KBA Focuses on Diversity in Print with Strong drupa Emphasis on Digital, Packaging
WURZBURG, Germany — June 1, 2016 — The clear focus on growth markets, such as digital, packaging and industrial functional printing, as well as innovative processes, such as UV LED printing, defined the Koenig & Bauer Group’s (KBA) trade show stand and press conference at drupa 2016. This follows the Group restructuring last year. Two announcements made a few days before the start of the trade fair underscore KBA’s goals to systematically expand its already strong position in the diverse packaging market: KBA plans to takeover Spanish diecutter manufacturer Iberica AG S.A. from the Cerutti Group in Italy and KBA-Sheetfed has joined forces with Xerox Corp. in America to develop a digital B1 sheetfed press, the KBA VariJET 106 Powered by Xerox, for folding carton printing.
Alongside the partnership of KBA-Digital and Web in Würzburg with global print enterprise R.R. Donnelley for its own RotaJET series and with HP for the HP T1100S PageWide Web Press for the corrugated market, this is KBA’s third partnership with a large American company in the promising digital print market. The world’s oldest press manufacturer is not shy about working with big names in the field of digital printing. KBA trusts in its own expertise and experience in solving challenging print tasks. After all, the largest digital presses currently on the global market for decor and corrugated printing are being built by KBA in Würzburg.
Flexo, Offset, Inkjet and Laser Printing on 3,000 sq. m.
In the run-up to drupa, KBA has already released details on what is exhibited on its 3,000 sq. m. stand in its usual place in hall 16 (see press release from April 21, 2015). The exhibits showcased include four Rapida sheetfed offset presses from half to large format, the Rapida 106 RDC rotary diecutter, the re-designed high-volume digital RotaJET L series in a flexible modular design, the NEO XD LR web press from KBA-Flexotecnica suited to all common flexo processes in flexible packaging printing, a laser coding and separating system from KBA-Metronic and solutions relating to service, workflow and KBA 4.0. At the press conference on the first day of the show KBA president and CEO Claus Bolza-Schünemann referred to the activities of subsidiaries KBA-MetalPrint and KBA-Kammann in packaging segments metal and glass container direct decoration which are represented on the stand by print samples.
Bolza-Schünemann adds, “Parallel to rising prosperity, stricter hygiene regulations and online trading, with an average growth rate of 4% p.a. the global packaging market is growing faster than the world’s population and the global national product. According to a study by PIRA, flexible packaging (+4.4%), corrugated (+4.3%), rigid plastics (+3.8%), glass (+3.3%) and metal (+2.5%) are growing the fastest. KBA companies are active in all six packaging markets and are even leading in folding carton printing, glass and metal decoration. The alliances with HP and Xerox fit to our strategy.”
Growth Through Entry in Postpress and Further Packaging Markets
KBA sees growth prospects in all packaging segments. The company aims to significantly expand its market share especially in flexible packaging printing, a field it entered only two and a half years ago. KBA sees opportunities with glass decoration and coding technology mainly in China and the Far East, the main growth market for all types of packaging. Ralf Sammeck, CEO of KBA-Sheetfed Solutions, expects synergy effects in the folding carton market from the entry into postpress given the largely identical customer base. The press manufacturer with a broad product portfolio announced its return to the sheetfed flexo market for corrugated printing in which KBA was active over 10 years ago with the Corrugraph previously built at its U.S. plant.
Bolza-Schünemann says, “KBA has the know-how and users of the first Corrugraph series are extremely satisfied with their presses. We see good prospects to return successfully to this large market with a new generation of Corrugraph flexo presses.”
Ralf Sammeck announced the comprehensive management of the global sales network for all Group units, targeted expansion in Asia, Latin America and Africa, increased use of the service potential of the installed machine base and the expansion of the service spectrum as part of KBA 4.0.
High-volume Digital Print for a Raft of Markets in Sheetfed and Web
Parallel investments in analog and digital print solutions and addressing established and new markets with both processes go hand-in-hand for KBA. This is reflected by its stand at drupa with new and advanced presses from both worlds, including the impressive eight-color Rapida 106 with coater in UV LED printing and the Rapida 145 with double-pile delivery, the trade show’s largest and most high-performance press at over 32m long and with speeds of up to 18,000 sph. Previous discussions about the strengths and weaknesses of analogue and digital technologies are now in the past. In the end the deciding factors in terms of the most suitable process are the business model, job structure, quality and finishing requirements, and economy in particular. Ralf Sammeck expects folding carton printing to continue to be dominated by the proven sheetfed offset process in the years to come. However, folding carton printers are looking for a suitable digital addition for very short runs, test packaging, stronger regional or seasonal differentiation, Print on Demand with the goal of reducing storage costs or more individual packaging.
