At drupa last year, KBA celebrated the official launch of the Rapida 145, its latest series of high-performance large-format presses in format VI (106 x 145 cm).
In the meantime, almost 40 customers have taken delivery of the new presses, which are engineered for production speeds up to 17,000 sph. At the beginning of 2013, but without pomp or a special welcome party, the Rapida 145 was joined by its almost identically equipped and automated “big sister”, the KBA Rapida 164 in format VIIb (120.5 x 164 cm). With a maximum production speed of 15,000 sph (with high-speed package) and extremely short makeready times, KBA has once again redefined the yardstick for this format class. The new Rapida 164 supersedes the vastly successful Rapida 162 and 162a series, which could rightly be described as institutions on the book printing and packaging markets. They were first presented in 1995 and had received several technical makeovers over the intervening years. With the Rapida 164, practically all the automation solutions and highlights of the medium-format makeready world champion Rapida 106 are now also available in format VII.
The new press incorporates the same DriveTronic components as the Rapida 106 and Rapida 145. The format has also been enlarged slightly relative to the predecessor series, namely by two centimetres in the sheet width and half a centimetre in the sheet length compared to the Rapida 162a.
Consistent DriveTronic implementation
The “KBA DriveTronic” concept stands for dedicated drive technologies, maximum operator convenience and exceptionally fast makeready and job changes. Consistent implementation of the modern drive concept on the Rapida 164 starts at the shaftless DriveTronic feeder with its individual, direct drives for all controlled motions. DriveTronic Infeed provides for motorised adjustment of the front lays, and a touchscreen display with direct function keys ensures reliable and intuitive press operation. One feature which is not only new in this format class, but indeed unique to KBA, is the sidelay-free infeed DriveTronic SIS. Besides avoiding marking issues with sensitive substrates, the sidelay-free infeed eliminates all need for operator intervention and guarantees the highest possible alignment accuracy.
In addition to the plate changing variants SAPC (semi-automatic; change time approx. 110 seconds per unit) and FAPC (fully automatic, with new optimised change process; change time 3 minutes for all units), the Rapida 164 can now also be configured with plate cylinder direct drive for simultaneous plate changing (DriveTronic SPC). In this case, the total plate changing time is reduced to just 110 seconds, irrespective of the press length.
Fast washing processes
When the Rapida 164 is equipped with DriveTronic SPC, the blankets and impression cylinders can both be washed parallel to the plate changing. To this end, the press possesses a second washing beam (CleanTronic Synchro). The two washing beams can also be used together for blanket washing – for a time saving of up to 50 per cent. But CleanTronic Synchro is not the only feature geared to shorter washing times. With the function ReInk, ink roller washing – normally one of the longest makeready processes on the press – is accomplished in 90 seconds. CleanTronic Multi, furthermore, provides a multi-purpose washing circuit to permit the use of different solvent types (UV/conventional), and in this way guarantees a first-class wash-up without time-consuming manual cleaning for users who need to switch frequently between different ink systems. With CleanTronic UV, blankets can be washed while the UV lamps are in standby mode, and the CleanPrint function can even replace blanket washing altogether with short runs, through targeted stripping of the remaining ink from plate and blanket.
High automation for coating forme changes