KBA Demonstrates Advances in Makeready, Energy Efficiency and Closed-Loop Color Control #Ipex

BIRMINGHAM, UK—05/19/10—Under the banner “KBA: Champions in Print,” Koenig & Bauer in hall 6 is strutting its stuff at this year’s Ipex with some dazzling exhibits that include the makeready world champion in B1, its cutting-edge Rapida 106; and the champion in energy efficiency, the B2 Rapida 75E (“E = Economy & Ecology”). The economic crisis notwithstanding, in the two years since Drupa 2008 KBA has been busy developing new automation modules for half-, medium- and large-format, with the main focus on simplifying and accelerating job changes, enhancing inline finishing and quality control, cutting the consumption of energy and materials and reducing manual input.

Innovative press technology remains core business
Speaking at KBA’s Ipex press conference, president and CEO Helge Hansen pointed to the challenges facing the press engineering industry in the wake of the economic crisis, and the need for players to adjust to a 25% smaller market in the medium term. KBA initiated the necessary material and personnel cutbacks in 2009 and has implemented them rigorously. As a result it has cut costs by more than €100m ($129m), maintained liquidity through its own resources, with no new bank loans, and posted a modest pre-tax profit in 2009. This is a claim no other leading press manufacturer can make. A painful consequence of the consolidation process is that by the end of 2010 the group workforce will have shrunk by more than a quarter from over 8,000 to some 6,000. At present there are around 6,500 employees. Hansen emphasised that KBA has the broadest product range in the industry and is well placed not only in major core markets such as sheetfed and web offset and newspaper presses, but also in diverse niche markets like security printing, which is less cyclical. “While innovative press technology will remain a core KBA activity, we are seeking an additional high-potential business line.” The group order intake in the first quarter was over 40% higher than twelve months earlier and remained brisk in April and May. Hansen mentioned a big contract from Express Newspapers in London for four Commander CT presses totalling 22 towers.

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