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KBA Continues its Long-Time Position as World Leader in Large-Format Presses

Apr 29, 2010 12:00 AM


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KBA (Dallas, Texas) has installed in the past two years over 20 large-format presses in North America and continues to expand and solidify its long-time market lead in the large format segment with a bevy of large, respected, high-profile packaging and commercial customer installations throughout North America. Printers cite KBA’s continual innovations, leading-edge technology, reliability, and customer training, parts, and service support as their reasons to choose KBA.

"KBA has and continues to maintain a high-paced lead over the competition in terms of orders received and machines placed into production,” says Mark Hischar, president and CEO of KBA North America. “This dominating lead comes from over 90 years of large format experience and gives our customers very high confidence when making their investment decision to partner with KBA.

“Our large-format press line runs the gamut from the 51-inch Rapida 130 and the Rapida 142 56-inch to the 64-inch Rapida 162a and the Rapida 185 73-inch and the Rapida 205 81-inch models. They are used for just about every application, such as printing books, magazines, advertising, movie, packaging and posters. Last fall, we assembled and installed the 1,000th large-format press of a Rapida 162 large format press for a German customer and we continue to attract many more new installations.”

Hischar emphasizes that KBA is still the only press manufacturer in the market to deliver large-format perfector presses in its product line, the only manufacturer to be able to build and to have installed the largest large-format press in the U.S., and the only manufacturer to have the widest breadth of large format models available that can print on a vast assortment of substrates, such as plastic, vinyl, and styrene.

Since its DRUPA 1995 launch of the KBA large-format Rapida boasting speeds of up to 15,000 sheets per hour and a raft of automation levels on par with 40-inch presses, KBA has generated brisk demand and captured a global market share of 60% and has established KBA as the leader in large-format production, the company reports. The most notable names in the packaging printing industry have been drawn to KBA’s large format press line and its proven technology. These leaders in their field are said to be benefitting from shorter makeready times, enhanced production speeds, and improved print quality and reliability on their KBA presses.

When Hammer Packaging installed a new KBA Rapida 162 64-inch eight-color sheetfed press plus coater and additional key accessories such as a roll-to-sheet feeder, KBA Densitronic Professional color control system, and lightweight paper package in early 2010, this premier package printing company headquartered in Rochester, NY, became the only packaging printer in North America with this type of press configuration.

Hammer CEO and president Jim Hammer said that he chose a KBA large format press because the company is “well-attuned to the market and our relationship has been very good since we purchased our first large-format press from them in 2005.”

Boehmer Box, (Kitchener, Ontario, Canada) a specialist in the offset printing of paperboard packaging, began production on its new Rapida 142 56-inch six-color sheetfed press with coating this spring, which also includes KBA’s unique board package and is UV-prepped.

“KBA is the leader in presses for the packaging market,” says Mark Caines, president and chief operating officer of Boehmer Box. “Reliability and leadership were important when we made our choice.”

Malnove, Inc., the largest independent folding-carton manufacturer in North America, found that its new KBA Rapida 142 56-inch seven-color press provided all of the keys to success it needed to exceed its customer demands, provide faster speed to market, deliver high quality, consistent color, and repeatability. The new press was installed at Malnove’s Clearfield, Utah, facility.

“Our goal in purchasing the new press was to update our print capabilities and increase our capacity,” says Steve Mayhan, vice president of corporate manufacturing for Malnove. “In both areas we have succeeded with our new KBA Rapida 142 56-inch press. Having this new press, we’re now providing faster turnaround, increased speed-to-market, and printing at a higher quality level than before. The KBA Densitronic S spectrophotometer color control system on press allows us to easily repeat our customer jobs thus allowing them to shorten their run lengths, while keeping their inventories low and allowing them to change their graphics as often as they wish. The KBA Logotronic Management System gives us the tools to improve our makeready and slash waste.”

Superior Lithographics, a premier supplier of high quality litho labels, top sheets, and folding cartons in southern California, found a responsive supplier in KBA when it installed a fully-automated KBA Rapida 162a 64-inch six-color sheetfed press with UV coating.

