KBA and Apex partner for anilox rollers

KBA’s Digital and Web division has signed an agreement with the Dutch company Apex International for the coating and engraving of anilox rollers for its waterless KBA Cortina web offset press.

Up to now KBA has done its own laser engraving but the laser engraving machine used for the Cortina rollers is coming to the end of its life. So KBA has opted to outsource rather than invest in new laser engraving machinery.

Apex is a sensible choice, holding patents for the so-called GTT anilox technology, an engraving geometry that’s based on open, slalom-style channels, which are designed to achieve an extremely homogenous ink application while reducing wear to a minimum.

For its part, KBA has patented the inner body of the double-walled Cortina anilox rollers. This allows the integrated temperature regulation to have quite fine control over the ink application. But, of course, this does mean that the anilox rollers for a Cortina press are more expensive than the standard film rollers of a conventional inking unit, so that most users will want to recondition these rollers with a new ceramic coating and laser engraving.

KBA estimates the lifetime of a Cortina anilox roller to be around 200 million cylinder revolutions. There are currently 20 customers, with the first press line having been commissioned eleven years ago. Any worn rollers will still be sent to the KBA factory in Radebeul, where the interior is inspected thermographically for contamination. Any contamination is either flushed out or brush-cleaned and the roller filled with nitrogen as corrosion protection. The rollers are then sent to Apex, where they are stripped, coated with a new ceramic layer and laser-engraved using the GTT technology. The warranty of at least 200 million cylinder revolutions given by KBA remains unaffected.

The two companies have also committed to share their knowledge of anilox rollers and to continue development of the existing solutions together.


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