Focus on compact Cortina and Commander CT

Innovative technology for the changing needs of media and labour markets

Vienna, (PresseBox) - The global spread of e-media and the emergence in many countries of free titles pose challenges to newspaper publishers, who are addressing them with a sleek online presence and diverse activities to promote reader loyalty. But newspapers themselves are in a state of transition on the back of demographic changes and a lack of interest among the young, the "Game Boy" generation. Bigger, full-colour pictures, less text, a magazine-like layout, new ad formats and options, localisation and greater reader influence on content and design are the outcome.

Compact: enhancing the appeal of press work

A mounting demand by media players for greater immediacy and cost efficiency, along with changes in the job expectations of young people and the swelling number of older workers in Germany and other countries are impacting on the design of production technology, which needs to be more productive, more flexible, more automated, less labour-intensive and less stressful, while delivering a better quality at a lower price. KBA’s solution is a new compact platform embracing the high-automation Cortina waterless press and Commander CT wet offset press. In the newspaper sector, where capacity is normally equated with sheer magnitude, this is inspiring a gradual shift in philosophy towards the concept of "small is beautiful". Not surprisingly the two presses, whose makeready times, print quality, production flexibility and, not least, job appeal are unparalleled in the global marketplace, were once again one of the central themes at IfraExpo in Vienna, and KBA anticipates further sales of these revolutionary presses in the immediate future.

At the fair a west German newspaper publishing house announced that it had recently reached an agreement with trade union ver.di on lower manning levels for the KBA Cortina, before even placing an order. The announcement reveals the dramatic reduction in operator workload that is possible with the Cortina’s waterless technology, standardised processes and advanced automation. This includes such time-consuming and often strenuous activities as constantly adjusting ink keys and dampening units at the console, mounting and dismounting plates on several levels – which on conventional presses entails a lot of walking and climbing stairs – and tiresome maintenance tasks (adjusting rollers, cleaning dampening nozzles, removing ink mist contamination at frequent intervals).

The fact that internationally renowned newspaper publishing houses like Le Figaro in Paris have opted for the innovative Cortina is also promoting a more widespread acceptance of waterless technology. At the end of August the first of three Cortina sections went live at Die Rheinpfalz in Oggersheim, Germany, and at the end of the year the second Cortina with a heatset capability will roll into action at ELBO Avistryk in Denmark. By then the installation of the biggest Cortina press line to date – with twelve towers – will be completed at Belgian media house De Persgroep’s Eco Print Center, which started coldset and heatset production back in the spring.

KBA Cortina: predestined for hybrid production

KBA reports growing interest in Cortinas with a heatset capability among printers both in Europe and abroad. One reason is the unique option it offers of printing high-quality coldset and heatset copies with no change of ink. Another is that the issues associated with double-width wet offset presses do not arise during hybrid coldset/heatset production (via a single common folder) on the Cortina. In wet offset, the different impact of fount solution on dried LWC paper and undried newsprint leads to a higher volume of waste and lower productivity. Where there is no water there can be no fan-out, excessive web stretch or shrinkage. In this respect the Cortina is unique among double- and triple-width presses.

Commander CT: the compact wet offset alternative

A good week before IfraExpo opened its doors in Vienna Koenig & Bauer and the Main-Post media group held an open house in Würzburg to promote a wet offset counterpart to the Cortina, the Commander CT, which like Cortina is just 4m (13ft) high and features the same RollerTronic automatic roller locks, NipTronic bearing system, PlateTronic automatic plate changers, StepIn glide apart towers for easy maintenance and ErgoTronic consoles that are fully compatible with other manufacturers’ software systems.

First-time user Main-Post is so delighted with its Commander CT that it has placed an order for a second tower to create an eight-high configuration. What most impressed it were the fast edition changes, easy handling, excellent colour registration and high print quality. The compact design reduces fan-out by half compared to conventional wet offset presses and makes it comparable with satellite presses. According to technical manager Andreas Kunzemann, the Commander CT’s new short-train film inking units with three forme rollers ensure outstanding solids reproduction and a larger tonal range with less dot gain.

