A lot of the contracts signed by UK and foreign customers were for presses that were not even demonstrated on the stand. St Ives SP Group of Redditch and French printer Bergame in St Ouen both ordered a superlarge KBA Rapida 205. Contracts for various other formats were awarded by printers in China, Russia, Germany, Spain, France, England, Iran, Saudi Arabia and elsewhere, with KBA’s acknowledged competence in inline coating often proving the decisive factor. One spectacular example was a 15-unit Rapida 105 triple coater press for Graf Poz in Poland. In September, Gopsons Paper in New Delhi will take delivery of the first VLF KBA press in India, a four colour Rapida 130. With a large number of negotiations nearing completion as the show closed, KBA expects sheetfed business to remain brisk in coming weeks.
Although KBA only exhibited models of commercial and newspaper presses, a number of major contracts were signed. One of them was for Al Arab Newspaper/Dar Al Sharq in Doha, Qatar, which opted for a KBA Continent with ten towers, 16 reelstands, two folders and three dryers for 64 pages broadsheet. The press will replace an 18-year-old Albert 200.
Small-format printers were not the only ones to show keen interest in the UV version of KBA-Metronic’s Genius 52, which enhances the impact of the high-quality 3-D lenticulars it prints by applying opaque white in an integrated coater. Potential applications for an ink-jet imprinter in the delivery, which enables prints to be personalised, was a central theme among prospects. Several Genius 52UV presses were sold to printers in England, Turkey and other countries.
KBA-Metronic’s Universys system, which can be configured with ink-jet, hot stamping, labelling, magnetic or RFID coding capabilities for personalising smart cards preprinted eg on the Genius, drew a packed crowd during demos, resulting in orders from Jordan, Pakistan and Dubai.
KBA organised a number of packaged events for key customers, including tours for Chinese and Indian VIPs to nearby KBA sheetfed users. Northampton-based Arkle Print, the prospective owners of the Rapida 105 ten colour exhibited in Birmingham, brought a party of customers to the stand for special demos. KBA (UK) md Christian Knapp presented an award sponsored by PrintIT!, an industry-wide initiative that addresses the need to attract young people into the printing industry. Some 23,000 students from 540 schools across the country competed in 13 categories.
For KBA, Ipex lived up to its standing as the second-biggest trade fair after Drupa.