KBA has announced a new family of inkjet presses with the RotaJet L-series. There are five new models with a choice of web widths, from 895 to 1300mm. These have a modular design so that the smaller presses can be upgraded to the wider models later. Equally they can be upgraded from one to four colours. They can also be retrofitted with future print heads as they are developed.
KBA will continue to sell its original Rotajet 76 press, though this cannot be retrofitted to the specification of the newer presses.
In addition, KBA is to collaborate with HP to develop new roll-to-roll inkjet solutions for the high-volume corrugated packaging market. The new press will use HP’s thermal inkjet technology and KBA’s paper handling, though neither company has revealed any further specifications yet. It will be marketed under the HP brand which begs the question as to why HP needed to partner with KBA? It’s certainly true that KBA does have considerable expertise in handling different materials and maintaining consistent web tension. But HP is no stranger to building web fed presses though the market for its T-series inkjet web presses has been mainly with direct mail printers. So it’s possible that KBA’s real contribution is access to its packaging printers.
Meanwhile, KBA has also reported a slump in orders for newspaper web offset presses at the World Publishing Expo in Amsterdam. Nor have newspaper publishers invested in digital printers, with Christoph Müller, KBA executive vice-president for the web press division, saying: “Traditional newspaper houses currently connect digital first with online or mobile activities.”