Whether with or without ink keys and dampeners, KBA is confident that the compact design is the way of the future in newspaper production. Why? KBA marketing director Klaus Schmidt’s response at the Ifra press conference was short and to the point: "Because newspapers’ demands and press operators’ job expectations are changing, and will continue to change."

KBA: a leader in conventional technology for the past 190 years

Implementing new approaches and technologies in the newspaper industry, which tends to be rather conservative, demands a lot of patience and persuasion. Which is why in recent years the waterless Cortina has dominated exposure of KBA’s newspaper technology in the trade press. But the 190-year-old press manufacture is a driver of innovation in conventional technology as well. For example, shortly after the millennium and long before any other press manufacturer KBA shipped the first big double-width press line with non-reversible nine-cylinder satellites for 4/4 (to Mediaprint in Vienna, among others), and in 2003 the first 6/2 satellite press lines in Switzerland.

6/2 presses are not only capable of pumping out high-circulation, high-pagination products but also have the flexibility to deliver products with different page counts in almost any number of formats, and KBA has proved this with a Commander 6/2 custom-configured for Dansk AvisTryk in Denmark. The press, with four reelstands, four satellite towers, a single-width superstructure and two folders positioned at right-angles, can handle web widths from 500 to 2,400mm (19¾ - 94½in) and thus an almost unlimited range of formats. Software developed by EAE allows all production parameters to be stored for repeat runs.

One current example of hybrid coldset/heatset production with conventional presses that KBA cited at the Ifra press conference is a dual Colora/Comet installation that came on stream a few months ago at West Australian Newspapers in Perth. Dried webs from the single-width Comet press, which has two heatset dryers, can be mixed with coldset webs from the adjacent double-width Colora to form coldset newspapers with heatset covers or inner sections. Poligrafici Editoriale in Bologna, Italy, will soon press the button on a double-width Colora with four four-high towers that will run in tandem with a Commander T four-high tower press with heatset dryers.

Leading press manufacturers like KBA no longer focus exclusively on developing their own technology. In alliances with innovative partners they are increasingly seeking out new fields of application for the benefit of the newspaper industry. One example is Zip’n’Buy, a zip-like perforation that can be inserted in newspaper ads and was developed jointly by KBA, Würzburg-based Main-Post media group and retailer C&A. Zip’n’Buy recently won the German Printing Industry’s Innovation Award for 2007.

Koenig & Bauer AG

KBA is totally in accord with Polar’s wish to increasingly adopt environmental practices for the benefit of society and print employees. Preserving the natural environment has been a central plank in the company’s corporate philosophy for many years. Seven years ago, at Drupa 2000, KBA was the first press manufacturer to achieve environmental accreditation for its Rapida sheetfed presses.

KBA’s president and chief executive officer, Albrecht Bolza-Schünemann, recently reaffirmed the Group’s commitment to preserving the environment:: "Why not seize the initiative and do everything technically possible and economically feasible to protect both the environment and employees? It can pay to go green."

Green and clean is a claim totally appropriate to the products of KBA, one of the largest printing press manufacturers worldwide and the manufacturer with the broadest product range. In the United Kingdom KBA UK has successfully enlarged its installed base with many purchasers of KBA presses using their choice of KBA for environmental marketing advantage.

It is the market-leading Rapida range which has attracted the Polar Print investment – sheetfed presses offering exceptional output, unrivalled substrate flexibility and reduced alcohol or alcohol-free operation.

From small innovative presses like the Genius 52 UV, through the market-leading Rapida sheetfed presses up to giant commercial web and newspaper installations, KBA is a powerful presence in every sector. Across this wide spectrum KBA is striving to advance eco-friendly waterless offset, restrict CO2 emissions and other environmental pollution whilst serving the economic needs of the print media industry.

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