At last year's Drupa KBA unveiled the Rapida 145 press series which offers outstanding performance in large format. The new KBA Rapida 164, available since the beginning of this year, also supersedes the vastly successful Rapida 162.
The Rapida 164 was officially showcased as part of an open house at KBA in Radebeul on 20 and 21 June. Over 300 existing and potential users of large-format sheetfed offset presses from over 15 predominantly European countries came to the Elbe valley in Saxony to view first-hand the new standard of performance in this format class and the great advances in process automation, makeready times and productivity for increasingly shorter runs.
Equipped for the production of packaging, a plinth-mounted six-colour Rapida 164 with coater and extended delivery was the focus of live demonstrations. Jürgen Veil, head of sheetfed marketing, introduced the automation components and presented the print demonstrations. The new Rapida 164 redefines the benchmarks in the 120.5 x 164cm (47.4 x 64.57in) format class. Thanks to dedicated drive technology and a high level of automation, time consuming manual adjustments are no longer required at the feeder. The press runs at a maximum output of 15,000sph simply by pressing two buttons. Like the Rapida 145, the Rapida 164 is equipped with DriveTronic SIS sidelay-free infeed. Along with automatic plate changing, there is also the option of DriveTronic SPC dedicated drives at the plate cylinders that support simultaneous plate changes in all printing units in only 100 seconds. Further makeready processes, such as washing with CleanTronic Synchro, are also possible in parallel. Similar to medium-format presses, when changing plates KBA Plate-Ident carries out on-press plate recognition, pre-registration and checks that the plates are correctly positioned. Even coating formes can be changed automatically while the press is printing, as can anilox roller sleeves. The high-flow doctor-blade chamber with a reduced filling volume is also a new feature. The increased speed at which the ink flows supports faster production speeds and optimised sheet brakes for commercial and packaging printing ensure an outstanding pile formation. Further new features found in the Rapida 164 include the AirTronic delivery, energy-saving VariDryBlue drying systems and the new ErgoTronic console with integrated measuring systems.
Simultaneous printing and makeready
The visitors then saw an everyday job change. The printing plates were mounted with DriveTronic SPC and after the first proof density measurements and colour register were checked. In less than four minutes the Rapida 164 produced a typical packaging job. Blue and silver were used in the fifth and sixth printing units as special inks. The following job change was really something special. Printing units one and two plus the coater were uncoupled during plate changing and blanket washing. The ink ducts were washed and the coating was pumped out likewise in parallel. In less than three minutes the first proof of the next job could be seen. Following register and density measurements, within five minutes a four-colour packaging job had started. While the press carried on printing at full speed, coating continued to be pumped out and anilox roller sleeves were changed in preparation for the next job. After the press was stopped, plate changes, blanket washing, coating forme changes and filling the doctor-blade chamber with new coating all took place simultaneously in under two minutes. Then the coater and printing units one and two were reconnected and after about six minutes the Rapida 164 was printing the next job. A world first in large format then rounded-off the demonstrations with the Flying JobChange between the first and sixth printing unit.