Commander CT

Commander CT

The Commander CT (= compact), an innovative wet offset press that delivers a raft of benefits, represents a major advance in ergonomics, cost efficiency, flexibility and quality, enabling newspaper and semi-commercial printers to respond with agility to evolving market demands. It has already been the preferred choice of over 25 newspaper printers and publishers in Europe and North America.

Proven automation

The Commander CT and its sister press the Cortina are the only two newspaper presses in the global marketplace to feature StepIn ® towers that split down the centre at the touch of a button for easy access and maintenance. Convenient lifts on both sides of the towers, and in the middle for maintenance, reduce walking distances. Other winning features are our fast yet highly reliable KBA PlateTronic automatic plate changers, which have already been fitted in over 1,000 printing couples, revolutionary KBA NipTronic cylinder bearings with optimal remote setting of the printing pressure, and KBA RollerTronic automatic roller locks, which have proven their efficiency a thousand times over and in terms of functionality and precision are far superior to other automatic locks.

The double-circumference Commander CT is available as a double-width (4/2) or triple-width (6/2) version engineered for full colour on both sides of the web, with the option of printing 2/2 on two webs. It has cutting-edge inking units and new-generation spray dampeners.

29030-007 01
Winning features 

  • Superb print quality (high-contrast image, outstanding solids reproduction, less dot gain than with satellite presses, precise registration)

  • Uniquely compact design, towers just 4.5m (14ft 9in) high

  • 16-couple tower available for high halls

  • Glide-apart StepIn ® system for easy operation and maintenance

  • Revolutionary NipTronic bearer units for setting optimum printing pressure

  • No bearer rings, cams or triple-ring bearings

  • Greener print production thanks to oil-free printing units, reduced paper and energy consumption

  • RollerTronic automatic roller locks

  • Proven PlateTronic automatic plate changers (option)

  • DriveTronic dedicated drives for cylinders and inking units

  • Plate-Ident automatic plate recognition system (option)

  • Cutting-edge inking unit with three forme rollers

  • Short distances between printing couples minimise fan-out 

  • CleanTronic automatic blanket washing

  • Dryer for semi-commercials (option)

  • Fast edition changes thanks to high-speed plate changes, simultaneous blanket washing, simple webbing-up and pagination change

  • Cutting-edge KBA console technology

  • One-touch pushbutton operation with EasyStart and EasyClean-up

KBA NipTronic and RollerTronic

For decades offset printers have dreamt of being able to set the nip pressure automatically, precisely and with no time-consuming manual adjustment. Now we have made this possible with our revolutionary NipTronic cylinder bearing unit. Along with RollerTronic automated roller locks, NipTronic is a groundbreaking KBA innovation that delivers real benefits for users in terms of print quality and the range of stock that can be handled.

KBA NipTronic: precise pressure – precise dot

Up until now the nip between the plate, blanket and impression cylinders, even on modern offset presses, has generally been set manually, either using cams or by changing the packing under the blankets to adjust the distance between the cylinders. This takes a lot of time – and time being money, press operators tend to avoid it if at all possible. The result? A high dot gain, poor quality solids when changing from coated to uncoated stock, a shorter plate life and worn blankets. 

The NipTronic bearing unit comprises a proven conventional cylinder bearing seated in play-free, pretensioned linear guides which permit movement on just one plane. There is no need for multiring bearings, cams or bearer rings. The precise printing pressure is set to predefined reference values and the plate and blanket cylinders thrown on electrohydraulically, after which the bearing is locked against a setting wedge. At impression OFF the system is released and maintenance-free springs return the bearing to its original position. The compact, integrated system operates in an oiltight housing. The printing unit side frames are oil-free. 

The plate and blanket cylinders can be thrown on and off individually or collectively. The optimum nip pressure between the plate and blanket cylinders and between the two blanket cylinders in blanket-to-blanket presses can also be set remotely for individual cylinders or for all the cylinders collectively. In addition it is possible to set and adjust optimum printing pressure fast when running blankets with different spring characteristics or after prolonged blanket use, and to set printing pressure precisely following changes in stock type. 

The four cylinders in a blanket-to-blanket printing unit are aligned at a slight incline, with the NipTronic bearing units screwed onto the side frame tight against the cylinder body. It has been found that this minimises vibrationrelated streaking, even when working with wide webs. 

Other benefits include a longer bearing, plate and blanket life, a lower energy consumption and less maintenance. KBA NipTronic enhances production flexibility when printing stock weighing more than 90gsm (57.75lbs) NaturalPrint up to 120gsm (77lbs).

