KBA Rapida 105
By Tess Raine Thursday, 06 October 2005
The Rapida 105, unveiled at Ipex 1998, was KBA's first truly digitally controlled press. It was launched with revised and updated technology to celebrate KBA's centenary. KBA has continued to modernise its machines and at Drupa 2004 the new-generation 105 was unveiled as the world's first B1 press without sidelays.
Originally the Rapida 105 entered a competitive market where Heidelberg and Komori dominated, and it took a while to establish its reputation. Nowadays, after more than 100 installations nationwide, its kudos has improved. “People are realising that the build quality is quite superior,” says Roberts Graphics managing director James Roberts. “Technology-wise they are better than a Heidelberg.
All the KBA presses are double impression,” says Roberts. “Another plus is the recent introduction of touch-screen technology. Now you can do on the delivery end what you can on the off-press controls.”
Impressive build quality
The 105 is “a press built for longevity,” making it a great secondhand purchase, according to KBA UK executive sales director Mark Nixon. The build quality is impressive: it’s a large and heavy machine with a substructure that reduces wobble and removes the maintenance issues this can cause. Although this meant that the original models looked rather brutish, the new machines are more streamlined.
And while it may look a bit of a monster, the 105 is designed for easy operation. The sidelay no longer needs setting up on recent models, instead the sidelay movement is made by grippers on the feed drum. New 105s feature a host of other productivity enhancements so it can now run at 18,000sph, or 15,000sph perfecting. Sheet feed can be controlled at the console. There is a Qualitronic II inline sheet inspection system and a motor-driven shaftless feeder.
For complex configurations the original 105 model will continue to be sold as the universal 105 for the next couple of years, but it is still quick and easy to use.
The 105’s running speed was originally 15,000sph straight printing and 12,000sph perfecting. With semi-automatic plate changing and the possibility of disengaging print units when not in use, the machine can easily be tailored to customers’ requirements.
The 105 handles a wide range of material, from 1.2mm cartonboard down to 60gsm paper. Standard sheet size is 720x1,050mm but it can run sheets as small as 350x500mm. With up to 15 dedicated colour units, coaters and dryers in between, the 105 can be adapted to any special requirements. Newer machines have an airblast system to automatically load carton up to 1.2mm, whereas on classic machines the carton has to be manually loaded.
Speed and efficiency
If you’re looking for a secondhand model KBA takes part exchange and will sell on whatever it gets. “But they don’t stick around for very long,” says Nixon. The firm offers service contracts on any Rapida machine and access to engineers and spares is getting speedier and more efficient.
There are also plenty of independent specialists, such as DPM and Euro Graphic services, keen to sell KBA presses because they are such solid machines. Roberts Graphics is just one dealer who reckons the Rapida 105 makes a great secondhand purchase.
Max sheet size
• 720x1,050mm; option of 740x1,050mm
• 1998 15,000sph, 1998 18,000sph
Feeder pile height
• New five-colour: from £950,000
• 10-colour from £1.49m
• 1998 five-colour: from £350,000
• 2002: £550,000
What to look for
• Service record
• Condition of impression cylinders
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