Big KBA perfectors deliver that vital edge in high-volume commercial printing

Large-format 4/4 perfecting is a routine capability for KBA

(PresseBox) ( Würzburg, )
At the end of September, just a few days after acceptance tests for the 1,000th large-format Rapida to leave the production line (see press release of 1 October), Koenig & Bauer's Radebeul facility demonstrated the economical and technological benefits of 4/4 LF perfecting under the banner "More press - & that now!". The 90-odd print pros attending the event on behalf of European specialist printers of high-volume commercials, magazines and books saw evidence at first hand that, with KBA presses, 4 backing 4 in formats up to 7B (64in) is no distant dream but offers players in a fiercely contested marketplace proven technology and unique capabilities, enabling them to exploit new applications such as commercial and magazine production alongside conventional applications such as book printing. KBA is the only manufacturer of proven large-format perfector presses, and has been for many years.

Uniformly high quality with jackets

Following an opening speech by KBA's executive vice-president for sheetfed sales, Ralf Sammeck, head of sheetfed marketing and product management Jürgen Veil provided an update on new features in large-format perfectors and the benefits they deliver in terms of productivity and cost efficiency. These included jackets for the post-perfecting impression cylinders, which promote a superior print quality for the entire service life of the press, even with thicker layers of ink. New cylinder packing also helps reduce washing cycles. A reduction in the width and number of print-free corridors has effectively increased the printable area on a 1200 x 1620mm (47.24 x 63.77in) sheet by 10%.

Trimming makeready, enhancing efficiency

A single perfecting pass through an eight-colour Rapida 162 can be completed much faster than two passes through a four-colour straight press. If print jobs average 5,000 sheets, a perfector can produce 2,653 more four-backing-four jobs per year, or almost twice the number possible with a straight press. In that time the eight-colour perfector can pump out 28 million printed sheets, compared to the four-colour press's 15 million. The ensuing productivity gain cuts the payback period for the costlier eight-colour Rapida 162a press to little more than that for a four-colour version.

Innovation boosts productivity

KBA's new CleanTronic Synchro washing system allows the blanket and impression cylinders to be washed simultaneously. The result: a three-minute reduction in washing times. Automatic plate changing on the big Rapidas also delivers a time saving of up to three minutes per job change. This translates into a saving of several hundred hours per year, which can be used for additional jobs. Automatic positioning of the suction heads in the delivery from the console also increases net output. Any fine adjustments necessary can be made during press start-up. Manual adjustment on other makes of large-format press take as much as five minutes.

Stable quality with inline inspection and control

Proven measuring and control technology also fosters efficiency and quality. KBA's high-tech QualiTronic Professional system supports simultaneous inline control and sheet inspection. Both functions are available separately. According to Veil, with inline monitoring the absence of a second control proof alone can save several hundred thousand euros a year in paper costs. In addition to reducing the payback period this burnishes a printer's green credentials.

Job and substrate changes in under eight minutes...

Theory is only half the story, which is why KBA also demonstrated job changes and print runs on an eight-colour Rapida 162a perfector. Three jobs of 64 pages apiece were made ready and printed four backing four in quick succession. To the amazement of the print pundits present, five print-free corridors were adequate even on 80gsm (55lb book) paper, and high-quality prints were placed with absolute precision on the delivery pile. The press crew proved that, with the press running at a speed of 9,000sph in perfecting mode (13,000sph in straight mode), job changes could be completed in less than eight minutes - including a change of substrate from 115 (80lb book) to 80gsm paper.

...followed by the world makeready champion in B1

Following the four-backing-four production runs on the Rapida 162 similar jobs were printed on the high-tech Rapida 106, which features DriveTronic SPC dedicated drives for simultaneous plate changing. During the demonstration on the world makeready champion in medium format the focus was on inline control systems. The rapid response of QualiTronic Color Control could be watched on the big screen. QualiTronic sheet inspection software detected deliberate errors in the pile. Even though no demos were given of KBA's new Flying JobChange, it was clear to all those attending the event that large format is not the only technology where KBA is showing the way.
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