KBA RollerTronic: proven a thousand times over

KBA RollerTronic roller locks, which set the inking and dampening rollers in the Commander CT by defining their throwon pressure, are far more accurate and efficient than mechanical systems that define the distance to be travelled. What is more, the rollers in each section can be set automatically either individually or collectively in just two minutes, eliminating the need for time-consuming and universally unpopular manual roller adjustment. Throw-on pressure is set according to predefined reference values and the rollers then locked mechanically. Not only is this much more precise and delivers a more uniform print quality; it also reduces energy consumption, while uniform roller settings enhance roller functioning and service life. Eliminating irksome, time-consuming manual roller adjustment reduces maintenance input at the printing couples and therefore boosts productivity. 

Rollers can be set and adjusted individually at any time. Plate and blanket cylinders can be thrown on and off individually or collectively. The impression pressure between the plate and the blanket and between the two blanket cylinders in blanket-to-blanket operation can also be set remotely for individual pairs or for all the cylinders simultaneously. 


The control electronics and automation systems for the Commander CT are engineered to the same standard of excellence as the rest of the press to maximise output and flexibility, minimise waste and manning levels, optimise image quality in full-colour production and support integration into an alldigital workflow. 

Even the basic version of our high-tech Commander CT features intelligent automation package for peak efficiency. ErgoTronic consoles with easy-read, easy-learn data screens are a standard feature. The interfaces to the master systems for press preset, process control, production monitoring and dedicated software are clearly defined. For press extensions and more specialised customer applications we offer the option of installing console technology supplied by other manufacturers such as ABB or EAE. 

Press controls

The electronic processing stations for press controls and drive systems are located in the reelstand arms, printing units, folder and other subassemblies. They are connected to each other and to the console by high-powered data bus systems. 

The current operating status of the press, and any malfunctions which may occur, are displayed immediately at the console and remedial action initiated automatically if the need arises. The clear, logical system facilitates press operation and monitoring and affords greater flexibility when extending or modifying the press line. 

Copy- and press-based operation 

Even the basic version of our Commander CT includes a valuable operator aid in the form of a copy-based system which automatically assigns the printing couple(s) to the designated newspaper page. An optional press-based version allows the relevant printing couple or subassembly to be selected directly. 

Production management

The console level can be expanded with an optional production management system containing modules for master files, job scheduling, presetting and data storage. Various permutations of these modules feature in Commander press lines the world over. We also offer two optional modules for automating press start-up (Easy Start) and run-down (Easy Stop). Both help to cut waste and enhance productivity. 

The Commander CT boasts an extensive module-based automation system which, alongside DriveTronic dedicated cylinder drives, NipTronic linear bearings for optimum pressure setting and individually adjustable RollerTronic roller locks, also embraces a number of options ranging from FanoTronic fan-out compensation to Plate-Ident plate recognition. 

Another attribute integrated in the Commander CT to enhance cost efficiency is our PlateTronic automatic plate-changing system, which can change individual plates, all 64 plates in a four-high tower (96 in a 6/2 press) or all 192 (288) plates in three towers in two minutes or less. Dedicated cylinder drives allow automatic blanket washing with CleanTronic while the plates are being changed. This saves time and dramatically increases output. As with the other automation components available for newspaper presses, the technology we offer is way ahead of the field and our practical experience is unparalleled in the industry. 

Inking and dampening units

DT Commander CT
The compact press height of just 4.5m (14ft 9in) means that the distances between the individual printing couples in a four-high tower are almost as short as in a satellite press, significantly reducing fan-out in 4/4 production compared to a conventional four-high tower. So accurate colour registration is possible even in wet offset. For wider presses we offer optional fan-out compensation via FanoTronic, which is available in a choice of versions and automation levels. 

Quick-response inking units 

The cutting-edge inking units on the Commander CT each have a dedicated drive, three forme rollers and a new type of film roller. This reduces dot gain, enhances image quality on solids and image stability where ink take-up is low. The inking unit’s optimised geometry, with two direct ink trains, means that it responds swiftly to changes in inking commands and generates much less ink mist. Automatic ink pumping is available as an option. 

Since spot colours are rarely used in newspaper production the Commander CT features one-piece ink ducts, with the duct roller and ink knife accessed by pivoting the knife holder. The rollers are cleaned by a wiper blade. The inking and dampening units are washed simultaneously, enhancing print quality. An automatic washing system is available as an option. For extended production runs we recommend installing an ink-temperature control unit. RollerTronic resets the forme rollers automatically at impression ON. 

The ability to preset and pre-ink the inking units automatically reduces startup waste, which on the Commander CT is already lower than on conventional tower presses. An optional RIP interface is available for downloading digital pre-press data for presetting the inking and dampening units.

