The 70-staff carton and greetings card printer signed for the new device, which has a list price of €3m (£2.6m), on 28 February and will take delivery of it in June.
It is the fourth KBA device bought by the firm and will join Offset’s existing Rapida 142 at its 8,600sqm facility in Aylesford. The company has sold its existing seven-colour Rapida 105 and eight-year old, B2 five-colour Heidelberg Speedmaster XL 75 to a merchant to make way for the new Rapida 106.
"Our business model has changed slightly; the packaging side is really growing and the B2 offering is reducing so although we could keep the Heidelberg, it would be pointless with the efficiencies of the new machine - it would sit there and do nothing," said managing director of operations, Vince Breary.
"This Rapida 106 made sense as its our fourth KBA and so it’s easy for us as we’re used to them. It was cost-effective, it’ll improve speed, reduce waste and reassure customers. It’s perfect for us," he added.
The investment allows the business to offer both B1 and large-format carton production and according to Breary, its specifications will “comfortably match” the performance of the outgoing presses, enabling extremely fast makereadies and minimal waste."
The Rapida 106 has a top speed of 18,000sph and its plate changing technology allows all plates to be changed in 50 seconds whilst the Unique Sensoric Infeed System and roller de-clutching come as standard.
The device is specified with CX and plastics features enabling a broader range of substrate handling, up to a depth of 1.2mm, as well as the ability to use both conventional and UV inks and coatings. A water cooling facility reduces heat and minimises component wear.
KBA UK sales director Chris Scully said: “We have had a long and successful association with Offset Printing and Packaging in mid- and large-format presses. However, we never take anything for granted. We are absolutely delighted that they have chosen to return to KBA for their latest investment. They have added a highly specified, highly productive machine to work alongside their existing large-format press.”
The £9m-turnover company is also about to buy its second Esatec pick and place machine in 18 months. Breary will sign for the circa-£225,000 device this week in France, with installation expected in April.
"We’ve invested heavily over the last 10 years. Our ethos is if you don’t invest, you get left behind.
"We're not scared to try new products and we'll be looking next year as well," he added.
The 45-year-old business, which was founded by chairman Hugh Jarvis and his father Maurice on an old water works site in Maidstone, employs 70 people and offers design, manufacturing, warehousing and account management services in the UK and Europe.