Battlefield Press installs KBA-Iberica Optima 106 Die Cutter from KBA Canada

From left are: Jerry Theoret, President and CEO of Battlefield Press; Matt Theoret, Battlefield’s Director of Production; and Aleks Lajtman, Koenig & Bauer (KBA) Regional Sales Manager, at the new KBA-Iberica Optima 106 die cutter.
From left are: Jerry Theoret, President and CEO of Battlefield Press; Matt Theoret, Battlefield Press’ Director of Production; and Aleks Lajtman, Koenig & Bauer (KBA) Canada Regional Sales Manager, beside the new KBA-Iberica Optima 106 Die Cutter.

Battlefield Press, a family-owned, full-service printer located in Burlington, Ontario, was founded in 1964. Now in its third generation, Battlefield has separated itself from its North American competitors by applying its superior craftsmanship – with specific expertise in utilizing UV techniques. Central to its success, Battlefield’s management team has had to make tough decisions over the years to better offer its customers top quality, faster turnarounds and competitive pricing. That’s why it needed to replace a older die cutter from a different manufacturer with a new KBA-Iberica Optima 106 Die Cutter earlier this year from KBA Canada.

“Since we serve very high-end customers, it was extremely important to us to buy the best-made die cutter,” said Jerry Theoret, President of Battlefield. “For us, that meant it had to be European-built. Due to our prior bad experiences, we would’t consider anything made in China, so that eliminated a lot of machines.” The shop learned that the Optima 106 machine is capable of handling production of paper, cardboard, plastic and corrugated boards up to 1.5 mm, providing much needed flexibility for it varied jobs. It could also offer better running speeds for faster productivity and efficiency. Wanting to see where the die cutters are manufactured, Battlefield’s management team even traveled to KBA-Iberica’s factory in Barcelona, Spain to see how the machines are built.

KBA-Iberica Optima 106 Die Cutter.
KBA-Iberica Optima 106 Die Cutter.

“After our visit, we left the meeting very impressed,” said Theoret. “So much so that we signed an order three days later for a KBA-Iberica Optima 106 Die Cutter. We felt the sales team was very professional, knowledgeable, and responsive. From the moment we met them, they answered all of our questions immediately and were alert to our needs throughout the entire process.” In early May of 2018, Battlefield’s 45,000-sq.-ft., one-storey Burlington production facility took possession of the new die-cutter. KBA-Iberica’s training team came to Battlefield’s facility to teach the operators how to use the new die cutter.

“Although we’ve only had the die cutter up and running jobs for less than a month, the early reviews from our team are that the machine is providing faster make-readies, runs much faster than our previous machines, and the sheets are much easier to strip,” Theoret added. “We’re thrilled with its operator-friendly innovations and ease of handling. It’s been an important addition to our post-press department allowing us to keep all of our jobs in-house and permitting us to die-cut from 29.5” up to 41.5” press sheets. Plus, it’s performed magnificently for our customer’s demanding work.”

Theoret is also looking forward to utilizing some of the cutter’s special features – particularly its unique grip edge removal and its die cutting of clear plastic substrates. The grip edge removal system with pneumatic clamps fixes the wooden templates for optimal and secure positioning and reduced make-ready time. With this unique system only found on KBA-Iberica models, effective removal of grip edge trim is achieved on each job. “A big part of our business is to produce very high quality work on diverse substrates, including clear plastic,” said Theoret. “We’re pleased that the Optima 106 features an anti-static kit for the feeder head and table, providing us with improved performance when die-cutting plastic materials. We didn’t have these features or operations on our previous die cutters.” As the 60-employee business looks to the future with the new die cutter and other key equipment purchases, Theoret believes that the company can grow by 15%-20% each year, with a goal of posting a 50% increase in revenue over the next three years.

Battlefield Press was founded in 1964 and was one of the first in Ontario to offer four-colour printing. In the 1990s, the firm led the industry in Canada by incorporating digital printing and workflow technology. By 2005, it was also the only printer in Canada to offer 12-colour perfector printing. In 2016, it was the first Canadian printer to win Sappi’s Printer of the Year Award. The company has built its reputation by producing automotive, pharmaceutical, in-store POP, direct-mail and product package printing. Battlefield also prints everything from catalogues, books, maps, decals, boxes, banners, signs and more using specialty coatings – from matte and gloss UV (usually in a single pass) to clear foil deboss. It can also print on everything from 40 lb. text to 40 pt. vinyl.

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Tony Curcio is the editor of Graphic Arts Magazine.