Sheetfed segment, more service business and a substantial increase in orders for medium-format presses caused order intake to rise by 12% to €152m. At €150m, revenue fell 3% short of the previous year’s figure of €154.6m. In spite of better margins, EBIT of €4.6m was slightly below the previous year’s figure of €5.7m due to the lower revenue as well as development expenses for new products.
The expanding flexo packaging activities have been assigned to the Digital & Web segment since the beginning of the year. The systems for flexible packaging, which is a market of the future, are also web printing presses. With order intake up 18.5% to €57.7m and revenue declining slightly to €30.4m, the order backlog rose from €95.5m to €103.5m. The optimisation of KBA-Flexotecnica (–€1.8m), high R&D expenses and the revenue shortfall left traces on the segment earnings of –€2.3m (2016: –€2.6m).
More orders in security printing and glass decorating caused new business in the Special segment to rise by 25.3% to €125.7m. Ahead of the METPACK trade exhibition at the beginning of May, metal decorating orders fell short of the good previous year as expected. Revenue rose by 2.6% to €87.8m (2016: €85.6m). Segment profit increased to €4.6m, up from €1m in the first quarter of 2016.
Solid balance sheet and financial profile
Higher inventories for the planned revenue growth over the next few quarters as well as increased receivables resulting from an accumulation of deliveries shortly before the end of the quarter exerted pressure on the cash flow from operating activities of –€14.9m. The free cash flow of –€44.4m was additionally burdened by the first payment instalment of €21.3m for the external funding of part of the pension provisions. With its funds of €159.5m, securities of €21.5m that can be liquidated at short notice as well as the high cash and guarantee facilities, Koenig & Bauer has a stable funding base. The equity ratio rose slightly relative to the increased balance sheet total to 31.3% (end of 2016: 31.1%).
The group workforce increased by 111 over the previous year to 5,327 employees as of 31 March. In addition to specific recruiting in the expanding service segment and for new applications for the packaging and digital printing markets, 67 employees joined the group with the acquisition of KBA-Iberica Die Cutters.
Guidance for 2017
The management board expects group revenue to grow more dynamically over the further course of the year, leaving a positive effect on earnings. In the absence of any material deterioration in the underlying economic and political conditions impacting international business, group management expects to achieve organic growth to up to €1.25bn in group revenue and an EBIT margin of around 6% in 2017.
- KBA LED-UV Symposium underlines the leading role of KBA-Sheetfed in the field of LED-UV
- Enthusiastic users report on new business models, opportunities for differentiation and marketing strategies
- Live demos with LED-UV applications for commercial print and packaging
- Premiere: Industrial production with autonomous printing thanks to ErgoTronic AutoRun on a KBA Rapida 106 perfector
- Premiere: Innovative rotary die-cutter KBA Rapida RDC 106 for the first time with automatic stripping for efficient post-production in commercial and packaging applications
On 25th and 26th April, almost 300 existing and prospective users of the still relatively new LED-UV technology met at KBA-Sheetfed in Radebeul to pick up first-hand information on the current state of development. Alongside printers from 21 different countries, numerous representatives of the supplier industry were also present.
KBA-Sheetfed is one of the international technology leaders in the field of LED-UV. The first Rapida 106 with LED dryers went into production in mid-2014. Further milestones included the first medium-format perfector for 4-over-4 production with LED-UV at the end of 2014 and the first Rapida large format installation in 2015. In the meantime, some 50 half-, medium- and large-format Rapidas with LED drying are in use around the world. The majority of these installations can be found in Germany, Japan and France. But in Great Britain, Austria, Belgium, Italy, Poland, the USA and other countries, too, Rapidas with LED-UV facilities are proving increasingly popular, especially among commercial printers. Alongside classic five- and six-colour coater presses, numerous eight-colour perfectors have also been equipped with this future-oriented drying technology.
Process benefits speak for themselves
Enthusiastic KBA users have already discovered the benefits of LED-UV both for their own companies and for their print customers. Environmental friendliness and short delivery times are just two of many. Further important aspects include:
- 50 per cent energy savings compared to HR-UV or IR/hot-air drying for coating applications; further savings potential can be realised through job-specific matching of the active dryer format in both the length and width directions
- Up to 20 per cent less waste through the avoiding of scratches and set-off
- Fewer quality complaints due to drying effects or colour changes which only become visible later in the overall production process
- Up to 4 per cent paper savings
- 10 to 20 per cent higher production speeds in perfecting mode
- Faster job turnaround as the sheets can passed on immediately for further processing
- Lower rejection rates thanks to the reduced risk of fold cracking in the printed image
- Powder and protective coatings are no longer necessary
- Fewer problems and shorter cleaning times in downstream finishing
There are nevertheless critical voices to be heard in the branch.
Objections such as
- higher investment outlay for the dryers,
- higher ink costs and
- poorer de-inking of the printed products in later recycling
are often discussed. One important objective of the symposium at KBA-Sheetfed was thus to demonstrate the potential of the technology, to present current and expected developments and improvements in dialogue with the supplier industry, and to relieve the anxieties and reservations which naturally accompany any new technology.
