The manufacturer usually lauds a single company, but product and marketing manager Craig Bretherton said the contenders this year were “difficult to separate so we decided to award two”.
The winners were commercial printer DG3 Leycol, a division of DG3 Group; and packaging specialist Offset Print & Packaging.
DG3 Leycol installed its first Koenig & Bauer press at its Gillingham site earlier this year, a five-colour Rapida 106 with coater and fully automatic plate changing.
Its award-winning work demonstrated huge time savings on its previous setup of between 31% and 66%, and combined high production speeds with low wastage. The firm prints to ISO 12647-2 standard.
Commercial director Nick Wilson said: “From start to finish the customer experience with Koenig & Bauer has been excellent, they have absolutely delivered on everything they said. From initial meetings, to demos in Germany, installation, training, press build and service from engineers. I wish I picked the phone up to them a few years earlier as the technology behind the press is ‘game changing’.”
“Since installation the Rapida has been going like a steam train and we couldn’t be happier, as it delivers on everything we stand for in our marketplace – quality, efficiency, speed and reliability,” he added.
The firm is considering a second press.
Aylesford-based Offset Print & Packaging installed a six-colour Rapida 106 with coater and simultaneous plate changing in the summer of 2017.
The firm garnered plaudits for the production of a number of high-spec jobs including a carton that involved 18 Pantone inks, including metallics. The total production time was under five hours for 30,750 sheets and ten makereadies.
Vince Brearey, managing director, operations, said: “All at Offset Print & Packaging are extremely proud to have won the Koenig & Bauer 1814 Production Excellence Award, we as a business have invested in new equipment and people and will continue to do so to meet our growth plans.
“In today’s industry you need to produce to the highest of standards in an efficient and environmentally friendly way. The partnership we have with Koenig & Bauer enables us to achieve these goals.”
Andy Rae, Koenig & Bauer vice president of global strategic selling, said the manufacturer planned to up its game in the commercial print space. Rae spent more than 20 years working at Heidelberg before joining K&B over the summer.
“What has struck me, with the technology we’ve got, is that we’re not bigger in the commercial market and that’s something to attack. I think we’ve got a huge potential upside in commercial printing,” he said.
He said K&B would focus its efforts on three key business benefits, “the three Cs”, comprising of capability (what the machine can deliver), connectivity (reporting metrics and service data), and customer success.
“I originally come from the customer side of the business so I always try to put myself in the customers’ shoes,” Rae added.
At Drupa next year K&B is planning to split its space in hall 16 into two booths: one focused on sheetfed and digital, and one on packaging. Plans include showcasing the first fruits of its new joint venture around single-pass inkjet with Durst, and innovations such as Visual PressSupport via the Rapida Live app.
There’s also a hint that a new-look Rapida could be part of the exhibit.