Canadian Packaging

KBA North America lights up Graph Expo 2014

Announcements of multiple new sheetfed installations and strategic initiatives including success in sheetfed sales and new inkjet corrugated packaging press collaboration with HP; new RotaJET L-Series modular inkjet press, and agreement with Tensor International has KBA smiling.

October 20, 2014   by Canadian Packaging Staff

KBA North America lit up Graph Expo 2014 in Chicago with a flurry of industry-leading announcements to further its leadership in the North American graphic arts industry. GRAPH EXPO 14 and co-located CPP EXPO was held September 28 – October 1, 2014 in Chicago’s McCormick Place.

“KBA certainly had a headline-grabbing show,” says KBA North America president and chief executive officer Mark Hischar. “We announced for the first time live at our press conference our Hewlett-Packard collaboration. During the four-day show, we demonstrated that KBA continues to innovate, welcome new customers to our KBA family, and add second and third press installations for our current users. By participating in Graph Expo, we were able to hold a number of high-level discussions with printers who were eager to learn more about our technological advances in offset, web, and digital. We were honored to have Oliver Baar, KBA project manager for business development, digital web presses, join us from the KBA Group in Germany. He had the pleasure of introducing the new RotaJET L-Series and was kept quite busy with booth visits from prospective customers. It was a very successful show and put a bright spotlight on our company.”

Hischar also discussed not only KBA’s growth and product portfolio but emphasized its hiring of many new employees in all areas of its organization.

“With our continual goal of being the easiest company to do business with, we recently implemented several initiatives for training and education of our staff and customers,” he says. “All of these initiatives support our growing market share in sheetfed offset presses and further expansion into the packaging industry. Our sheetfed sales have been strong with many unique configurations and new quality control enhancements as well as KBA-only automation features that have been able to fuel our customer satisfaction and growth.”

It was at the annual KBA press conference on Monday morning where Hischar addressed the crowded gathering of nearly 50 international journalists and announced the HP collaboration. KBA will collaborate with Hewlett-Packard to develop a high-speed, roll-to-roll thermal inkjet solution for the high-volume corrugated packaging market. The joint venture will be HP-branded and sold through the HP distribution channel.

The new press will help packaging converters increase productivity, scalability, and versatility, says Hischar. “This new inkjet press incorporates the strengths of both companies,” he said. “KBA’s strengths in paper handling, manufacturing, and packaging market expertise will be utilized along with HP’s strengths in IT and inkjet technology and distribution capabilities for digital press solutions.”

Technical specifications, product timeline, and other details will be disclosed as they become available.

Oliver Baar, KBA project manager for business development, digital web presses, who flew from Germany especially to make this important international announcement, introduced the new RotaJET L-Series, a high-volume, ultra-flexible modular inkjet press with a detailed product overview and presentation.

“The RotaJET-L Series is not a press, it’s a press concept,” notes Baar. “The main objective is its flexibility.”

Width, color, speed, and quality can all be upgraded on-site. The new series comprises five models, from the 35-inch-wide RotaJET 89 up to the 50-inch RotaJET 130. The L-Series is absolutely future-proof, said Baar, thus being able to support new printhead configurations, resolution capabilities, and other upgrades.

This was followed up with another exciting revelation: a strategic alliance with Tensor International, the premier U.S. manufacturer of single-width web offset press systems, to jointly market Tensor’s equipment solutions to the semi-commercial, insert and newspaper print markets worldwide. Under the terms of the agreement, KBA will actively promote Tensor’s single-width printing solutions.

KBA also highlighted its growth into the flexible packaging market with its new KBA-Flexotecnica subsidiary for flexible packaging. As of January 1, 2014, KBA North America became the exclusive distributor for Flexotecnica’s flexible packaging presses in North America. With this announcement, KBA expanded its strong market position in the folding carton market into another growing packaging segment. KBA-Flexotecnica develops, builds, distributes and services central-impression flexographic presses for printing on flexible packaging materials.

With these announcements, KBA bolstered its already wide-ranging portfolio of printing presses and its solutions for commercial printing, folding carton packaging, newspaper, flexible packaging, plastic cards, security printing, digital printing, signage and POP, metal decorating, and glass and plastic container decorating.

“KBA is the large-format press manufacturer of choice,” says Hischar. “We have over 1,200 large format presses running around the world. In North America we have the most knowledgeable and skilled technical support teams to ensure our customers’ success. Over half of the large-format press installations in North America are KBA. For over 80 years, we’ve been the leader supplying large-format presses to the packaging industry.”

Newspaper publishers visited the KBA booth to discuss its newest offerings including the popular Unique Advertising Format (UAF). One popular example is the “Give Me 5” ad insert, which was on display at GRAPH EXPO 14, that creates five different ads when opened in the correct way by creative folding, gluing and perforation of three center spreads with two “zips” for tearing off.

KBA’s expert Service Select team of highly-trained technicians was kept busy demonstrating live press analysis for both sheetfed and web from the show floor. Attendees learned about Service Select, a complete line of customized service products designed to maximize the productivity and profitability of a customer’s KBA press, how it helps KBA customers identify critical function areas that may be influencing productivity using press historical data, and the comprehensive support team that can’t be duplicated by any other manufacturer.

KBA North America is located in Dallas, TX and a member of the KBA Group. Established almost 200 years ago in Wuerzburg, Germany, Koenig & Bauer AG (KBA) is the oldest and second largest press manufacturer worldwide. KBA’s banner, ‘People & Print’, reflects its dual focus as a leading innovator for print entrepreneurs. The group’s product range is the broadest in the industry; its portfolio includes commercial and newspaper web presses, sheetfed offset presses in all format classes, inkjet systems and presses, flexographic presses, special presses for banknotes, securities, metal-decorating, smart cards, glass and plastic decorating. For more information visit the company’s web site at

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