Marketing director Klaus Schmidt explained that the slogan “sprinting ahead” also serves to spotlight the encouraging opportunities for print in the multimedia age. As an innovative press manufacturer, KBA intends to remain active in helping to shape the future of print. That was one of the reasons behind the group's move into digital print and the merging of digital inkjet technologies with analogue offset print. Despite the importance of thrift, the Drupa stand is the same size as in 2008, and the number of innovations on show has even been increased. The five sheetfed offset presses in small, half, medium and large format (three of which are completely new), three web offset installations for commercial, packaging and newspaper print (two of which are completely new) and the new inkjet web press from KBA will be complemented by a five-colour Rapida 106 coater for waterless UV offset and a Genius 52UV on the neighbouring stand of Japanese partner Toray Industries. The comprehensively equipped Rapida106 is configured for eco-friendly production on plastic films and other high-quality substrates.
KBA RotaJET 76: digital print from the offset experts
The round of Drupa innovation previews began with a high-volume web-fed inkjet press of the latest generation for the on-demand or individualised production of four-colour books, brochures, commercial products, mailings and magazines. The KBA RotaJET 76 built at KBA in Würzburg was presented by new project manager Oliver Baar, an experienced specialist in the field of digital print. Engineered for a maximum web speed of 150mpm (493fpm) and web widths of up to 780mm (30.7in, corresponding to approx. 3,000 A4 pages/min or 85 million pages per month), the KBA RotaJET prints with water-based pigment inks. The state-of-the-art piezo inkjet heads are reliable in production and require only a minimum of maintenance. They have been designed for heavy-duty use and contribute to the high availability of the overall system. Frequent replacement is avoided and uninterrupted industrial production is guaranteed. Precision engineering from KBA is here the key to high print and register quality with the inkjet technology. This quality is only realised, however, in combination with precise web tension. The unwinder and infeed unit have thus been designed specifically for the RotaJET. Together with an ingeniously simple web lead without turning bars for four-colour production, they ensure excellent results. Web tension is controlled fully automatically. In this connection, Oliver Baar pointed out the greatly reduced waste compared to other press systems, as the RotaJET 76 is thus able to produce good copies even during the start-up phase. This permits considerably more efficient production and at the same time enhanced flexibility. An automatic reelstand with integration into automated paper logistics is to be made available in future as an option to further boost productivity. The web offset expertise is unmistakable.
The two arrays of 56 inkjet heads each (total 112) form an arch over large central impression cylinders for four-colour printing on both sides of the web, but can still be shifted aside for cleaning and maintenance purposes. This arrangement provides for optimum web guidance and facilitates an outstanding print quality even with problematic materials. The printing heads are cleaned and aligned automatically (stitching) to minimise manual intervention and ensure straightforward handling. The system offers a native print resolution is 600dpi, while the variable droplet size represents an additional quality plus. A dispersion coater is planned as a future option for further quality enhancement. Internal communication is compliant with the JDF standard, as is the integration with third-party systems – another feature which helps to optimise processes and lower costs. Drupa visitors will be able to witness personalised production driven through the popular Adobe APPE (Adobe PDF Print Engine) workflow. A powerful front-end is geared to the high data throughputs associated with industrial-scale PoD applications. With even the largest data volumes, the RotaJET 76 delivers full-colour variable production at maximum speed, without stoppage and waiting times. Another advantage, according to Oliver Baar, is that KBA speaks the language of generations of printers and understands the demands they place on systems, processes and final products.