Large-Format Sheetfed Presses -- Bigger Gets Better
Gaining efficiencies, particularly through the power of perfecting, were among the hot topics during PRINT 05 in Chicago. No one needed to tell KBA North America that large-format printing is the rage in sheetfed circles; its sales for the past year exploded by 42 percent, primarily due to its successful efforts in large-format press sales. The company has sold in excess of 700 large-format presses worldwide since 1995, notes Michael Iburg, product specialist for KBA.
One thing that has allowed KBA to differentiate itself, according to Iburg, is its modern control console technology. Advantages include: optional integration into a digital workflow; comprehensive automation of functions such as plate and pile changing or non-stop pile logistics; online densitometry and spectrophotometry quality control; and automatic presetting for press components and auxiliary systems.
With printers churning out both paper and board stock on models ranging from the 51˝ Rapida 130 to the 81˝ Rapida 205, Iburg notes that KBA presses can switch from 40-lb. paper to 64-pt. board with pushbutton control in a matter of seconds—a two-man operation taking upwards of 30 minutes to accomplish with other machines, he contends.
"Plus, our large and super-large format models produce the same high quality generated on a 40˝ press, but give the printer twice the productivity as one 40˝ press," he says. "The Rapida 142 outputs two 40˝ sheets at a time and the Rapida 205 outputs four 40˝ sheets at a time."
Heidelberg USA, which garnered much attention with its Speedmaster XL 105, has also witnessed customer demand for increased efficiencies. Additionally, the company has received much feedback for its long perfecting technology, which offers the fastest job throughput and turnaround time in all format classes, asserts Roland Krapp, vice president of sheetfed for Heidelberg USA.
"Also, the integration of specialty printing applications like UV and hybrid printing are, by far, more common today than just a few years ago," Krapp remarks. "In addition, custom-built configurations like the DuoPress—combination flexo and offset—on the Speedmaster CD 74 and CD 102 presses continue to contribute a significant share of orders to our overall sales."