For its pre drupa press conference, held at its sheet fed offset facility in Radebeul, KBA invited around 1,000 print professionals to see its latest technology, including the Rotajet 76 inkjet, which will feature as a standout at the world's biggest trade show.
The company has booked a 3500sqm stand in Düsseldorf (hall 16, stand 16C47) as the showcase for its innovations in sheet fed, digital and web offset printers.
Using its slogan “sprinting ahead”, the world’s second-largest printing press manufacturer describes its drupa offering as an innovation firework to light up the exhibition. It unveiled its new, highly automated large-format press series Rapida 145, represented on this occasion by a six-colour model tailored for packaging and an eight-colour perfector press for commercial and magazine printing.
At drupa it will offer an example of the synergy between offset and digital print, with the new inkjet printing system for the new Rapida 105 medium-format generation, and significantly for the company: the new KBA Rotajet 76.
KBA began this round of drupa innovation previews with the high-volume web-fed inkjet press aimed at the markets for on-demand or individualised production of four-colour books, brochures, commercial products, mailings and magazines. Engineered for a maximum web speed of 150mpm and web widths of up to 780mm, corresponding to approx. 3,000 A4 pages/min or 85 million pages per month, the KBA Rotajet jet prints with water-based pigment inks.
KBA says the press’s piezo inkjet heads are reliable in production and require only a minimum of maintenance, and have been designed for heavy-duty use. The company continues that the unwinder and infeed unit have been designed specifically for the Rotajet to enable precise web tension, adding that, with the inkjet technology, precision engineering holds the key to high print and register quality.
New project manager Oliver Baar, who presented the KBA Rotajet 76, pointed out the reduction in waste compared to other press systems, came from the Rotajet 76’s ability to produce good copies even during the start-up phase. A future option will be an automatic reel stand with integration into automated paper logistics.
Inside the press, two arrays of 56 inkjet heads each form an arch over large central impression cylinders for four-colour printing on both sides of the web, but can still be shifted aside for cleaning and maintenance purposes. The printing heads are cleaned and aligned automatically (stitching) to minimise manual intervention and ensure straightforward handling. The system offers a native print resolution of 600dpi with variable droplet size. A dispersion coater is planned as a future option for further quality enhancement.
Internal communication is compliant with the JDF standard, as is the integration with third-party systems. KBA says drupa visitors will see personalised production driven through the Adobe APPE (Adobe PDF Print Engine) workflow. The front-end is geared to the high data throughputs associated with industrial-scale POD applications. KBA adds that, with even the largest data volumes, the RotaJET 76 delivers full-colour variable production at maximum speed, without stoppage and waiting times. According to Oliver Baar, KBA speaks the language of generations of printers and understands the demands they place on systems, processes and final products.
At drupa, the KBA RotaJET 76 will operate in conjunction with a SigmaLine digital production system from Müller Martini, configured with the variable-format section folder module SigmaFolder and a Primera digital saddle stitcher system, enabling digitally printed magazines and advertising brochures to be folded and stitched inline. SigmaLine is controlled through the smart data and process management system Connex, which ensures consistent integration between the printing press and the finishing equipment, according to KBA. It can be tailored for both softcover and hardcover book production, as well as for a diversity of stitched products.
New Rapida 145 defines new benchmarks for large format
The company will premiere the latest generation of large-format Rapidas in the form of a plinth-mounted six-colour Rapida 145 with new coater, triple-length extended delivery and automated pile logistics. The maximum production speed of the 1050 x 1450mm Rapida 145 is 17,000sph in straight printing with the high-speed package and 15,000sph in perfecting mode with the new three-drum perfecting unit.
The press at drupa features the sidelay-free infeed DriveTronic SIS and DriveTronic SPC direct drives for fast, simultaneous plate changing and a new coater with simultaneous coating forme changing and one-man replacement of the exchangeable anilox roller sleeves with a production speed of 17,000sph.
KBA says an optional package now raises the maximum production speed of its Rapida 106 to 20,000sph in straight printing and 18,000sph in perfecting mode. It will show it at drupa in a 12-unit configuration for four-colour print and inline coating on both sides of the sheet.
Digital joins offset
Unveiled at the All in Print China fair in Shanghai last November, the new Rapida 105 has extended automation options, delivering a maximum production speed for presses incorporating the high-speed package of 17,000sph (standard: 16,500sph) with effect from drupa.
KBA will present this press in a hybrid offset/inkjet version, joining the five offset printing units and coater tower with two Delta 105iUV printing systems from Atlantic Zeiser for personalised imprinting and coding applications.
KBA suggests potential applications for inkjet systems in a sheetfed printing press that include sheet marking in connection with quality inspection, codings for purposes of brand protection (barcodes, QR codes, numerical IDs or combinations thereof), security printing, packaging, labels, lottery tickets and industrial product marking.