2000 - today

2001

The joint venture between KBA and Scitex is terminated by mutual agreement. KBA takes over all development, marketing, production and service activities for the 74 Karat.

To safeguard its pole position in the global security printing market in the long term KBA acquires its partner of fifty years´ standing, De La Rue Giori in Lausanne. 

2002

Market launch at Ipex of the ultra-compact Genius 52 – a revolutionary B3 press developed jointly by KBA and Metronic. 

Unveiling of the world’s first large-format 8-colour perfector press, the Rapida 162.

Inauguration of the first two-across Cortina at Reiff Zeitungsdruck in Offenburg, Germany.

Annual group turnover at an all-time high of €1.35bn.  

Bauer and Kunzi, Stuttgart

Bauer + Kunzi in Ditzingen

2003

The economic downturn that hit many markets in 2001, causing a big drop in advertising, continues to impact heavily on sales of KBA newspaper presses, though sheetfed sales remain firm, bucking the industry trend. Far-reaching restructuring measures initiated at our web press facilities result in the closure of our assembly plant in Kusel at the end of the year. The fate of our Berlin operation is hanging in the balance. 

In spring 2003 KBA acquires Bauer+ Kunzi, a specialist manufacturer of metal-decorating presses based in Ditzingen, near Stuttgart. The acquisition of this long-standing alliance partner propels KBA to the pole position in metal-decorating technology. 

At IfraExpo in Leipzig KBA announces the sale of the first Cortina waterless newspaper offset press to Dutch printer Rodi Rotatiedruk, additional press orders from Gannett (USA), the world’s biggest newspaper publishing house, and a major contract from Rizzoli Corriere della Sera (RCS) in Italy for nine Commanders and two Comets. 

Rapida 205 Jumbo

The new Rapida 205

In November our engineers in Radebeul successfully conclude the first series of print tests on a new generation of super-large sheetfed presses, the Rapida 205 and Rapida 185. Nine of these new presses are sold to printers in Europe and North America within just a few months. 

Will investment pick up in 2004? Things look up as KBA Frankenthal announces the sale of 12 heatset presses in less than three months. 

At the end of November KBA agrees to take a majority stake in Metronic, based in Veitshöchheim near Würzburg.

Established by Torald L Rohloff in 1972, Metronic manufactures UV offset systems for printing CDs, CDRs, DVDs and plastic cards, and industrial ID devices incorporating inkjet, hot-stamping, laser and/or thermal transfer technology. The company’s 300-strong workforce generates annual sales of around €35m. We anticipate that cost efficiencies can be gained in a number of areas. 

drupa 2004, Rapida 105 redefines the benchmark in medium format

Our new-generation Rapida 105 redefines the benchmark in medium format

2004

A succession of new product launches and upgrades across the board. In the sheetfed division these include a sleek new design, higher output and more extensive automation for our half-format Rapida 74 plus a waterless, keyless version called the Rapida 74 G, a new generation of our Rapida 105 medium-format sheetfed press with optional pull-lay-free infeed (a world first!), performance enhancements for our existing large-format presses and a new superlarge press, the Rapida 205, for a sheet 2 metres (79in) wide. 

KBA TR12B - the world's widest rotogravure press

KBA TR12B - the world's widest rotogravure press

Our web and special press division is no less prolific. In the spring a prototype of our four-by-one Prisma newspaper press is demonstrated at our Würzburg facility. May sees the launch of a high-performance commercial press, the Compacta 217, at the Drupa trade fair in Düsseldorf.

In September Switzerland is also the venue for the inauguration of the world’s first triple-width satellite newspaper press, a Commander 6/2 at Tamedia in Zurich. Shortly afterwards the first 48-page version of our Cortina compact waterless newspaper press ships to the Netherlands and maul-belser in Nuremberg hits the button on the world’s first rotogravure press for a web width of 4.32m – a TR12B boasting a string of ingenious new features. 

