Koenig & Bauer and Durst are to form a joint venture to exploit demand for digitally printed packaging technology.
The as yet unnamed joint venture will be a 50:50 owned operation based at a yet to be decided location in Germany. The target is to produce single-pass inkjet presses for corrugated and cartonboard printing.
This includes the K&B Varijet announced at Drupa. At this time, almost three years ago, the press provider’s partner was Xerox and while this has not resulted in a printing press, both companies were able to show the inkjet unit at the heart of the press. While neither K&B nor Xerox have made any announcement, that partnership must be superseded by the new joint venture.
Also at Drupa, Durst showed off a concept for printing sheeted corrugated boards in a single-pass machine running at 2m/second. This used Durst’s UV or WT water based inks.
The Delta SPC130 FlexLine concept includes feeder, six-colour single-pass printing, cooling section and stacker. The Delta WT250 is currently a multi-pass press for corrugated boards.
K&B has previously announced the CorruJet, a sheetfed inkjet press for corrugated board. It is conceived around the technology used in its RotaJet web press and is rated at 6,000sph at 1200x600dpi on a sheet up to 2.1 metres wide. A first beta machine has been shipped.
The Varijet 106 carton press will be the first product to emerge from the joint venture. It will be conceived as a complete production line. “Unlike in the graphics industry, an inkjet press alone is not enough, but there is a need to integrate different peripheral systems into a fully automatic production line,” says a statement issued by both companies.
Most of the components of the Varijet 106 are already in place: litho printing for common background elements on a carton, inline coating and foiling, rotary die cutting, managed through automated quality inspection systems able to eject sheets falling short of perfection. The inkjet element has remained illusive.
K&B CEO Claus Bolza-Schuenemann says the Varijet is all about offering customers added value. “For folding carton printing, the modular concept of the Varijet enables the combination of digital inkjet printing with offset printing and inline finishing options.
“Durst is the ideal partner for these goals because of its existing know-how and experience with inkjet and its high quality solutions.”
“Both companies are similar in their culture and strategic direction and both are technology leaders in their fields.”
Durst has been all about inset from single-pass printing on label printing through larger format for display graphics to industrial print systems for printing ceramics, textiles and glass.
The joint venture company will manage the service and ink business for the inkjet machines and will call on the sales networks of both companies. Demonstration facilities will also be shared. K&B has built a vast hall for packaging systems built at Wurzburg holding RotaJet and Flexotecnica flexo press and Corrugraph flexo press for corrugated board, while a new demo hall for packaging is being built at the Radebuel plant to house a Varijet 106 as well as sheetfed litho, inline finishing and other equipment for producing cartons.
The VariJet 106 will be the first machine to emerge from the joint venture between Koenig & Bauer and Durst, the Austro-Italian company bringing its inkjet expertise to the table while Koenig & Bauer contributes paper handling and inline finishing knowledge and experience.