Litho sales grow with cutting-edge technology

The number of printers choosing a KBA Rapida for the first time when investing in a new litho press is growing fast. Cutting-edge technology and high productivity, fast make-ready and speeds of 20 000sph are the reasons often given. Many of the automation options offered for honing competitiveness, slashing turnaround time and making press crews’ life easier when handling fluctuating, diminishing print runs are unique to KBA – and now offered in all formats. DriveTronic SIS no-sidelay infeed for optimum substrate flexibility with no manual intervention, DriveTronic SPC (simultaneous plate changing) with dedicated plate-cylinder drives, and flying job changes on presses ranging from the new 530 x 750mm Rapida 76 through the 740 x 1060mm world make-ready champion, the Rapida 106, to the new 1060 x 1450mm Rapida 145 are just a few examples.

Increasingly, market uncertainty triggered by bankruptcies or persistent high losses among suppliers is prompting printers to minimise risks by favouring KBA as a manufacturer that represents stability. This is because KBA has weathered the economic and financial meltdown with no external subsidies or aid and is unique among the major press vendors in posting a pre- and post-tax profit for the past three years. An equity ratio of over 38 per cent also inspires confidence.

But while KBA has rationalised its operations on a major scale, the innovative technology and quality engineering of the Rapidas mean that it is no cut-price vendor. Even so, litho printers the world over seeking value for money are switching to KBA at an accelerating pace. Here are a few examples:

German print enterprise Franz Schoder Druck in Gersthofen, near Augsburg, took delivery in July of a KBA Rapida 106 five-colour coater press with extended delivery. The firm’s product portfolio spans flyers, bound-in inserts and brochures, magazines, journals, catalogues and supplements, and inline finished direct mail. The Rapida 106 sports just about every automation option offered, including DriveTronic SPC, QualiTronic colour control with Instrument Flight for inline colour measurement and grey-balance control, and CleanTronic Synchro for simultaneous washing cycles.

A six-colour Rapida 105 with coater, extended delivery and automatic plate changing recently shipped to RWF, a full-service print provider attached to an ad agency in Volders, Austria. Danish commercial printer Typographic in Nykøbing took delivery a few weeks ago of a Rapida 106 five-colour coater press with board-handling capability, automatic plate changing and no-sidelay infeed.

Two new KBA users in Estonia are Pajo in Sindi and Ilotrykk in Tallin. An eight-colour Rapida 106 perfector with lightweight capability and automatic plate changing recently went to Pajo, while Ilotrykk bought a Rapida 75 four-colour perfecting coater press for a special sheet size of 605 x 750mm. New KBA customer Westdale Press, a big UK commercial printer, placed an order at Drupa for a ten-colour Rapida 106 perfector with every new feature on the books and a perfecting output of 18 000sph.

KBA’s success among growth-oriented packaging printers is largely due to its outstanding image in this sector. With annual growth of 27 per cent, Parksons Packaging is one of the most successful packaging printers in India. The company recently took delivery of two plinth-mounted Rapida 105 presses, each with six inking units, a coater and automatic plate changers. One press is being installed in Chakan (near Pune, western India), the other up north in Rudrapur.

Three Rapida 105 coater presses – two for six colours and one for seven – will replace three medium-format presses from another German vendor at Shenzhen Ninestar in China. A six-colour Rapida 142 with two coaters went to Shanghai Zidan, another Chinese packaging printer.

To enhance capacity, flexibility and quality, new Brazilian customer Rosni Embalagens in São Paulo opted for a plinth-mounted Rapida 105 with six printing units and a coater plus board, plastic-printing and hybrid capabilities.

HSM Packaging Corporation will soon number among the phalanx of new users of large-format KBA presses in the USA. The company in Syracuse (NY) specialises in premium-quality packaging, with 85 per cent of its output earmarked for the food-processing and associated industries. An eight-colour Rapida 142 with additional drying and coating units is already on its way to this new customer.

Further companies in Germany, Bulgaria, Finland, China, Lebanon, Russia, France, Denmark, Italy and many other countries ordered KBA litho presses for the first time shortly before, during or after Drupa. Some are featured above, others will follow. One of the key factors cited by new customers is the satisfaction of existing KBA users.

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