At the end of September we acquire the remaining shares in industrial ID systems and UV offset press specialist Metronic, renaming it KBA-Metronic. 

Restructuring measures are concluded with the closure of our Berlin plant at the end of the year.

KBA-Grafitec

KBA-Grafitec

2005

Grafitec, a Czech manufacturer of small-format presses based in Dobruška, near Hradec Králové, becomes a KBA subsidiary at the beginning of March.

The biggest gravure contract in KBA’s history – for three presses with a working width of 4.32m (14ft 2in) and one for 2.75m (9ft) – is placed by Prinovis for its new gravure printing plant in Liverpool, England.

At the end of September the Rapida 105 medium-format sheetfed press takes top honours in the print category of the German Printing Industry Innovation Awards.

At €1.77bn the volume of new orders is the highest in KBA’s history.

A total of 200 patent applications places KBA first among German press manufacturers and 22nd in the national league table. 

2006

Expansion into a new high-growth market – decorative printing – with the inauguration in April at German printer Decopress, Soest, of the first TR5D. 

The acquisition of Stuttgart-based LTG Print Systems Holding by KBA subsidiary Bauer+Kunzi in mid-year continues KBA’s successful strategy of acquisition in high-potential niche markets and moves it up to the pole position in the metal-decorating press sector. 

With Poland fast becoming a significant market, at the end of the year KBA establishes a new subsidiary, KBA-Polska, in Warsaw. 

After beating the industry average in 2005 with a 13.9% increase in group sales, KBA tops this by 7.5% to post sales worth €1.74bn, the highest figure since the company was founded 189 years ago. Pre-tax profit climbs to €47.4m, well above the prior-year figure. 

2007, The Commander CT high-tech compact newspaper press

The Commander CT high-tech compact newspaper press

2007

In sheetfed offset, KBA sets a milestone with DriveTronic SPC dedicated cylinder drives for the Rapida 105. In mid-September, some 500 print professionals attend demonstrations in Radebeul of a new system that dramatically enhances productivity with the 105 by allowing simultaneous plate changing. 

KBA reaffirms its innovative credentials in newspaper technology with two revolutionary presses: the ultra-compact Cortina and Commander CT. Their success is reflected in sales, which include Cortina 6/2 press lines for prominent French newspaper Le Figaro in Paris and longstanding KBA customer M. DuMont Schauberg in Cologne. 

Under the banner "The future is Compact", KBA Würzburg invites members of the international newspaper industry to the inauguration of the first Commander CT, the product of an innovative alliance between KBA and the Main-Post media group. The second press to leave the production line is snapped up by another longstanding KBA customer, Spanish newspaper the Heraldo de Aragón in Saragossa. 

With dwindling circulations and catalogue pagination clouding prospects in the rotogravure sector, in September KBA sells off the entire business to Italian manufacturer Cerutti. 

2008, Rapida 106, The world champion in makeready

The world champion in makeready: Rapida 106

2008

KBA’s 3,400m² stand at the drupa 

is a showcase for new advances in sheetfed and commercial web press technology, newspaper production, digital printshop networking, web to print and green printing. On 10 Junethe Rapida 106 on the KBA stand at Drupa printed 15 jobs, each with 520 saleable sheets, in just 59 minutes and 36 seconds. The demo included 14 complete makereadies.

Cortina at Al Nisr Publishing, Dubai

Al Nisr Publishing in Dubai opted for a big KBA Cortina hyprid press

But the knock-on effects of the smouldering financial crisis, which flares up in mid-September, forces prospective buyers to postpone or cancel many of the contracts inked at Drupa. Following the sale of multi-unit Commander CT and Cortina newspaper press lines to the Daily News in New York and Gulf News in Dubai, autumn sees declining ad revenues and widespread uncertainty impacting on investment in web presses as well.

As a result group sales slide by around 10% to €1.53bn. A substantial charge for adjusting capacity to the smaller global market volume anticipated for the medium term contributes to a pre-tax loss of €87.1m. 

