Prostějov/Czech Republic, October 15th, 2018 – Representatives of Toray Graphics in the Czech Republic, a leading manufacturer of waterless offset plate technology, recently visited Koenig & Bauer in Wurzburg, Germany, to discuss the ongoing relationship between the two companies, especially as related to the provision of Toray waterless offset printing plates for Koenig & Bauer’s Cortina press.
“It’s amazing to consider that Koenig & Bauer has been in business for more than 200 years,” said Mitsunori Hayashi, Sales General Manager of Toray. “And the company continues to be innovative and successful. We are proud to be partnering with such a prestigious company and a small part of its long history.”
“One thing that has been constant throughout our long history is change,” said Dagmar Ringel, Marketing Director at Koenig & Bauer. “Beginning in 1995, we became known as KBA. But as our 200th anniversary approached, we invested significant effort in rethinking what we stand for as a company. As a result, we moved back to our full name, Koenig & Bauer, recognizing the high-quality German engineering that has stood us in good stead all this time as well as the founders of the company. This better aligns brand image – what the market thinks about you – and brand identity – what you think about yourself. We’re a company with a long history, but also one that has moved into the digital age.”
Senior Product Manager Peter Benz joined Koenig & Bauer following drupa in 2000 to spearhead further development of Koenig & Bauer’s Cortina press, first shown at the show but deemed not to be ready for commercial deployment. “I had been working at a printing house for 20 years,” Benz noted. “One of the key issues we always had to address was inconsistencies related to water – water used in fountain solution could be sourced from a lake or a mountain spring, and each would react quite differently. I had long thought that if we could take water out of the equation, we could make significant progress in terms of the quality and reliability of offset printing. We and other press manufacturers had been dabbling in the development of a waterless offset solution, but none of these efforts had reached their full potential. That’s why I was so excited to see the Cortina press unveiled at drupa 2000. It was an opportunity to work with an innovative company in developing a full suite of consumables that would enable the press to deliver on the promise of waterless offset printing – a combination of inks, blankets, paper, and, of course, printing plates.”
Benz points out that the first target of the Cortina press, newspapers, was an ideal proving ground for waterless offset, due to the low quality of paper used. “Waterless offset delivers better quality even on low quality paper,” he says. “While Cortina was only for newspapers in the beginning, we wanted to ensure a level of quality that would open the door for newspaper printers to achieve better press utilization by producing marketing materials during the day and newspapers at night. Since bringing the press to market in 2003, more than 20 waterless offset installations have been able to do just that. Our partnership with Toray to develop waterless printing plates that let us deliver the quality we needed has been critical to that success.”
While Koenig & Bauer offers both conventional and waterless printing presses, it is Benz’s opinion that ultimately, the waterless offset press will comprise the bulk of Koenig & Bauer web press installs as companies look to diversify beyond newspapers. “Waterless printing on the Cortina press with Toray plates delivers commercial quality,” he said, “plus its very fast setup time ensures the ability to produce short runs profitably. By using the same press to produce newspapers at night and marketing materials by day, these companies are able to achieve a fast ROI on the press investment, and the technology will also give these printers an edge over digital printing technology,”
Benz concluded, “Waterless printing is my life. The Cortina was my baby. In the beginning, Koenig & Bauer was the first company to make substantial investments in waterless offset printing, and the Cortina press has proved to be a good investment in the company’s future. Especially as more countries impose stiffer environmental regulations on the printing industry, waterless offset printing is becoming mainstream. We see a bright future ahead, and we are thrilled to have Toray as a key partner in the innovation we will continue to see in waterless offset printing as we move into the future.”
About Koenig & Bauer
Koenig & Bauer is the world’s second-largest printing press manufacturer with the broadest product range in the industry. For 200 years, the company has been supporting printers with innovative technology, tailor-made processes and a wide array of services. The portfolio ranges from banknotes, via board, film, metal and glass packaging, through to book, display, coding, magazine, advertising and newspaper printing. Sheetfed and webfed offset and flexo printing, waterless offset, intaglio, simultaneous perfecting and screen printing or digital inkjet – Koenig & Bauer is at home in virtually all printing processes and is the market leader in many of them. In the financial year 2017, the approximately 5,600 highly qualified employees worldwide generated annual sales of more than EUR 1.2 billion.
Toray Industries Inc., the leading manufacturer of waterless printing plates worldwide, was founded in 1926 and has a global presence with factories and sales offices in Asia, Europe, Middle East, South and North America. The main businesses of Toray are fabrics and textiles, plastics and chemicals, IT-related products, environmental and engineering solutions, carbon fiber composite materials, life science and others. Many of the products are developed from its proprietary polymer technology base and are commonly used by the electronics, packaging, textile, automotive and aviation industries. Recent annual sales approached € 15 billion.
Toray Graphics, a subsidiary of Toray Textiles Central Europe (TTCE), is based in the Czech Republic and features a state-of-the-art manufacturing line for waterless printing plates. Located in Prostějov, in the heart of Europe, the facility consolidates all business operations, including sales, customer service, marketing, production and R&D, for faster, more efficient support of Toray’s independent network of dealers and distributors in the European market.