New-generation spray dampeners 

The Commander CT incorporates specially modified triple-roller spray dampeners installed in the pre-moistening position. The fount solution is transferred via a cylinder-wide spray bar with eight nozzles (twelve on the 6/2). Metering is regulated by controlling the impulses to each individual nozzle. The outer nozzles can be regulated separately to eliminate marginal toning. The fount solution is transferred contact-free, virtually eliminating the risk of contamination. Each press section has a dedicated water-preparation unit. As an option the water temperature and mixing data can be displayed at the console. 

Reel logistics

Streamlining the paper is a key factor in enhancing production efficiency. The Commander CT, like our other presses, can be embedded in a customised reel logistics system by configuring it with a high-performance KBA reelstand and our Patras paper-reel transport system.

KBA Patras reel-handling system

Our KBA Patras paper-reel transport system combines an exceptionally high level of flexibility and performance, safeguarding production by efficiently and economically maintaining an uninterrupted supply of paper to the reelstands. This is compellingly demonstrated by countless installations throughout the world. A modular design allows our Patras system to be customised to suit specific production scenarios and printing-plant architecture, with the choice of options ranging from an all-manual version for printers with a low throughput of reels to fully automated for large-scale plants consuming a correspondingly high volume of paper.The highest level of automation includes offloading at goods reception, transfer to the reel store, splice preparation, loading onto the reelstand, production changeover and stub removal. We offer practice-proven storage and transport systems specifically adapted to fit the available space. The modular design also means that you can start off with a manual version and automate at a later date, while hardware and software interfaces ensure compatibility with any make of press.Patras is exceptionally robust, requires very little maintenance input and is outstanding value for money. By progressively optimising paper logistics with KBA Patras you can achieve substantial savings in costs, time and waste, thus making a key contribution towards enhancing efficiency in newspaper and commercial production. 

KBA stripping station

This is an operator aid for removing the wrapping quickly and with a minimum of waste. The weight of the reel with wrapping and after stripping, slab waste removal and splice preparation can be logged individually for internal evaluation purposes. 


KBA Eco Splice

An automatic splice-preparation unit engineered for a rapid throughput, Eco Splice enhances productivity and safety, eases handling and cuts preparation times by standardising the entire process. 


New-generation reelstands

Depending on output, web width, reel diameter, maximum reel weight and other specifications, the Commander CT can be configured with one of two newgeneration versions of our Pastomat beltless reelstand, whose reliability is well proven. The Pastomat C (classic) is engineered for web speeds of up to 13mps (2,560fpm), a maximum web width of 1,680mm (66in), a maximum reel diameter of 1,270mm (50in) and a maximum reel weight of 1.8t (3,968lbs). For wider or faster newspaper presses we have developed the heavy-duty Pastomat CL (classic large), which can handle web speeds of up to 17.2mps (3,386fpm), a maximum web width of 2,520mm (991/4in), a maximum reel diameter of 1,524mm (60in) and a maximum reel weight of 6t (13,228lbs). 

Both models are driven and braked by robust AC servo motors via the reel core and have infinitely adjustable divided arms for simultaneously handling reels of different widths, enabling them to support pagination changes on the fly. They also have distributed operating screens and are fully embedded in the press control system. Our Pastomat reelstands function reliably and safely, even at high web speeds and when handling heavy reels, need little maintenance and are easy to operate. 

Superstructure and folder

The superstructure on the Commander CT is as compact as the press itself, yet easily accessible. Presshall roof clearance permitting, the CT can, of course, be configured with the standard Commander superstructure whose performance has been well proven on countless press lines. But whichever you choose, our superstructures are engineered for productivity, diversity and high-speed edition changes, thanks to ergonomic turner bars, short web paths and a straightforward production flow for multiple web widths – not to mention our proven high-performance folders.


The ergonomically positioned slitters on the draw rollers enable the web to be slit into half-width ribbons or, as an option, into quarter- and half-width ribbons. The ribbons are monitored by photoelectric sensors as they are guided to the former infeed via easy-access turner bars. 

As with all Commanders, extras include bay-window rollers, insertion decks and double decks. The double deck (with the option of two pairs of turner bars instead of four) enables the web to be guided to the left or the right over the former without repositioning the turner bars, which cuts changeover times. Another option for relieving crew workload allows the turner bars to be positioned by remote control from the console. The page count for the individual signatures can be adjusted quickly and easily to changes in specifications. Colour and/or cut-off register controls can also be installed upon request. 

Folder superstructure

The standard constellation is two adjacent formers, but presses can also be configured with formers positioned one above the other (eg four formers in a balloon arrangement). AC drives for the draw and transfer rollers enable web tension to be controlled with absolute precision. Optional extras include a length gluing unit, cross/length perforator (e.g. to create Zip’n’Buy tear-out sidebars), skip slitter and ribbon stitcher. 

