KBA reveals details of RotaJet 76 at Drupa preview
By Jo Francis Friday, 23 March 2012
KBA revealed further details about its RotaJET 76 inkjet web this week, as it held a pre-Drupa customer event in Radebeul attended by 1,000 customers.
The press, manufactured at KBA’s web offset facility in Wurzburg, has been designed with an innovative paper path that doesn’t require any turner bars, and also contributes to a small footprint of just under 10x4metres.
It has two print towers for four-back-four production, and uses Kyocera inkjet heads in an array that uses the know-how gleaned from KBA’s partnership with RR Donnelley. The web width is 782mm and print speed 150m/min.
In a thinly-veiled sideswipe at rival Heidelberg and the new Manroland businesses, president Claus Bolza-Schunemann said: "We are the only press manufacturer with an own-brand digital press made in Germany. We are not simply marketing an existing press from a different manufacturer."
Despite its relatively early development stage – the RotaJET has only been putting ink on paper for three months – print samples shown to PrintWeek look impressive.
At Drupa, the press will be demonstrated printing live four times a day, integrated with a Muller Martini Sigma line to produce saddle-stitched brochures.
Freshly-appointed project manager for digital web presses Oliver Baar, who joined KBA from HP just three weeks ago, emphasised the advantages of KBA’s high-speed paper transport expertise: "It is easier to come from the high-volume and look at the medium level, than to come from below and scale up," he said. "KBA has solved questions the others aren’t even asking."
The press manufacturer aims to start installing machines at customers at the end of the year. It said the price would be "competitive" against other 30in (762mm) inkjet webs on the market.
KBA also unveiled a host of other new products at the event, including a move into web-fed packaging printing with the Varius 80. This uses waterless UV offset technology from the Genius, has an 800mm web width and can print variable formats from 508-762mm via an automated cylinder change system.
It can print onto flexible substrates including film, paper, and lightweight carton grades.
"One of the big plusses is that it has much less waste than flexo or other offset presses," said marketing director Klaus Schmidt.
The Varius promises a six-minute format change and less than 100m of start-up waste.
In B1 sheetfed KBA has brought a host of features from its high-end Rapida 106 model to the Rapida 105, including the substructure. The 105 now has a top speed of 17,000sph and is available in eight- and ten-colour perfecting models. Perfecting speed on the 105 is 14,000sph compared to the 106’s 18,000sph.
The flagship Rapida 106 also has a new high-speed package that takes its top speed up to 20,000sph. "It’s not cranked;up – it’s designed for this speed," said Schmidt.
KBA has also developed a new integrated inkjet imprinting system for the 105 and 106 that can either be configured with heads from subsidiary KBA-Metronic or from Atlantic Zeiser. Applications include product codes, security marking, and QR codes.
A new vacuum cylinder – AirTronic Drum – holds the sheet tight during imprinting, so that the tail of the sheet cannot flutter or lift and damage the inkjet heads.
"The key to the whole thing is not just about inkjet – it is to be found in our completely new printing unit," stated sheetfed head of marketing Jurgen Veil.
KBA also announced a high-speed sibling for its Rapida 75 B2 press. The Rapida 76 also includes technology ported from the 106. It has a maximum production speed of 18,000sph.
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