09 July 2019 Digital Printing Technologies

Joint venture for packaging names Robert Stabler as MD

The experienced digital print executive will be the first managing director of Koenig & Bauer Durst with the task of shaking up the digital packaging sector.

Robert Stabler, ex Xerox and ex HP Indigo, has been named managing director of the Koenig & Bauer Durst, its joint venture in inkjet packaging.

He takes up his new role on 1 August having spent seven months as a consultant after leaving Xerox at the end of last year, following British colleague Andrew Copley out of the door.

The immediate task is focused on completing the Varijet 106 hybrid carton press in time to demonstrate this at Drupa. Stabler is already familiar with the concept and the machine. In its first form this was to use an inkjet array supplied by Xerox. At the last Drupa, this arrangement was shown by both KBA, as it then was, and Xerox.

The new business will also have the Corrujet 170 and the Durst SPC 130 in its portfolio. Both are single pass inkjet machines for corrugated sheets. These will be sold through the global network of both partners. The headquarters of the new business will be in Würzburg which is marginally easier to reach than the Durst head office in Brixen, at least for the UK based Stabler.

“I am really excited to take on this new challenge in the folding carton and corrugated packaging markets,” says Stabler. “Both are ripe for digital transformation with run lengths declining in both segments and brands crying out for very good, cost effective, short-run and versioning solutions.

“We will add all the competencies of Durst and Koenig & Bauer to leverage the best solutions. Durst with its expertise in digital imaging, production systems, inks and software integration, Koenig & Bauer with all its mechanical knowledge, high duty cycle process, engineering, paper transport capabilities plus, of course, the great go-to-market expertise of both teams.”

Stabler will be able to call upon the R&D resources that are already in place, but will need a management team to lead the business in order to make the most of the opportunity. This is acknowledged by K&B chief executive Claus Bolza-Schünemann.

“This is the start of something very special in the printing and packaging industry. We are incredibly excited by the opportunities ahead of us and we are confident being able to form a superb team led by Robert Stabler,” he says. And Christof Gamper, CEO of Durst, adds: “The team we’ll create for the joint venture will supply the necessary solutions in markets where digital production lines offer huge opportunities for the folding carton and corrugated fibreboard industries.”

By Gareth Ward

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Robert Stabler left Xerox, where he had been in charge of continuous inkjet operations, at the end of last year. He returns to the front line of the industry in charge of the joint venture aiming to transform digital packaging printing.

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