Streamlined KBA press portfolio
Christoph Müller, who as executive vice-president of web press engineering, marketing, sales and service, presented KBA’s press portfolio which has been streamlined to meet current market demands. This includes the single-width Continent (2/1) and Comet (2/2) web presses which are well-positioned on the global market, the very flexibly automated new Commander CL in 4/1, 4/2 and 6/2 configuration (up to 1,730mm/68in web width) and the two extensively automated high-end Commander CT (wet offset 4/2 and 6/2) and Cortina (waterless 4/1, 4/2 and 6/2) presses. KBA only offers the traditional Commander with 9-cylinder satellites for 6/2 production in wide web widths from 2,100mm (82.7in). Over the past years contracts have focused on the technological advantages of the four-high tower blanket-to-blanket printing process.
Medium-term option: Digital printing with the KBA RotaJet
KBA has noticed keen interest from the newspaper industry in the RotaJET 76 digital press, which was showcased at Drupa. According to Christoph Müller with the high-volume inkjet web press, which is currently available with a web width of 781mm (30.7in), the company is addressing the books, direct mail and advertising market segments which digital printing is especially suited given their print run structure and individualised requirements. In newspaper production digital printing, with a market share of significantly less than 1 per cent, is not yet widespread due to its typically high print runs and associated economic reasons. Notwithstanding as a second step KBA will also offer the RotaJET in suitable formats to such printing houses, which alongside printing newspapers in smaller print runs aim to economically produce supplements and other products digitally also. In his overview of the market, Christoph Müller pointed out regional differences in development. The negative impact of the sovereign debt crisis and a weak economy in many countries has caused demand for new web presses in 2012 to be somewhat below last year’s. This is particularly true in southern Europe, but also for other countries. However, KBA has recorded installations and new projects especially in Germany, Scandinavia, Middle East, Africa and China. This contrasts with the current reluctance to invest in Central Eastern Europe, south east Asia, Australia and Latin America. In addition to this, the slump in investment in the USA persists. Decisions and financing take much longer than prior to the financial crisis. Investment in replacements dominates in industrial countries. Expanding capacity can only be seen in threshold countries.
Cortina order from Europe and first Commander CL for China
Following a large Cortina hybrid press which recently went live at Gulf News in Dubai, Christoph Müller reported of a further order of a Cortina with three printing towers and two hot-air dryers from a European user (Separate press release to follow asap). In the high-tech sector, the Commander CT is the leader in the newspaper sector regarding new installations with 25 presses, most of which are already in operation.
In the past twelve months alone, twelve double- and triple-width Commander CTs have gone live in Germany, England, Austria, Sweden and Italy. Given current market conditions, the Commander CL (=CLassic); showcased at IFRA Expo in Vienna a year ago, has had a very successful start. Along with five presses going to Germany and the USA, shortly before the tradeshow in Frankfurt also the first Chinese newspaper house has opted for a semi-commercial Commander CL with two four-high towers and a hot-air dryer (See press release “Guiyang Daily in China orders KBA Commander CL”).