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Koenig & Bauer presents the future of print

Koenig & Bauer presented ten brand new digital products and technologies at drupa 2024. The innovations are the quintessential contribution by the industry’s oldest manufacturer to the core theme of its latest global get-together, a topic which has never before been so pivotal for the trade fair: the digitalisation of the world of print.

The central point of contact for access to the comprehensive suite of digital products is the myKyana portal, which enables seamless interaction with all digital offers. Each of the digital products integrated into myKyana supports Koenig & Bauer’s customers on their path to more efficiency and profitability. Kyana Connect establishes the fundamental infrastructure for consistent data exchanges and real-time data analysis. By using the performance dashboards that are a feature of Kyana Data, it has never been easier for users to analyse their key production figures.

A total of ten product and technology innovations from the Koenig & Bauer Digital Unit were the focus of drupa presentations planned by Sandra Wagner
with Ralf Sammeck.

To be able to handle jobs in record time in the dynamic environment of a modern printshop, immediate support in case of any questions or problems is decisive. This necessity was the driver behind development of the generative artificial intelligence Kyana Assist – one of the highlights of this year’s fair presentations. One highlight was the daily live show, Connected Packaging, presented by Sandra Wagner, vice president for digitalisation at Koenig & Bauer. The presentation introduced a platform based on Google cloud technology where brand owners can store digital information to individualise, personalise and enrich their printed packaging, alongside detailed product and manufacturing specifications. The accompanying app for end consumers acts as a bridge between analogue packaging and the digital world, and by making comprehensive product information available to the consumer by way of augmented reality, enhances the shopping experience.

Using the feeder for a Rapida 106 medium-format sheetfed offset press as an example, Koenig & Bauer offered fair visitors a first glimpse of the future with its standardised and modular automation platform, and demonstrates real-life predictive maintenance cases and performance dashboards for individual machine components. The platform is currently still in the development phase, but already shows how Koenig & Bauer intends to respond to global megatrends and lead the group into a new era. In cooperation with Siemens, Koenig & Bauer plans to offer customers a virtual product configuration based on innovative automation technologies and a digital twin of its own production facilities. The objective is to accelerate development and commissioning processes and to raise customer support and after-sales service to a new level. The partnership with Siemens is also eminently important for the development of digital solutions, as the new technology allows the collection and evaluation of even more detailed machine data and information on the condition of machine components.

The Rapida 106 X heralds a new performance dimension with speeds of up to 22,000 sheets/h.

In cooperation with Hybrid Software, PrintFusion was presented as a new gateway to control Rapida presses in conjunction with the pre-press software Packz and the production workflow suite Cloudflow from Hybrid Software. All presses and machines presented at drupa – a Rapida 106 X, a VariJET 106, a CutPRO X 106 rotary die-cutter, a CutPRO Q 106 SB flat-bed die-cutter and an Omega Alius 90 folder-gluer – incorporated the very latest features. The features boost performance by at least 20 per cent compared to the predecessor generations and once again set new benchmarks for folding carton production.

In sheetfed offset, the list of innovations kicked off with a further increase in production speed: the current medium-format sheetfed offset press Rapida 106 X (max. sheet format 750/780 × 1,060 mm) prints at speeds up to 22,000 sheets per hour and thereby set yet another new benchmark in terms of output. Other innovations for greater automation and added performance included the coating plate changing system CPC+ (Coating Plate Change Plus). It is controlled from the press console and functions fully automatically. Coating supply has also been raised to a new level with VariCoat+. 

Andreas Pleßke spearheading presentation of the company’s long list of innovations.

Within the Rapida+ product family for automated printing, Koenig & Bauer offered an app called PressTalk that allows operators to communicate via headset, irrespective of where they are currently standing at the press. In addition, AutoGuide provides process-related status information and recommends which action to take – using the console wall screen and as voice messages on the headset.

drupa 2024 saw the world premiere of the rotary die-cutter CutPRO X 106 for folding carton production with four process units (embossing, creasing, die-cutting, stripping) that now runs at speeds of up to 16,000 sheets/h. And a new generation of blankers made a mark with a significantly more compact design and results of the highest quality. In terms of the die-cutting layout variants that can be handled, it is also much more flexible than in the past.

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