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Print in all its diversity has made a strong comeback

Two announcements made a few days before the start of the trade fair underscore KBA’s goals to systematically expand its position in the 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 Corporation 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 & 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 digital print market.

Claus Bolza-Schünemann announced a decidedly positive closing verdict on this year’s trade show. “Print in all its diversity has made a strong comeback following structural shifts over the past eight years. You could feel it in the halls that most companies had done their homework and adapted to new market realities. We were very positively surprised by the quantity, quality and internationality of the visitors. Many came really well prepared and with clear requirements which made consulting easier. I agree with the statements of some industry colleagues who say this was ‘the best drupa since 2000.”

Partnership with Xerox to target folding carton market

KBA Sheetfed Solutions, a business unit of KBA, and Xerox have announced a partnership to develop an industrial digital sheetfed press for the folding carton market. The KBA VariJET 106 Powered by Xerox integrates Xerox Impika inkjet technology into the KBA Rapida 106 press platform. The press, in the final stages of development, will print 4,500 B1 750 x 1060 mm (29.5 x 41.7 inches) sheets per hour. Its modular concept enables the combination of digital inkjet printing with optional in-line capabilities such as coating, cold foil application, rotary die-cutting, creasing and perforating.  The machine will be available to customers beginning in 2017.

Predictive maintenance & Service

Together with SAP, KBA Digital & Web has developed the application software ‘Predictive Maintenance & Service’ for its print customers. SAP delivers the software, and KBA delivers the data and its industry know-how. Predictive Maintenance (PM) is an advancement of traditional maintenance approaches and a key component of an Industry 4.0 or KBA 4.0 environment. Sensors which have been embedded in a raft of presses for over many years provide status data on a variety of press components. The goal is to recognise errors promptly based on indicative patterns to be able to initiate preventive measures before the error leads to press downtime. Press downtimes and costs for the user can be considerably reduced through Predictive Maintenance compared to periodical maintenance work.

Entry in postpress and expansion in 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 also does not rule out the return to the large 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. KBA has the know-how and users of the first Corrugraph series are extremely satisfied with their 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.

Realignment and growth in digital printing

Christoph Müller, CEO of KBA-Digital & 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 & Web.

KBA-Digital & Web continues to build web offset presses for commercial and newspaper printing. 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.

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