Installation Update: U.S. packaging printer triples overall job throughput with Koenig & Bauer Rapida 145

Superior Lithographics’ Koenig & Bauer Rapida 145 7-colour press has been a workhorse since it was installed last summer.

Over the past year, Superior Lithographics (Los Angeles, California), a large-format printing specialist of litho sheets and top sheets for the corrugated box industry (as well as the printing and converting folding cartons), has seen impressive improvements in many vital areas – including product quality and data on product consistency, all stemming from the state-of-the-art colour and quality measuring systems outfitted on its new Koenig & Bauer Rapida 145 7-colour, 57-inch press.

“Since our new Koenig & Bauer Rapida 145 colour press was installed last summer, we’ve seen incredible improvements within our facility,” said Jeff Ku, Vice President of Operations. “Our data has shown a 32% increase in overall sheet throughput. We’ve also seen an impressive 25% decrease in make-ready times. All this has resulted in our company experiencing an overall growth in business.” In addition to maintaining the highest quality print for its customers, Superior Lithographics also has a passion for sustainability by utilizing recycled materials and solar panels – and now, new press technology that has reduced its waste production by 25%. Catering its folding carton production to a mix of well-known regional retail food vendors, Superior adapted quickly to the current trends toward shorter runs and exceptional colour consistency.

Jeff Ku.

An important consideration on the new Rapida was its 100% inspection system which “can catch errors that an operator can’t catch between press pulls and ensures that all sheets are alike,” Ku added. Having the new Rapida 145 designed as Superior’s first 7-colour press, the firm’s sales force can now offer new products while increasing its production flexibility. “Speed, quality and consistency are our calling cards,” Ku pointed out. “That’s what has propelled our sales to grow by 16% in one year, and we find ourselves at capacity even with production running 24/7. We’re also seeing growth in both of our main sectors. Our existing corrugated market remains strong with 60% of our business, even as we push further into the folding carton segment, which makes up 40% of our production.” In short, Superior Lithographics estimates that it has tripled overall production output in just over one year because of its new Koenig & Bauer Rapida 145.

Almost 50 years of experience in the building of large-format presses in unit design have gone into the current Rapida 145 model. With up to 14 printing and inline finishing units, some the most comprehensive large-format installations in the world have utilized Koenig & Bauer technology. Packaging printers in particular have used Koenig & Bauer sheetfed technology to improve productivity. With a huge array of innovations, Rapida 145 presses series are unique in their format class. As typical run lengths are continuing to decrease in large format printing, the automation and operating technology of these presses are geared to reducing make-ready times to levels that are already standard for modern, medium-format presses. At the same time, the high production speeds of up to 18,000 sheets per hour are ideal for longer runs. A diversity of inline measurement and control systems, including a full-scale inspection system for inline production monitoring, helps to ensure constantly high print quality while reducing possible errors. Other productivity-boosting innovations on the Rapida 145 include sidelay-free infeed DriveTronic SIS, simultaneous plate changing with SPC, pre-registration and plate identification, simultaneous coating forme changes with DriveTronic SFC, fast anilox roller changing with AniSleeve technology, and much more. Plus, highly sophisticated customer-specific press configurations can be achieved.

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