KBA sets world record in rotary die-cutting at 17,000 sheets per hour

Ralf Sammeck.
Ralf Sammeck.

Early last month, KBA-Sheetfed invited international print and finishing specialists to a series of Print & Postpress Innovation Days at the KBA’s facility in Radebeul near Dresden. Over 250 participants from 30 countries took the opportunity to gather information on the latest automation solutions for commercial, label and packaging printing, as well as postpress solutions. Ralf Sammeck, CEO of KBA-Sheetfed and member of the Executive Board of Koenig & Bauer AG (KBA), welcomed guests with an informative opening address, during which he highlighted both the group’s new brand image and the future visions of Koenig & Bauer. Sascha Fischer, head of Product Management, then spoke in more detail about the further development of innovative solutions for an increasingly automated printing process.

KBA Rapida RDC 106 Rotary Die-Cutter.
KBA Rapida RDC 106 Rotary Die-Cutter.

During a subsequent session, Mario Gerber, Senior Sales Manager for Postpress Solutions, introduced the KBA Rapida RDC 106 Rotary Die-Cutter, referring to it as a “game-changer for the die-cutting process.” He explained the design features that are shared with a Rapida printing press and the various process steps that can be implemented in the individual towers. These range from die-cutting and hole punching for in-mould and other label applications (via embossing, creasing, cutting and stripping for the processing of packaging products), through to tailored variations for commercial users. The machines offer cutting outputs of up to 15,000 sheets per hour, depending on the substrate and the required contours, and can thus match the speed of a modern sheetfed offset press. Productivity can be increased by up to 300% for label applications, and 65% for folding carton printers, said the OEM.

A four-unit Rapida RDC 106 began with a job requiring the creasing, cutting and stripping of a folding carton for pharmaceuticals. At the end of production, the machine was converted within just a few minutes for a completely different job – namely a pencil box printed during the morning session. Subsequent blanking was done offline on a Master Blanker from Laserck with a throughput of up to 20,000 sheets per hour. A single-unit Rapida RDC 106 rounded off the day by processing the in-mould and self-adhesive labels that had been printed on a six-colour Rapida 106 with coater and cold-foil module. Despite the challenging job change from classic die-cutting to kiss-cutting, the machine was back in production almost immediately. As the final highlight of the event, the Rapida RDC 106 then ran the self-adhesive label production at a world record speed of 17,000 sheets per hour!

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Tony Curcio is the editor of Graphic Arts Magazine.