Koenig & Bauer jubilee celebrations in Radebeul

Largest engineering company in Saxony

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Koenig & Bauer
The first printing press factory in Radebeul-Naundorf

On 29 September, Koenig & Bauer celebrated the 125th anniversary of its location in Radebeul near Dresden in Germany.

With its 1,800 employees, the factory is today considered the largest engineering company in Saxony. It is the modern-day successor to Dresdner Schnellpressenfabrik, the company founded on Blasewitzer Straße in Dresden in 1898 by Joseph Hauss and Alfred Sparbert. It relocated to Brockwitz just two years later before moving premises again in 1911, namely to Radebeul-Naundorf, where the company still has its offices today.

Innovative solutions for the print industry

The company caught the attention of the world market from the very beginning. The first in a stream of innovative solutions was a ‘fixture for moving the printing foundation of high-speed printing presses’, the planetary drive, which lent its name to decades of press models and was adopted as the name for the whole company from 1938. 

In 1932, Planeta produced the world’s first four-color sheetfed offset press. Another world first designed in Radebeul was a unit-based sheetfed offset press unveiled in 1965. This design principle has since become the accepted norm and has remained the industry standard to this day.

More recent developments with which Koenig & Bauer continues to set international benchmarks in sheetfed offset include automation solutions such as the sidelay-free infeed DriveTronic SIS, fully automatic plate logistics and a variety of digitization options. Rapida sheetfed offset presses today deliver an unrivaled performance in many format classes and are also make-ready world champions.

There were, unavoidably, also a few lows and darker periods to be endured over the course of 125 years of manufacturing at the location. These included two world wars, hyperinflation and currency reforms, the planned economy of the GDR years, subsequent restructuring for a market economy and the catastrophic Elbe floods of 2002. Time and again, however, the employees stood by their company – with passionate commitment, consummate skill and countless good ideas for ways to advance the fortunes of the press engineering.

Complete solutions for packaging and folding carton production

Today, the Koenig & Bauer factory in Radebeul represents much more than just the group’s value centre for classic sheetfed offset. It also bundles all group activities relating to an integrated packaging production workflow. The current product portfolio in Radebeul includes rotary die-cutters based on the offset press platform. Flat-bed die-cutters are supplied by subsidiary Koenig & Bauer Iberica in Barcelona. Added to this are the folder-gluers contributed by Koenig & Bauer Duran in Istanbul. In this way, products from Koenig & Bauer cover the entire process chain of folding carton production.

Alongside sheetfed offset presses, Radebeul design engineers working within the framework of a joint venture with the company Durst have developed the VariJET 106, a digital printing press that combines the strengths of inkjet with the benefits of an offset process. By bringing together important elements of the two processes, the new press raises packaging printing to the next level and enables the production of innovative, future-oriented packaging solutions. The first presses in this series were put into operation by users over the past few months.

Strong player far beyond the company group

The Radebeul factory is today the largest Koenig & Bauer location and home to three business units: Koenig & Bauer Sheetfed, responsible for the market segments sheetfed offset and post-press equipment (including development, production, sales and service), Koenig & Bauer Industrial as an internal and external production services provider, and Koenig & Bauer Deutschland as the sales and service company for the German, Austrian and Swiss markets.

All three business units are fundamental elements of the overall Koenig & Bauer Group. At the same time, together with our many suppliers and business partners, they form a sound basis for the local and regional labor market in the Upper Elbe valley. With an export ratio of almost 90 per cent, Koenig & Bauer can also point to an international trade performance well ahead of the Saxon and German national averages (36 and 40.7% respectively).

Employee festivities and other jubilee highlights

The Radebeul location is celebrating its 125th anniversary in numerous ways. On 23 August, Saxon minister-president Michael Kretschmer visited the factory and answered questions from the employees within the framework of an informal ‘barbecue chat’.

On 29 September, a day of special festivities was organized for the employees. Current and former members of the supervisory and executive management boards also attended. The festivities gave the employees an opportunity to experience ‘their’ company in a different light – with a party marquee and activity stalls, with cultural and musical highlights, and with refreshments for every taste. Michael Kretschmer also passed on his congratulations in the form of a video message in which he emphazised, “For me, it is magnificent to see how you have guided a factory location with such great traditions into the future.”

Further events with customers, shareholders, business partners and employees from other group locations are planned for October. Mention must also be made of a richly illustrated commemorative book that offers unusual insights into what goes on behind the scenes in printing press manufacturing and introduces some of the 1,800 employees through a series of gripping stories.

In 2024, we are looking at full recovery and growth-led investment in Indian printing

Indian Printer and Publisher founded in 1979 is the oldest B2B trade publication in the multi-platform and multi-channel IPPGroup. It created the category of privately owned B2B print magazines in the country. And by its diversification in packaging, (Packaging South Asia), food processing and packaging (IndiFoodBev) and health and medical supply chain and packaging (HealthTekPak), and its community activities in training, research, and conferences (Ipp Services, Training and Research) the organization continues to create platforms that demonstrate the need for quality information, data, technology insights and events.

India is a large and tough terrain and while its book publishing and commercial printing industry have recovered and are increasingly embracing digital print, the Indian newspaper industry continues to recover its credibility and circulation. The signage industry is also recovering and new technologies and audiences such as digital 3D additive printing, digital textiles, and industrial printing are coming onto our pages. Diversification is a fact of life for our readers and like them, we will also have to adapt with agility to keep up with their business and technical information needs.

India is one of the fastest growing economies in nominal and real terms – in a region poised for the highest change in year to year expenditure in printing equipment and consumables. Our 2024 media kit is ready, and it is the right time to take stock – to emphasize your visibility and relevance to your customers and turn potential markets into conversations.

– Naresh Khanna

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