“Our entire firm is built around giving our customers an incredibly fast response to their printing needs,” explains Doug Rawson, Superior Lithographics’ CEO and President. “We feel that KBA is aligned with that same mind set. We needed a tailor-made press with all the latest technological advances to rapidly produce high-quality large-format work. KBA shares our vision of being super-responsive and has delivered every step of the way.”

Huston Patterson Corp. (Decatur, IL) gave its customers peace-of-mind when it took delivery of a Rapida 142 56-inch six-color aqueous coating press.

“This press gives our clients the comfort level of having redundant capabilities within our stable of equipment,” says Huston Patterson President/CEO Thomas W. Kowa. “Clients want reassurance that we will be able to service their needs no matter what.”

Huston Patterson’s 110,000-square-foot headquarters facility is equipped with a KBA Rapida 142 56-inch six-color aqueous coating press, a KBA Rapida 162a seven-color press with UV and aqueous coating ability, and a Rapida 162a six-color press with aqueous coater. Both Rapida 162a presses are equipped with KBA’s Densitronic S closed-loop color control system, KBA’s Logotronic Management system, and ACR Control.

Accurate Box Company Inc., a leading high-graphics corrugated box manufacturer specializing in custom full color litho-laminated packaging, improved its automation and productivity with a new KBA Rapida 162 64-inch seven-color sheetfed printing press.

“Our niche is the production of exceptional high graphics corrugated packaging for nationally-recognized brands such as Kellogg’s and Pepsico,” says Lisa Hirsh, president and CEO of the Paterson, NJ firm. “This type of packaging has become more brilliant and requires higher color reproduction due to the growth of the big box retailers like Costco and Sam’s Club. Our job is to produce the logos and graphics with the highest quality on a strong corrugated material that will withstand shipping, storage, and display, and entice customers to purchase the products.”

Brisk demand, largest market share

Commercial printers are also seeing the value and productivity of installing KBA large format presses. KBA continues to expand its leadership as the large-format press manufacturer by partnering with a number of high-profile North American printers.

For example, management at All Out Inc. (Woodridge, IL) a general commercial printer, saw the value in large-format press sizes to establish a brand-new firm. JB Capuano, president, purchased two five-color 56´´ KBA Rapida 142 presses with coaters and an interdeck UV curing system.

“The large-format presses offer numerous advantages and the ability to serve several different and new markets, says Capuano. “Not only can we print a larger image, but we can also compete with the short-run web market while still being able to efficiently compete in the 40´´ market. We would never have started a printing company with the limitations of a 40´´ sheet. The 40´´ market is a killing field; it's a commodity market with too many players, especially in the Chicago area. The larger-format presses provided us entry to a broader market place, including point-of-purchase, labels, high-end cosmetic packaging, in-store signage and unique substrates.” Having UV capabilities, All Out can print on foils, styrene, polypropylene, biodegradable plastics and other substrates as well as print lenticular jobs.

Late last fall, AVID Ink (Corona, CA) a world-leading dye sublimation printer, dramatically increased its production throughput and high-quality artwork with the addition of its new KBA Rapida 162 64-inch five-color sheetfed press plus coater at AVID Ink’s newly-built 110,000 sq ft facility.

“By investing in the new highly-automated KBA Rapida 162 64-inch sheetfed press, we’ve increased our quality and productivity by 200% over our older press and reduced our make-ready by 75%,” commented Rob Davis, CEO and founder of AVID Ink. “This new press is making a huge difference in our business and is putting us even further ahead of our competitors.”

