On 21 January at 3:25pm the sheet counter on a KBA Rapida 205 with the serial number 001 proudly clocked up its 100 millionth sheet at Ellerhold in Radebeul. This comes only three weeks before the press’ tenth birthday. However, 100m sheets in ten years is nothing new in sheetfed offset. Some packaging printers hit this mark after just two years. The Rapida 205 in giant format (151 x 205cm/54.4 x 80.7in) at Ellerhold predominantly prints large posters with occasional print runs of only 100 copies. More time is spent on makeready than on printing with such small jobs.
The first Rapida 205 to roll off the assembly line was delivered to Ellerhold where it has completed 7,720 shifts in total and produces nearly 2,000 jobs every year with a maximum output of 9,000sph. In the last ten years it has printed an area measuring 310km² roughly as big as the German city of Munich. Two Rapida 205s are in action at the Ellerhold poster factory in Radebeul. The oldest is a four-colour press with coater and the youngest is a five-colour version with hybrid coating capabilities. Two further four-colour Rapida 205s with coaters have been installed in the firm’s plants in Witten and Karow, near Wismar, as well as a four-colour Rapida 185 with coater in Zirndorf. Ellerhold is the world’s biggest KBA jumbo press user with a total of five Rapida 205s.
Ellerhold board member Klaus Gerlach is proud of his sheetfed offset giants from KBA, especially his ten-year-old Rapida 205. Gerlach : “Over the past ten years this press has run very stably and without any substantial downtimes. Following a scheduled revision a few weeks ago we plan on printing with this press well into the future. It prints in just a high quality as it did when it was first installed.”
In the past ten years KBA has delivered some 60 Rapida 185/205 presses to 20 countries all over the world, an average of one every two months. For many years now poster printers have not been the only ones who think big as the super jumbos are just as likely to be found in packaging and commercial print firms. In Saudi Arabia a seven-colour Rapida 185 with twin coaters, a press with an impressive 11 printing and finishing units, is the longest large-format installation to date.