Following KBA’s acquisition of Planeta in 1994, the KBA Rapida 142 was one of the first new presses launched. Unveiled in 1995, the machine borrowed some features, such as the gripper and perfecting systems, from its predecessor, the Planeta Varimat. But it was mainly a new design that reflected KBA’s innovative nature.
“It was necessary for the newly formed company to launch a modern press with the latest technical innovations of the day,” explains Dave Lewis, general manager sheetfed at KBA Australasia.
What gave the machine an edge was its double-sized impression cylinders and skeleton transfer drums. This enabled the press to be more flexible in terms of the range of substrates it could handle.
“There are also plinths to raise the press by up to 630mm, while non-stop systems, both manual and automated, at feeder and delivery permit smooth pile changes at full production speed,” adds Lewis.
The press is available in up to 10 colours with or without perfecting and can handle substrates from 40gsm up to fluted boards. If not in use, the inking units can be disengaged from the press drive. Inline finishing options are also available and can include up to four coating towers for various coatings and finishes, including metallics.
“In addition, presses for packaging printers should ideally be equipped with the Rapida CX carton package.
“A full range of drying equipment has been incorporated into many presses, including UV, IR and Warm Air,” says Lewis.
Other features include automated pre-setting, fully automatic plate changing and faster ACR ink control for faster register corrections. With the machine’s multi-function automatic washes
system, it can run blanket and roller washing simultaneously. In addition, its Drivetronic feeder allows for continuous ‘jerk-free’ lifting of the piles.
It all added up to a machine that could churn out commercial print, such as leaflets and brochures, point of sale, books and an array of packaging applications. Other large-format
models in the Rapida range include the Rapida 130 and 162.
In 2004 the machine was given a makeover to bring its features inline with B1 presses, which were getting faster and more automated. The press’s quality control systems Densitronic, Qualitronic and Logotronic can be retrofitted to older models depending on the machine’s age. Qualitronic is an in-press colour control and image content checking system that measures and checks every printed sheet during the run. It corrects colour deviations and identifies print faults.
A new Rapida 142 with six units plus coater costs from $3.6m, while a 2005 press might go for around $1.8m. When buying secondhand, check the gears and whether there is any damage to the cylinders. “Also check the infeed system if it’s a carton press,” adds Lewis.
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