“Largest press in the world:” the KBA 205 81-inch

KBA continues to dominate the large-format press market by producing the largest presses in the world, the company reports. Its Rapida 205 81-inch sheetfed pres features a maximum sheet size of 59.5" x 81" running at a speed of 9,000 sheets per hour (sph). Customers are said to be attracted to KBA’s economic and production saving technology, such as a fully-automatic plate changer with lifting facility for loading and unloading of the plate holders on the tower guards, automatic blanket and impression cylinder washing systems, an in-line anilox coating system and IR, UV, or hybrid drying options. The ACR automatic camera register control system provides a simple method for operators to obtain fast color registration. The ACR uses a camera, an integrated PC and corresponding software. The camera is used to determine any register differences, and calculated correction values are then transmitted to the lateral, circumferential and diagonal register systems on the individual printing units.

National Posters, Inc, the flagship firm of the National print group, headquartered in Chattanooga, holds the edge over its competition by operating what is said to be the world’s largest litho press in North America weighing in at almost 600,000 lbs.: the KBA Rapida 205 seven-color 81-inch plus coater. George Diamantis, chairman of National Print Group, says, “Our new KBA allows us to present our customers with more print opportunities and options than ever before.”
Not one but two KBA Rapida 205 81-inch presses are operating side-by-side at Edison Litho & Printing, one of the largest large-format litho printers in the Northeast.

“Being able to print on different substrates on the Rapida 205 81-inch press sets us apart,” says George Gross, Edison’s president. “The short-run plastic styrene market is growing and we’ve got the press to produce these jobs. Customers like the fact that the substrate produces a beautiful application display that is pliable and holds up well in a variety of conditions, such as moisture and humidity, yet will not curl. We’re also producing point-of-purchase signage, packaging displays, huge posters, and outdoor signage materials, such as opalene with backlit and Flexcon’s Busmark self-adhesive vinyl. All of these specialized jobs give us higher margins and a double-digit increase in our profits.”

The Garvey Group, a network of advertising, marketing, print production, support, and fulfillment divisions located in the Midwest, found that two is better than one when it added a second KBA Rapida 205 81-inch six-color sheetfed press at its Niles, Ill. facility. The second Rapida 205 is specially-configured with inline UV capabilities that provide both production and environmental bonuses.

“Over the years, our customers have become more familiar with the advantages of UV printing,” says Joe Kulis, chief operating officer for The Garvey Group. “Now, we’re able to print those 81-inch jobs inline with UV inks and coatings at a high rate of speed. We’re able to offer our customers the ability to print on a variety of synthetic substrates and/or produce sharp contrasts using UV techniques. Plus, the environmental aspects of UV printing were a consideration.  We are promoting our current UV systems as a way we can reduce the VOC’s that we emit during the printing and coating process.”

Still the only press manufacturer to offer large-format perfecting

Branch-Smith Printing (Fort Worth, TX) an award-winning family-owned printer of publications, catalogs, and books, is operating a 100-foot long KBA Rapida 130 51-inch eight-color four-over-four perfector press, the first of its kind in the US with a roll sheeter, the company reports.

Daniel Hanson, vice president and general manager of Branch-Smith, says, “Everything about the KBA press--its automation, intelligence, and engineering---is designed to run extremely well. The print quality is exceptional. We’ve found that the large format press holds ink and water balance better than any press we’ve ever owned. This had to be proven to me because we’ve only had one other press manufacturer for 24 years. This is our first KBA. But we are producing better quality off of our KBA press than the other press manufacturer.”

Furthermore, Branch-Smith is able to capture additional savings by utilizing its inline roll sheeter, which gives Branch-Smith the capability to cut its own stock using less costly rolls of paper stock rather than more expensive cut stock.  “The large format press size was important to us,” says Hanson. “It gives us the ability to print a high-end sheetfed product but due to the size we can run twice as many signature pages per sheet. Now we can print 32 pages instead of 16.”

KBA North America is a member of the KBA Group, a leading global supplier of sheetfed, webfed, and digital offset presses located in Dallas, Texas. KBA is dedicated to excellence in printing technology. The company’s greatest satisfaction comes from helping its customers succeed by building presses that enable their businesses to prosper. From engineering through production, KBA’s focus is on people, providing flexible technology, customized printing solutions, and personal service to help its partners differentiate themselves and be successful today and in the future.

See www.kba-usa.com<http://www.kba-usa.com/