Panel discussions with users and suppliers
Three panel discussion sessions were moderated by Klaus-Peter Nicolay as an independent print expert, branch analyst and publisher of the magazine Druckmarkt.
The first session with specialists from KBA-Sheetfed and further suppliers addressed the available system technology. Reports on practical experience, design solutions, handling recommendations and service topics were brought together under the headline “What does the LED-UV technology offer for a modern print company”.
Tailored consumables packages were the topic of a second round of discussions with representatives from Toyo, Actega, Scheufelen, Papyrus, StoraEnso and Igepa. Alongside recent further developments in inks and coatings, the manufacturers spoke about standardised measuring and analysis methods, health and consumer protection, migration and food contact compliance, as well as the dimensional stability and de-inking properties of substrates. According to Dr. Wolfgang Rauh, head of department for materials and environmental protection at FOGRA, the success of de-inking seems to be dependent on the particular combination of ink and paper. In case of doubt, therefore, it is always advisable to consult with the ink and paper suppliers concerned.
The third module was reserved for the users: Ingo Klotz from Druckerei Joh. Walch (Augsburg/Germany), Jürgen Ostendorf from Hofmann Druck (Nürnberg/Germany), Patrick Leus from Albe de Coker (Antwerp, Belgium) and Jonas Hoffmann from FarbWerk (Detmold/Germany) described the role played by the LED-UV technology in their business concepts. They also compared the ROI of LED-UV to that of conventional alternatives, and provided information on the attainable quality standards and energy efficiency when using the technology. One of the aspects mentioned was the extended colour space, which often spares the need to print spot colours. Significantly higher densities are achieved and the print quality on uncoated papers comes close to that otherwise associated with coated stocks. As a result, new customers can be targeted in the premium quality segment. At the same time, new marketing strategies and approaches are required. LED-UV printing, however, is able to serve as a strong regional USP, enabling users to stand out above their competitors. Many of the participants confirmed that the LED-UV technology had opened to door to new markets.
Print demonstrations confirm the experience of users
A series of print demonstrations confirmed the reported user experience. During the production on a Rapida 75 PRO and two Rapida 106 presses, the symposium guests were able to monitor energy consumption in real time via VisuEnergy.
On the five-colour Rapida 75 PRO coater press, the focus was placed on production on uncoated papers with full ink coverage. It was also shown how the jobs could be passed on for immediate finishing on a Perfecta 132 TS high-speed cutter.
The production of inmould and self-adhesive labels, with and without cold foil, was presented on a six-colour Rapida 106 with coater tower. After the job with cold foil transfer, the press was converted for production with an opaque white primer. The final job was a cigarette pack forme on metallised card. All three images illustrated how LED-UV is gaining an every greater foothold also in packaging printing.
KBA then presented an absolute world first, namely LED-UV drying in conjunction with autonomous printing on an eight-colour Rapida 106 with an additional coater. “ErgoTronic AutoRun” enables printing and makeready processes to run without manual intervention in accordance with a predefined job list. The operator must only ensure that the required substrates, plates and other consumables are available. The cover and six sections of the recently published customer magazine KBA Report were produced in ultra-short runs on the makeready world champion Rapida 106. While doing so, the Rapida live app was used by the operator to maintain information on material and batch assignments.
As a further highlight, KBA-Sheetfed demonstrated the die-cutting of packaging on a Rapida RDC 106 rotary die-cutter: For the first time with automatic stripping, a world novelty in a rotary process. After a fast job changeover, production continued with the kiss-cutting of self-adhesive labels. Job changeovers on the Rapida RDC 106 are significantly faster than on a flat-bed die-cutter – a further plus for the rotary die-cutter for corresponding applications.
KBA-MetalPrint and KBA-Digital & Web present their jointly developed new printing system CS MetalCan at METPACK
The know-how which has been accumulated over many years of practical implementation is in future to benefit also the metal packaging branch. At the METPACK 2017 trade show in Essen (Hall 3, Stand B 39), Stuttgart-based KBA-MetalPrint GmbH is presenting the CS MetalCan, a new printing system specifically for mass beverage can production, which was engineered together with fellow subsidiary KBA-Digital & Web Solutions in Würzburg and is now to be marketed under the new label CanSolutions. With its 10 keyless inking units for an indirect letterset process, automatic plate and blanket changers and many further innovations, the CS MetalCan is set to redefine the standards in beverage can decorating.
New field of application in high-speed production
The CS MetalCan further expands the portfolio of printing solutions offered to the metal decorating branch by KBA-MetalPrint. In combination with the drying systems CS PinOven and CS BeltOven, KBA-MetalPrint now offers complete printing solutions for the 2-piece market segment, complementing its already strong standing in the production of 3-piece cans.
The keyless inking units of the CS MetalCan have been specially adapted to the demands and production conditions of beverage can decorating. High-performance motors are the basis for a maximum rated speed of 2,500 cpm.
