Koenig & Bauer and Durst have moved from an exchange of letters of intent to the creation of a joint venture business which will be located at the Koenig & Bauer head office in Würzburg.
The new business still needs the endorsement of the German business authorities before it can formally begin operations. These will be concentrated on development and marketing of single-pass digital printing systems for folding carton and corrugated boards.
The company will begin with existing products from Koenig & Bauer and Durst, the Corrujet 170 and Durst SPC 130, both of which are sheetfed presses for corrugated board and have overlapping specifications. The K&B press runs with four-colour arrays for Fujifilm Samba head giving resolutions of 1200dpi or 1200x600dpi. The Durst machine handles sheets to 1.3 metres across at 120m/hr with six-colour printing at 800dpi. It was shown for the first time at Drupa in 2016.
There is no announcement whether these machines will continue or come together in as a single sheetfed press for post print corrugated production.
The first combined machine will be the Varijet 106 carton press that was announced by Koenig & Bauer and by then partner Xerox. It is scheduled for launch at Drupa next year as a demo press with Durst imaging technology and using K&B technology for other modules that may include flexo printing and coating, inline die cutting, inline foiling and conventional offset litho printing.
K&B CEO Claus Bolza-Schünemann explains that the Varijet will be the first milestone for the joint venture. “Manufacturing of the Varijet press for digital folding carton printing is to be commenced in time for Drupa 202,” he says in the company’s annual report, adding at the formal signing of the agreement last week: “The packaging industry is looking for new, more efficient production opportunities and Koenig & Bauer Durst will supply the necessary digital solution.”
The only way that this will be effective K&B has said is if the costs of production are comparable with current cost levels.
Before then, a CEO for the joint venture will be named and approval by anti trust authorities granted. This will enable Koenig & Bauer Durst GmbH to begin business operations by the end of May.
Christoph Gamper, CEO and joint owner of Durst, says that the short gap between letter of intent and the official signing is “because the negotiations had already been conducted in a spirit of genuine cooperation. We want to work efficiently and purposefully towards a common goal – tapping the huge potential that digital production lines offer for the packaging industry.”
The signing followed hard on the heels of the official opening of Durst’s landmark development campus building in Bressanone, which has Ada Lovelace, Victoria pioneer of computer programming, as its patron saint. The highly distinctive building will house the company’s customer experience centre, encouraging companies to come to Durst rather than seeing what the company has to offer at the 20 trade shows a year that Durst has attended until now. “Trade shows are increasingly losing relevance,” the company says.
By Gareth Ward
Stefan Kappaun, EVP inks & fluids, Durst; Christopher Kessler, general counsel, Koenig & Bauer; Christoph Gamper, CEO & co-owner, Durst; Christian Gatterer, CFO, Durst; Jochen Sproll, project manager corporate development, Koenig & Bauer; Claus Bolza-Schünemann, CEO, Koenig & Bauer and Harald Oberrauch, owner Durst celebrate the formation of the new joint venture company. Only the green light from German competition authorities is needed.