KBA to launch digital inkjet press at drupa

KBA and RR Donnelley’s agreement will see them develop, manufacture and sell piezoelectric-based digital inkjet machines for the commercial, newspaper, packaging and security sectors. Through the partnership, KBA has licensed RR Donnelley’s existing Apollo digital technology to use in its own presses. The companies say the technology will debut at the drupa 2012, which is being held in Dusseldorf next May.

RR Donnelley is no stranger to technological innovation, it was the company that drove the CTP revolution in the early 1990s when it asked the then unknown Canadian company Creo to partner with it in developing CTP, which at the time didn’t exist, resulting in a technology which changed the industry.

Helge Hansen, chief executive officer of KBA says, “Seeking to expand the industry’s broadest product range, KBA has spent the last 18 months assessing both current and future digital printing technologies from around the world. In our analysis, it was clear that RR Donnelley was positioned to partner with us from a digital print technology, experience, and scale perspective.”

Thomas Quinlan, president and chief executive officer at RR Donnelley, says, “We look forward to having the combined R&D resources of nearly 1,000 engineers and imaging scientists bring forward the next generation of digital imaging technologies. This relationship will benefit the customers we serve today and enable RR Donnelley innovations to be introduced to customers in segments that we do not yet address.”

Hansen agrees and concludes, “It’s more than a sales and service agreement for existing technology. We look forward to jointly reinvigorating this industry with new digital imaging platforms.”

The new agreement between KBA and RR Donnelley caps a remarkable three months for the big three German offset manufacturers of Heidelberg, manroland and KBA in their digital strategies, which has seen first manroland partner with Oce, then Heidelberg team up with Ricoh, and now KBA in with RR Donnelley, although the latter pairing is the only one that so far has announced a new joint press development. Initially Heidelberg’s approach is to market integrated production with Anicolor offset, Ricoh digital press, and Prinect workflow, while manroland is looking to place its own web offset folding systems on the back of Oce high speed inkjet presses, whereas the KBA RR Donnelley deal will see a brand new pressline developed.

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