KBA has looked to the past for a new name and brand to take the group into the future, and has renamed itself Koenig & Bauer.
The German press manufacturer officially unveiled the new name and branding at a VIP event last night (21 September) to mark its 200th anniversary.
In front of around 650 customers and dignitaries, president and chief executive Claus Bolza-Schünemann said: “Print has moved our company and employees for 200 years. It’s an exciting task to find new solutions and applications for our customers, so they can be successful.
“We want to start our third century with a great brand. It was strong already but there is always room for improvement – we have 33 subsidiaries but the customer should see one brand.”
He brandished a poster showing the proliferation of current KBA branding across its different operations.
The new branding is based on the Rational typeface, and has the tag line ‘we’re on it’. The large ampersand will serve as a short-form logo for the group. A sculpture of the ampersand will sit outside the firm’s new €16m (£14.1m) demo facility.
The firm has also updated the design of its presses with a new look that will be rolled out gradually over the next three years.
The programme for the evening was printed on a 100-year-old replica of the original 1814 press with reciprocating movement, designed by Friedrich Koenig and Andreas Bauer for The Times of London. The press was running at the venue, Würzburg’s Vogel Convention Centre, manned by Koenig & Bauer trainees.
A commemorative banknote and special jubilee set of books on the themes of People Machines Ideas, including 13 illustrated posters, were also produced. Of the book, marketing director Klaus Schmidt explained: “It is a printed tribute to the past, present and future of print.”
Speakers included branding expert Professor Karsten Kilian, Axel Hentrei the chief executive of Bertelsmann Printing Group, Hans Schur the chief executive of Danish packaging group Schur International, and Ralf Wintergerst the chief executive of banknote printer Giesecke & Devrient.
Koenig & Bauer’s oldest and newest customers were present. Giesecke & Devrient installed its first circular motion press, which was designed by Andreas Bauer, in 1851 at the firm’s Leipzig facility and it is still in operation today.
Koenig & Bauer’s newest customer is Bavarian corrugated packaging producer Hans Kolb Wellpappe, which has ordered the first CorruJet digital corrugated sheetfed press, for installation next year.
Former president of Germany Horst Köhler gave a rousing address calling for a new, more equable, economic system to reflect global population growth, planetary boundaries, and technological advancements. “We need a real culture of cooperation and mutual accountability,” he said.
He praised Koenig & Bauer for its track record of innovation, and its family business ethos. “The social component is characteristic of family businesses. We need the character and qualities of Koenig & Bauer more than ever.”
Koenig & Bauer has requested that donations be made to Doctors Without Borders (MSF) in lieu of gifts for its bi-centenary, and more than €10,000 has been raised so far. The group will double whatever the total is at the end of September. The donation reference is 'anniversary of KBA'.