A year after declaring that Koenig & Bauer saw no advantage to owning its own carton folder-gluer products, the press manufacturer has taken a major stake in Turkish company Duran Machinery. Chief executive Claus Bolza-Schünemann had given that in answer to a question at a conference to mark the rebrand the 200th anniversary of Koenig & Bauer, but the opportunity to deliver a fully integrated turnkey carton production solution has caused a change in strategy.
At the time he had said: "A folder-gluer is a logical addition, but there are many suppliers around. An acquisition has to make sense and it would have to be a very good business."
Duran is a family company that has a growing reputation for the quality of its products which have themselves become increasingly competitive and appreciated by carton printers. Now 80% has been acquired by Koenig & Bauer for an undisclosed sum. Ralf Sammeck, CEO of Koenig & Bauer Sheetfed welcomed the deal: "Over the past few years Duran has set new standards and successfully strengthened its position among our customers in the industrial packaging sector. We are now further expanding our worldwide presence as the printing press and die cutter manufacturer with the broadest product portfolio.“
Chairman Orklay Duran started the business in 1970 and continues his involvement with the company. This has also included creation of a collection of modern art, from established local and up and coming Turkish artists to international names, including several pictures from Damian Hirst.
The deal follows on from the acquisition of Iberica, a Spanish producer of cutting and creasing platens, that was completed in 2015. This deal now allows K&B to offer an end to end solution to carton converters from a single manufacturer. This is also intended to include digital printing, though having announced the Varijet 106 at Drupa, K&B has yet to reveal progress to the world.
The acquisition of Duran machinery will not lead to radical changes in how the Turkish company distributes products. K&B is conscious it does not want to follow the example of similar deals where the new owner has imposed its distribution and sales arrangements on the new subsidiary, resulting in disappointed customers and disappointing sales. Continuity is the order of the day.
In the UK and Ireland, this means that Friedheim International will continue to represent Duran. At head office level, the company becomes Koenig & Bauer Duran. There will be an influence from the new owner, both in terms of sharing components to improved the products. With Iberica, K&B freshened the design and changed the feeder and delivery to systems from the Rapida sheetfed presses and enabled closer integration between platens and its workflow technologies.
This is an almost inevitable in the medium term. But there are no plans to change the management that has been running Duran machinery, nor any plan to shift manufacture from the plant near Istanbul. Nor to alter distribution arrangements.
In the UK Friedheim managing director Mark Bristow says: “K&B has seen other companies close down the distribution network after an acquisition and suffer because of it. It means that the Duran sales and distribution network that exists will continue.”
The Alius version of the folder gluer was announced in the summer. This is Industry 4.0 enabled, including automation to set the line with reference to the dimensions of the carton entered into the controller. This will trigger automatic adjustments to as many as 27 points in a machine. Details of jobs are presented to a web browser, accessible via a mobile phone.
It will run at 600m/min with integration for feeders and packing units. It comes in 70, 90 and 110 versions for different maximum formats. It was launched at the Print4All show in Milan in June.
The machine will almost certainly feature in the new sheetfed packaging showroom that is currently under construction at the Radebuel factory near Dresden. This will be a showcase for customers investigating carton printing applications and will house the full range of K&B's sheetfed technologies, mirroring the webfed showroom that has been set up at the Wurzburg factory.
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