First Print heading for growth with fleet of Rapidas

Modern packaging print in the land of the Pharaohs

(PresseBox) ( Würzburg, )
When a company installs three large- and mediumformat sheetfed presses within one year, it is undeniably on course for success. Although founded only in 2008, packaging specialists First Print in Obour City near the Egyptian capital of Cairo have already provided admirable proof of the dynamic growth potential of the print industry in the land of the Pharaohs. A rapid succession of investments in 2009 and 2010 has set the company up with two largeformat Rapida 162a presses, one with five colours, the other with six, alongside a mediumformat sixcolour Rapida 105.Multimillion investment in a new print centre

Multimillion investment in a new print centre

First Print is a division of the Egyptian group First Co. For Industrial Development S.A.E and is today to be counted among the leading suppliers in the field of board and packaging products. The new highperformance presses from KBA are expected to advance the company's lead still further. Some €40 million have been invested in the new First Print plant which has, from the logistics point of view a perfect location, close to Cairo international airport and with direct links to the Cairo Ring Road.

Three storeys and a total area of 20,000m² are devoted to the modern installations for the print, cutting, punching and lamination departments, which are arranged in dedicated production centres with a digital workflow control. Around 500 employees have found attractive workplaces in the prestigious new building. Alongside First Print, the First Co. group comprises also the board and paper divisions First Corrugated and First Paper with a total area of 180,000m². Two further divisions - First Metal and First Service - are to be added later in 2010.

Philosophy: 'Deal with the top'

General director Louai Ali Abdel-Wahid is proud of the company's achievements and his hightech presses: "Our philosophy in dealing with both customers and machinery suppliers is to 'deal with the top'. We print medium to long runs for topflight customers covering the food, household, medical, pharmaceutical and cosmetics sectors. Our customer portfolio includes McDonalds, Procter & Gamble, Unilever, Cadbury, Disney products and Henkel. For that we need to be optimally equipped and organised in every aspect of our production operations. That is the only way to satisfy the high demands placed. We are certified to the ISO standards governing, not only quality and environmental management, but also occupational health and safety standards. It is worth mentioning that we went through McDonalds supplier Qualification program which is considered one of the toughest standards for primary packaging quality. Finally we spare no opportunity to convince our customers with even better solutions."

A sixmonth project phase with intensive market studies and numerous visits to Europe preceded First Print's final decisions on the machinery and equipment to be installed in the new print centre. "We wanted to establish the best possible technology base, so as to be ideally positioned for the needs of the domestic and export markets. Besides the Middle East region, we are also serving customers in Turkey, Tunisia, Africa and Europe. We are aiming to strengthen our market shares and hope to expand into further countries," Louai Ali Abdel-Wahid explains.

The decision in favour of KBA was unanimous. Says Louai Ali Abdel-Wahid: "We were not looking for the absolute cheapest, but rather for the technologically superior solution. KBA is the market leader in large formats, and also offers tailored solutions which define the benchmarks for mediumformat print in terms of quality, performance, makeready times, waste savings and simple handling. The presses stand out by way of their outstanding flexibility and reliability. On top of that, KBA has a very good network of local staff and service technicians, and can offer its customers the best possible support. The availability of 24/7 service is definitely a source of confident assurance."

Fully equipped for flexible production

The first Rapida 162a, which was delivered in March 2009, followed an initial sixcolour Rapida 105, then the second new largeformat press was put into operation in February 2010. Louai Ali Abdel-Wahid says: "The Rapidas are all configured with a raised foundation, doublelength delivery extensions, coating facilities, IR/hotair or IR/UV dryers, and nonstop pile changing for the feeder and delivery, as well as special accessories for corrugated and heavy board (Rapida 162a). Various automation modules, such as fully automatic plate changers, ErgoTronic ACR video register, DensiTronic Professional ink density control and the LogoTronic management system with CipLink software, ensure maximum productivity. The second Rapida 162a was also ordered with inking unit temperature control to permit waterless offset, and special roller coatings for lowalcohol printing."

Turnover to double in a year

Louai Ali Abdel-Wahid points out that all the presses took up production without any problems. The company currently operates a twoshift system, though plans are already in the pipeline to step up to three shifts in the coming year. Subsequently, the general director is looking forward to an increase in turnover to €40 million, compared to €20 million in 2010.

"Our future lies in the further expansion of our largeformat capacities. And with KBA, we have a strong and professional partner at our side, with all the knowhow and technical support we need, also for special solutions such as metalcoated substrates," says Louai Ali Abdel-Wahid contentedly.
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