New standards for makeready processes
Analyses of beverage can production have identified the decorating process as the bottleneck in integrated line production. Long job changeover times constantly result in interruptions for the entire line. Through the automation of plate and blanket changing, job changeovers are faster than ever before, and line stoppages can be avoided. Each printing unit is provided with its own automatic plate changer, enabling plates to be changed parallel to each other in less than one minute. Furthermore, the 12 blankets on the central blanket wheel can also be changed simultaneously. This enables the operator to concentrate on the essential quality-related aspects of the makeready process.
Benefits for users and brand owners
In addition to faster job changes, the increased level of automation of the CS MetalCan translates into significantly improved safety for the operator. Where manual tasks used to be necessary inside the machine, the operator can now simply select intuitive commands via the 24-inch touchscreen display.
The unique number of 10 inking units opens up a whole new spectrum of options for brand owners, answering the modern trend towards increasingly colourful and more complex can designs.
Robust growth of the beverage can market
The volume of the beverage can market is estimated to be around 320 billion units per year (2015), with a healthy CAGR of approx. 3%. In mature markets like the USA, per capita consumption lies between 300 and 350 cans per year. Germany is a very small market due to the deposit legislation which applies to beverage cans, but is nevertheless displaying significant growth in the meantime.
With the new CS MetalCan, KBA-MetalPrint offers an outstanding solution for the highly demanding process of beverage can decorating. With this new development, the KBA Group is continuing its successful strategy of portfolio expansion to serve the growing packaging market.
Benefits of the CS MetalCan at a glance:
- Significantly faster makeready processes
- Improved safety for the operator
- Higher line output
- Enhanced image quality and more colours in a single machine
- Significantly higher ink transfer stability over the production run
- Reduced spoilage during job changes and in case of line stoppages.
The four-colour Rapida 75 PRO with inline coater went into operation in Grevenbroich at the beginning of 2017. Managing director Marc Abels had spent most of the previous year pondering over an investment in a new press in B2 format. Quotations were requested, tests were conducted, and in the end the decision came down in favour of KBA.
“The decision was clinched not least by the very professional impression made by Steuber and KBA over the whole consultation phase,” says 34‑year‑old Marc Abels, who runs the company together with his sister Christina Müller-Abels. The initial contact to Mönchengladbach system house Steuber was the outcome of an “irresistible” offer made to the Abels at last year’s drupa: The Hansa team was not only able to inspect the Rapida 75 PRO at close quarters on the KBA stand, but also invited to come back to test the press for themselves once the exhibition closed its doors. The printers gladly travelled over from nearby Grevenbroich – with demands and expectations which Marc Abels himself admits were “almost immorally high”. The half-format press nevertheless countered flawlessly. Abels: “The presentation, the demonstration and also the print testing functioned better than in our wildest dreams.” That is some compliment, as the Hansa director is not one to accept even the slightest compromise when it comes to quality.
Workflow to round off the package
In addition to the new press, Hansa also needed replacement for its workflow – not least due to the lack of CIP 3 connectivity. As Steuber is furthermore an Agfa service partner, however, an Apogee workflow could be set up on site for test purposes just two days after the drupa print tests. The deal was done. “With that kind of response in the middle of drupa – at that moment, at the latest, I knew that the partnership would function really well,” says Marc Abels. The workflow was installed in Grevenbroich in the summer, followed by the Rapida press in December 2016. After detailed instruction from both KBA and Steuber, there are now up to three printers working on the press. The first summary after three months: “The great advantage compared to our previous press is the double-size impression cylinders. We can print heavier sheets, and they also run more smoothly. Operation with TouchTronic is simple, and the quality is high.” Numerous inline finishing solutions, cutting-edge dryer systems and the compact footprint are further significant plus points.
To 100 per cent with the Rapida 75 PRO
One thing which has especially convinced the experienced Hansa printers is the high quality: “With the Rapida, you can achieve a 100 per cent result,” says Marc Abels. “The familiarisation period is perhaps a little longer, but we are now achieving the last five per cent which used to be beyond our reach.” With the new KBA and with further offset and digital presses, the company sees itself ideally equipped to handle a broad spectrum of jobs. According to Marc Abels, the offset and digital processes complement each well, allowing adaptation to the budget and requirements of a given project. Either way, he has no doubts about the future of print. More and more customers attach importance to “tangible” high-class products. There is a clear trend back to individual service and quality. And those are both guiding principles for the company, which prints a wide range of products from stationery via brochures to mailings for customers all over the country.
Steuber as the hub
Short distances, customer proximity and flexibility – that has been the philosophy ever since grandfather Jakob Abels founded Hansa in 1955. The company has operated from its premises on Grabenstrasse since 1962. Marc Abels and his sister took over the reins as the third generation in 2014. In the same way that they are themselves available for their customers at any time, they appreciate the personal commitment and professionalism of their business partners: “Steuber is the hub for various pre-press, print and finishing systems. If I need to call, I am not connected to a hotline in some other country, but instead speak to someone local who knows exactly what I am talking about. And I can be sure to receive a fast and uncomplicated solution.”