Proven folders 

There is a choice of four cutting-edge folders, each of them engineered for a specific output and page count. Our KF 3 folder has a maximum hourly output of 75,000 80-page broadsheet copies in straight production. Our heavy-duty KF 5 folder can handle up to 90,000 120-page copies per hour straight. Our new highend folder, the KF 7, is engineered for 90,000 144-page broadsheet copies per hour. The RF 3 gear folder can process copies with up to 160 broadsheet pages. 

All KBA folders are highly automated and fully embedded in the shaftless drive and press presetting systems. The diameter of the folding cylinder can be infinitely adjusted to copy thickness, either at the folder itself or from the console. 

Over- and underfold adjustment is also integrated in the presetting and control systems. Conversion between collect and straight mode is actuated by pushbutton at the folder or via the presetting controls at the console. If desired, the folders can be fitted with a single or dual quarterfold capability and/or a section stitcher for delivering stitched magazines in either production mode. 


The abbreviation CT signifies an ultracompact, modular design that, delivers a substantially higher page and colour capacity per square metre of space than the conventional four-high or satellite presses currently on the market. 

3D-Grafik NEW-YORK
Both our compact models are available as floor-mounted versions with adjacent reelstands for standard industrial buildings with low roof clearance, but they can also be configured with underfloor reelstands. A unique feature of the waterless Cortina and conventional wet offset Commander CT is that they can be stacked to form eight-high towers, eg for press extensions or new installations in existing high press halls where there are restrictions on press length. They can therefore eliminate the need to relocate to greenfield sites by enabling capacity to be expanded at existing premises. And with energy prices heading skywards, substantial bottom-line benefits can be gained from limiting the size of the production hall and thus energy consumption for climate control. 

On top of this there are ergonomic benefits to be gained, since the press crew can access the individual printing couples via platform lifts on either side of the tower and one in the middle for maintenance work, so they no longer have to climb stairs. The reduced press height also means that the crew have a clearer overview of the entire installation. The compact design thus creates a more attractive workplace that enhances staff motivation and reduces physical strain, particularly for older workers whose numbers are sure to increase in many countries as a consequence of demographic changes. 

Conclusion: Our innovative compact press range, KBA Competence, embracing our keyless, waterless Cortina and conventional wet offset Commander CT, is a timely response to demands by newspaper publishers and the workplace expectations of future production staff. 

Technical data

Commander CT 4/2 


Maximum output1)

90,000 cph straight

Web width2)

1,200 - 1,680 mm (471/4 - 661/4 in)

Cylinder circumference 2)

900 - 1,197 mm (351/2 - 47 in)



Commander CT 6/2 


Maximum output 1)

90,000 cph straight

Maximum web width 2)

2,100 mm (823/4 in)

Cylinder circumference2)

900 - 1,156 mm (351/2 - 47 in)



Compact design 

Four-high tower just 4.5 m (14 ft 9 in) high


Eight-high tower approx. 10 m (32 ft 10 in) high


Approx. 50% less fan-out



Printing units 

Plate and blanket cylinders in one line


DriveTronic dedicated drives for cylinders and inking units


RollerTronic remote-controlled roller locks


NipTronic linear bearer system to optimise impression pressure


PlateTronic automatic plate change (option)


CleanTronic integrated blanket washing


FanoTronic fan-out compensation (option)


Plate-Ident automatic plate recognition (option)



Inking/dampening units 

New-generation film inking units with three forme rollers


Undershot ink ducts


Pump version (option)


Throw-on bridge roller


Triple-roller spray dampening unit


Dual washing system for inking and dampening units



KBA Pastomat CL reelstand 


Maximum reel diameter3)

1,524 mm (60 in)

Maximum reel weight3)

6 t (13,228 lbs)



KBA Pastomat C reelstand 


Maximum reel diameter:

1,270 mm (50 in)

Maximum reel weight:

1.8 t (3,680 lbs)



KBA KF 3 folder 

2:3:3 cylinder ratio

Maximum capacity:

80 broadsheet pages straight



KBA KF 5 folder 

2:5:5 cylinder ratio

Maximum capacity:

120 broadsheet pages straight



KBA KF 7 folder 

2:7:7 cylinder ratio

Maximum capacity:

144 broadsheet pages straight



KBA RF 3 folder 

3:2 cylinder ratio

Maximum capacity:

160 broadsheet pages straight



1) depending on format and folder
more on request
depending on reelstand version 

Video prodotti: Commander CT

  • Commander CT
  • Commander CT - Compact design
  • Commander CT - Inking and dampening units
  • Commander CT - Automation modules
  • Commander CT - Superstructure and folder
  • Commander CT - Drives/console
  • Commander CT - Paper logistics
  • Commander CT - Production flexibility
  • Commander CT - The future ist CompacT