The €16m (£14m) project will include building and infrastructure costs of around €6m, with the remainder spent on the three demo presses.
The building is due for completion in autumn this year, when KBA will be formally celebrating its 200th anniversary, the centre will house a RotaJet digital printing press, a flexo rotary press and a newly-developed sheetfed flexo press. Its main purpose will be customer demos along with testing new developments and it should be fully operational with presses by January 2018.
The new 2,100sqm centre will be the latest in the series of buildings at the Wurzburg site, following a new foundry in 2012, new production halls in 2008 and 2003 and a logistics centre and design building in 2001.
KBA already has a demo centre for its sheetfed offset presses and processing systems, in Radebeul, Saxony, which is more than double the size of Wurzburg and houses 15 presses.
KBA marketing manager Klaus Schmidt said the company set out plans around a year ago to construct the centre.
“We felt that our plant in Milano with presentations in the assembly hall was not an ideal environment. Wurzburg is very close to Frankfurt, one hour by train, so we said we would do it here because we also want to increase cooperation with KBA’s digital and web,” he added.
Schmidt, who is retiring in October after 29 years with KBA, highlighted that the building of the centre represents a further move into the flexo packaging market, which he said is worth around $1bn, more than double that of the newspaper offset market. He added that KBA wants to compete with the biggest flexo companies, all of which have demo centres.
The first brick was laid at a ceremony on 14 March by KBA chairman Claus Bolza-Schünemann and chief executive Christoph Müller, in the presence of Wurzburg mayor Christian Schuchardt.
Bolza-Schünemann said: “We want to present our systems for growth sectors live in action at the new demo centre.
“Many of our national and international customers want to see the presses being operated in action before they decide to invest. And of course, we hope that this substantial investment will have a positive impact on our business in these new markets for KBA.”