Rapida PRO 75 breakthroughs in half format market

KBA repeats high configuration carton press installs in India

At the official hand-over of the Rapida 75 PRO to the Hucai Group. L-R: Walter Zehner, CEO, KBA Greater China; Chen Chengwen, president of the Hucai Group; Dietmar Heyduck, sales director KBA-Sheetfed; Stephan Weiser, sales manager, KBA-Sheetfed. Photo KBA

Even with market disruptions, India’s 7% GDP growth and strong consumer spending continues to drive the food, nonfood, pharma and cosmetics packaging markets. As in the metal, glass, plastic, and flexible markets (regularly covered by our monthly Packaging South Asia), the Indian carton market continues to expand capacities led by the multi-locational printer converters. 

KBA’s Indian distributor Indo Polygraph Machinery has a strong pipeline for highly configured multicolor presses for the 2017- 18 financial year. These come on the back of a strong FY 16-17 with multiple press installations and repeat orders by Parksons Packaging, TCPL, ITC P&SPPD and York Printers. A significant number of these carton presses came to East and North-East India in what must be seen as long-awaited economic development in the region, if not as an industrial upsurge as yet.

The past financial year also saw an installation of a KBA Rapida 75 PRO, which represents a positive activity for KBA and Indo Polygraph, hitherto considered competitive only in the 105-106 format and especially in the 7-color coater full UV press high configurations with full automation options. Another Rapida 75 PRO is already scheduled for installation at York Printers in East India in the current financial year, together with five Rapida 105 and 106 presses ordered. A significant development is that pharma carton converters have also started looking at and buying full-UV curing offset presses, and Award Offset in Western India has ordered a Rapida 105 7-color plus coater full UV press. 

The 2017-18 year’s KBA pipeline for India already has five presses in the 105 and 106 format and one Rapida 75 PRO that are currently under installation or shipping. One can expect at least seven or eight highly configured presses to be installed before 31 March 2018. 

The Rapida 75 PRO, which seems to have made KBA competitive in the Indian half-format sheetfed offset market, is a new press with the company’s user-friendly TouchTronic operation wherein all operating functions can be accessed with a maximum of two taps on the corresponding screen buttons. ‘Onebutton job changes’ helps reduce make-ready time by up to 50%. All preselected functions are activated in time-optimised order at the press of a button. Fast changeovers and make-readies on KBA presses have been noticed by Indian customers, although there is still room for improvement given what the technology allows and encourages.

DriveTronic SIS feeder 

The productivity of the Rapida 75 PRO has been raised with standard printing speeds of up to 15,000 sheets an hour and an optional high-speed package for 16,000 sheets an hour. KBA, which has always had strong feeders including DriveTronic with four servo motors, is now providing an optional Sensoric Infeed System (SIS) with electronically controlled lateral sheet alignment for its Rapida series. 

The entire feeder and feed table till the first print unit include automation features using new optics and pneumatics for aligning and delivering sheets with accurate positioning and gentleness that make for precise and timely sheet movement and consequently for the best opportunity for ink transfer. Apart from the pile side alignment with the SIS sensor, the sheet monitoring uses an ultrasonic double-sheet detector and a multiple sheet detector suitable for a variety of substrates.

In addition to the skew-sheet correction at the feeder head, optical skewed sheet sensors aid in alignment. New optical front lay sensors activate electro-pneumatics that prevent sheets from overshooting the front lays. Apart from automated format and other substrate settings, KBA new feeders are key to the concept of nonstop feeding and printing and for this reason they are ready for integration in logistics systems.

2023 promises an interesting ride for print in India

Indian Printer and Publisher founded in 1979 is the oldest B2B trade publication in the multi-platform and multi-channel IPPGroup. While the print and packaging industries have been resilient in the past 33 months since the pandemic lockdown of 25 March 2020, the commercial printing and newspaper industries have yet to recover their pre-Covid trajectory.

The fragmented commercial printing industry faces substantial challenges as does the newspaper industry. While digital short-run printing and the signage industry seem to be recovering a bit faster, ultimately their growth will also be moderated by the progress of the overall economy. On the other hand book printing exports are doing well but they too face several supply-chain and logistics challenges.

The price of publication papers including newsprint has been high in the past year while availability is diminished by several mills shutting down their publication paper and newsprint machines in the past four years. Indian paper mills are also exporting many types of paper and have raised prices for Indian printers. To some extent, this has helped in the recovery of the digital printing industry with its on-demand short-run and low-wastage paradigm.

Ultimately digital print and other digital channels will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future. For instance, there is no alternative to a rise in textbook consumption but this segment will only reach normality in the next financial year beginning on 1 April 2023.

Thus while the new normal is a moving target and many commercial printers look to diversification, we believe that our target audiences may shift and change. Like them, we will also have to adapt with agility to keep up with their business and technical information needs.

Our 2023 media kit is ready, and it is the right time to take stock and reconnect with your potential markets and customers. Print is the glue for the growth of liberal education, new industry, and an emerging economy. We seek your participation in what promises to be an interesting ride.

– Naresh Khanna

Subscribe Now


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here