UK printers contribute to KBA Drupa sales boom

By Sarah Cosgrove, Tuesday 14 June 2016

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Three UK printers were among those which chose KBA this Drupa, helping to propel the German manufacturer to a €100m sales boom.

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From left: Creechan with Craig Bretherton and Chris Scully of KBA UK

Glasgow-based J Thomson Colour Printers ordered the UK’s first six-colour Rapida 106 plus coater with LED UV and a conventional 10-colour Rapida 106 perfector for 5/5 printing to replace its seven-year-old Heidelberg Speedmaster XLs, at the Dusseldorf show, which ran from 31 May to 10 June.

Managing director Kevin Creechan said he considered returning to Heidelberg and also looked at Komori during “extensive trials”.

“Both impressed us with their offering but we felt that there were various factors which fell just short of what KBA had. Our technical team deemed that the KBA presses performed best and were most suited to our work profile. We also wished to take advantage of LED UV technology and that KBA were the most advanced in that field.”

Creechan said UV would allow the 125-staff £12.5m-turnover company to offer “significant added value” to customers and increase production efficiencies on a wide range of substrates.

“The conventional technology is a step up from our existing platform and will increase capacity and efficiency,” he added.

He said he also liked KBA’s “holistic service”.

Leicester-based Qualvis Print and Packaging ordered a 18,000sph seven-colour with coater Rapida 106 to help supply the luxury packaging market. The press is equipped with automation features to increase productivity and efficiency and is due to be installed in February.

Managing director Jason Short said the company liked the quality and performance of the Rapida 106, which will be used for printing confectionery, distillery, cosmetics and high-end food packaging at the 105-staff £11m-turnover company.

“We’ve been keeping a close eye on KBA since our last press purchase in 2012 and wanted to make sure this new press was going set us apart from the competition and would be a game changer for us.

“We looked at Heidelberg but thought that their R&D hadn’t come far enough from their very successful CD 102 press and the new CX. KBA have spent a lot of time making sure the 106 is the best press on the planet in terms of running speeds, makeready times and colour control.”

Qualvis produces 200m cartons and sleeves per year, with its other presses, the Heidelberg six-colour CD 102 with coater and a Roland 707 continuing to be the backbone of the company.

Simply Cartons ordered its second B1 Rapida at the show, following an earlier installation in August 2015.

The new press, a six-colour with a double coating facility, will replace Mitsubishi and Heidelberg presses, making the 120-staff Simply Cartons an all-KBA site.

At the show, dubbed by some the 'Corrugated Drupa' KBA breached the €100m mark in deals, selling more than 50 presses to customers in more than 30 countries and six continents.

KBA UK sales director Chris Scully said: "We have exceeded our visiting clients' expectations and considerably surpassed our targets for the show and 2016.

"We have also been able to move into the next phase of our sales approach with the overwhelming response from the show."

The Würzburg, Germany-based manufacturer saw the benefit of switching client focus over the past decade from 65% media clients and 35% packaging to 70% packaging and 10% media.

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