KBA VariJET 106 Powered by Xerox: Made for Folding Carton Printers
KBA and Xerox’s development of the KBA VariJET 106 Powered by Xerox presented was the result of in-depth talks with folding carton printers.
The results flowed into the press concept. Here are some details:
- Flexibly configurable with up to seven colors for individual demands
- Print speed in B1 format of up to 4,500sph with a print resolution of 1,440 dpi
- Substrates 0.2 to 0.6mm with a 40˝ transport belt for precise sheet travel
- Before inkjet: Corona, primer + drying, opaque white, offset units and cold foil possible
- After inkjet: coating/double coating, offset/screen units, grooving/perforating, diecutting possible
- Aqueous KBA inks for direct application on coated stock
- Short maintenance times through AutoHeadCleaning and fast inkjet head exchange
- Integration in existing offset workflows and KBA RemoteMaintenance
The KBA VariJET permits the combination of conventional printing and finishing technologies with digital inkjet printing in a tailor-made hybrid press. The concept of the press was presented at drupa via video in a cinema. After development is complete and the necessary tests have been carried out the digital sheetfed press will be unveiled to industry experts at an Open House in Radebeul together with further KBA digital printing solutions for other markets. The KBA VariJET 106 will be available for delivery in 2017.
KBA-Digital and Web: Realignment and Growth in Digital Printing
Christoph Müller, CEO of KBA-Digital and Web, reported on the successful alliance with HP in the digital corrugated printing market segment. The American technology group has ordered five HP T1100S with a gigantic web width of 2.8m for high-volume inkjet printing from KBA-Digital and Web. HP invited prospective customers to press demonstrations at the KBA headquarters in Würzburg parallel to drupa on June 2 and 7.
KBA-Digital and Web continues to build web offset presses for commercial and newspaper printing and again announced some orders from Mittelrhein-Verlag in Koblenz (Commander CT 6/2) and from BandK Offsetdruck in Ottersweier (commercial web C16) prior to the trade show from this shrunken market. KBA is still the market leader for newspaper presses in the mid and top performance classes. However, growth prospects can be seen predominantly in digital printing, in industrial markets new to KBA, such as decor printing, and in expanding services for own and third-party web presses. The latter are handled successfully by subsidiary PrintHouseService GmbH (PHS).
KBA RotaJET L: Individually Configurable for Many Digital Print Markets
The RotaJET VL series with web widths of up to 2.25m is implemented as a 4/0 press for industrial applications, such as decor printing. The laminate flooring on the KBA stand at drupa was produced by this press at Interprint in Arnsberg, which could be easily seen from the overprints. The new RotaJET L with web widths of 77 to 138cm in 4/4 configuration printing at the trade show for the first time appeals primarily to established digital print markets for books, mailings or publications, but it can also be implemented in other industrial markets as a 4/0 press. The consistent modular design permits 42 different configurations. And the press can also be retrofitted at a later date in terms of web width, color and output.
The RotaJET 77 4/0 press exhibited at drupa scored points with its new inkjet head technology, excellent print quality (up to 1,200 dpi native) on various materials, including coated offset stock. Robust and precise engineering, a high level of automation when it comes to paper supply and maintenance, maximum productivity with a web speed of up to 300m/min. and outstanding register through web lead over a central cylinder without the need for turner bars, make the KBA RotaJET a first-class product in high-volume web digital printing.
Pro Print drupa alliance with RBD and f:mp.
Together with Rheinisch-Bergische-Druckerei (RBD/Rheinische Post) and Fachverband Medienproduktioner e.V. (f:mp.) at drupa KBA pushed for more imagination when re-positioning print in a multimedia world. Christoph Müller pointed out that users of the waterless KBA Cortina (this includes the Rheinische Post) offset web press are especially creative when it comes to innovative print ideas for new target groups and KBA supports the industry with regard to creative print ideas. An example is the newspaper magazine CORTISSIMO from RBD published in various formats which is available on the KBA stand in hall 16 and on the f:mp. stand in hall 12 as a print product, as well as a successful linking of print and online with VR (Virtual Reality) presented as a 3D animation.