On 28 February, some 30 packaging printers from Great Britain joined a corresponding delegation from South Korea at the KBA facility in Radebeul near Dresden to get information on the latest trends in the printing and finishing of packaging products.
The group included a number of representatives from international packaging companies, such as Chesapeake, but also printers who have not used KBA technology to date.
The first of the print demonstrations presented by KBA head of sheetfed marketing Jürgen Veil took place on a six-colour Rapida 145 with inline coater. This large-format press from the newest generation could be seen in operation at speeds of up to 17,000 sph with 250 and 600 g/m2 substrates. The highlights included a fast job changeover with simultaneous plate changing using DriveTronic SPC, and different coating effects based on the latest UV technology from KBA. The switch from a dispersion coating for the first job to matt-gloss special effects for the second was accomplished in next to no time, despite requiring also conversion from conventional to UV coating in the coater tower. Another feature catering for situations typical in packaging printing: Non-stop pile changing at the feeder and delivery, in combination with fully automatic substrate logistics.
For the next demonstrations, the group moved on to a six-colour Rapida 106 coater press with a raised foundation for increased pile heights. After production at full press speed with a 350 g/m2 GD2 board, a job using heavy display board with a thickness of almost 1 mm was printed at 13,000 sph and finished with drip-off effect coating (oil-based overprint varnish through the last inking unit and gloss dispersion coating in the coater). Here, again, the presentation spotlighted the fully automatic non-stop and logistics systems which are already well proven with KBA Rapida users out in the field.
The guests were then treated to the ultimate in product refinement on a six-colour Rapida 106 in a double-coating configuration with inline ColdFoiler unit. After simple dispersion coating, a five-colour folding carton for hair colouring was refined by adding a cold-foil finish. The special feature of this process is the optimisation of foil application by way of web splitting (division into several narrower ribbons, which can then be aligned precisely to the areas of the printed sheet requiring foil) and MFU (= multiple foil use): The foil web runs through the impression gap several times, and thus minimises foil consumption by reducing the area which is left unused. But even this sophisticated configuration is today not the maximum of what is feasible, as explained by KBA sales manager Roland Gebauer and illustrated with the example of a Rapida 106 comprising 19 printing and finishing units at Amcor Tobacco Packaging in Switzerland.
After all the technical information, time was naturally taken also for evening sightseeing in the historical city centre of Dresden and for a get-together in a traditional Saxon restaurant.