‘Extremely Rapid, Total factory Throughput’ wins KBA (UK) Ltd. 1814 Production Excellence Award

Blackmore’s Rapida LED-Printing Scoops 2015 KBA Accolade


Dorset-based Blackmore Group has been announced the 2015 winner of the KBA (UK) Ltd 1814 Production Excellence Award during a special press lunch at London’s iconic ‘Gherkin’ building. The accolade was awarded for “Extremely rapid, total factory throughput of high quality print on challenging and complex materials with large savings in time, ink and power”.

The award recognises landmark achievements by UK printers using KBA presses and commemorates the commissioning, at the Times of London in November 1814, of the first ever power-driven press, designed and built by Friedrich Koenig and Andreas Bauer.

The award was presented by KBA (UK) Ltd. Managing Director Andrew Pang to Blackmore Director of Marketing and Sales David Bland and Commercial Director Simon West.

The winning entry was produced on the KBA Rapida 105 LED-Printing 4 colour press with Fully Automatic Plate Changing, Qualitronic ColorControl  and Quality Pass software which was installed in February 2015. The award was not only for the excellent quality print and quick set up times, but also for the turnaround of work through finishing which would have taken days to produce on their previous conventional B2 press.

“Pioneers may risk the occasional arrow – but when you’ve got the first machine gun…”

Blackmore decided to invest in the LED-UV technology offered with KBA presses from Air Motion Systems after lengthy evaluations of all the low energy curing systems on the market before opting for the LED-UV solution from KBA.

The investment in the technology has brought surprising benefits such as producing work for 3 local printers on extremely difficult materials such as Astralux and Pearlised stocks. They have enjoyed an improved factory environment in relation to floor space and temperature with the added benefit of bringing finishing work back in house due to better job efficiency.

Bland stated “Printers need to look at the overall benefits of printing via LED UV instead of thinking purely of the cost of the inks alone”.

The entire B1 KBA Rapida press is powered by the power cable which used to supply just the delivery of the previous B2 press bringing approximately a 60% reduction in energy consumption. Despite the LED-UV inks still priced considerably higher than conventional inks, with up to 30% reduction in usage and the removal of coating costs, the outlay is quickly clawed back. The initial cost of the press was also greatly reduced in comparison to a conventional B1 press due to the removal of a coating unit and associated drying equipment.

Bland went on to compliment the service support from KBA and other involved parties:

 “Our new Rapida 105-4 is the first in the UK in this format to have dedicated LED UV curing, so was something of a leap of faith – or would have been without the support and guidance of KBA, AMS and Flint.” 

KBA (UK) Ltd. Managing Director Andrew Pang commented:

“We applaud Blackmore for these fantastic production achievements, it is important to remember that the award is for total factory throughput. We are all aware the Rapida 105 has all the features to make ready quickly and reduce waste. However, the addition of LED UV is what gives them such an advantage in turning the work around on plastics and difficult substrates. In addition, removing over 40 hours from a normal production process is a truly impressive feat”.

Showing the strength of entries to this year’s event, two companies also received High Commendations, both showed great press performance in their own right: Bayliss Print and Design Ltd. of Worksop and Plastic Card Services Ltd of Macclesfield.

2015 Overview

At the annual event Andrew Pang, KBA (UK) Ltd. Managing director provided the assembled Journalists and editors an overview of KBA’s market position for 2015.

“KBA is the second biggest manufacturer of analogue printing presses worldwide with annual sales of €1.1bn with 4600 employees. KBA continues to diversify and offers an extensive product range for volume and niche markets.

“KBA which has seen its share price rise dramatically to over €31 per share in recent months is still market leader in folding carton and large format offset with more than 60% of the presses shipped today destined for the growing packaging market. In contrast to its competitors, order intake is up 33% and order backlog is up a healthy 70%. Revenue also showed an increase at 2%

For 2016 KBA will extend its product range with new offerings in post press and digital printing and continues to diversify into new markets such as glass printing, metal decoration and flexible packaging”.

Providing a summary for the closing year for KBA (UK) Ltd., Sales director Chris Scully explained that the identified areas of growth are Luxury Packaging, Corporate Publication, Web 2 Print and Colour Books. He also added that machine specification trends reflected the aforementioned growth areas.

“High speed presses 18,000 SPH to 20,000 SPH are becoming quite common, alongside hybrid applications on very long and complicated machine configurations. There is already a strong desire and take up for the new generation, low energy drying systems KBA sells and this is expected to continue”.

Scully also announced that Glasgow book printer Bell and Bain had invested in a Rapida 145 8 colour perfecting press to complement its existing Rapida 142 8 colour perfector. The new press has the highest levels of automation to drive down makes ready times and reduce waste even further. The highly specified press to be installed in March 2016 features SIS (sensoric infeed system), SPC (Simultaneous Plate Changing) QualiTronic Colour Control and the ability to produce at speeds of 15,000 SPH in large format size.

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