2009

Our Austrian subsidiary KBA-Mödling, near Vienna, celebrates its 160th anniversary on 20 March. Leopold Achatz succeeds Wolfgang Schischek as managing director.

The economic recession triggered by the financial crisis, and seismic shifts in the media landscape, cause a dramatic slump in demand for printing presses. The management board approves a raft of initiatives aimed at realigning capacity with the diminished market volume anticipated in coming years.

Despite a market-related slide in turnover and an unrelentingly challenging business environment, KBA’s rapid and rigorous realignment enables it to transform a heavy prior-year loss into a modest pre-tax profit of €2.7m. 

2010, KBA-booth, IPEX, Birmingham

KBA-booth at Ipex 2010

2010

On 23 July Dr Hans-Bernhard Bolza-Schünemann, a former longstanding president of KBA, dies at the age of 84. It is a sad loss both for the KBA Group and for the German engineering industry, which bids farewell to a technological pioneer and internationally respected representative. 

At the beginning of October KBA’s Radebeul facility books its 100th order for a medium-format Rapida 106 with DriveTronic SPC dedicated plate-cylinder drives supporting simultaneous plate changes. 

KBA C16 Open House in Geldern at L.N. Schaffrath

C16 - KBA's new commercial web offset press at the open house in November 2010

The compact and highly automated KBA Commander CT takes the international newspaper industry by storm. West Ferry Printers orders 22 Commander CT towers for its new printing plant in London. 

At the end of November the C16, a new commercial web offset press for the popular 16pp market, is launched at an open house at first-time user L.N. Schaffrath in Geldern, Germany. The high-automation C16’s many unique features include the fastest plate changes in its class. 

2011

In his commemorative speech Rhineland-Palatinate minister-president Kurt Beck emphasised the importance of industry for Gemany's economic standing, citing Frankenthal's press expertise and high-tech products as an outstanding example.

China moves to the top of the sheetfed offset division’s sales league. At the Print China trade fair in April 2011 orders are booked for over 250 Rapida printing units and at the All In Print China trade fair in November 2011 more than 20 contracts for new presses are signed. This was why China is the chosen venue for the global market launch of the Rapida 105, which is based on the same technological platform as the makeready world champion, the Rapida 106.

On 15 October 2011 KBA’s Frankenthal facility celebrates its 150th jubilee. Established on 18 August 1861 as Maschinenfabrik Albert & Hamm, the company became the world market leader in publication rotogravure presses. KBA Frankenthal also repeatedly drove advances in web offset and folder technology. But the structural shift from print to online media necessitated a realignment to a smaller web press market. As a result the facility is split into two independent entities: Albert-Frankenthal GmbH for the production of prismatic and rotationally symmetrical parts, and KBA-FT Engineering GmbH for the provision of technological and engineering services.

At IFRA Expo 2011 in Vienna at the beginning of October KBA unveils a new newspaper web press, the Commander CL. Offered in a choice of automation levels, this module-based, conventional tower press is engineered to print both high-quality newspapers and semicommercials. Meanwhile the first of another new highly automated press type, the 48-page short-grain C48 SG combining high production flexibility and fast job changes, is fired up at Em. de Jong in the Netherlands.

2012

Bavarian media Thomas Kreuzer (r) presents the Bavarian prime minister’s honorary award to KBA CEO and president Claus Bolza-Schünemann

Under the banner “sprinting ahead” KBA showcases a raft of innovations at the industry’s leading trade show, Drupa, in May. On the approx. 3,500m² KBA stand launches included a new generation of sheetfed offset presses in all format classes, offset/digital hybrid printing, new web presses for commercial and newspaper printing and for the first time an inkjet web press, the KBA RotaJET 76 for high-volume digital printing. The numbers of visitors to the stand and the contracts signed at the show exceeded all expectations.  

With its new press series, KBA technologically underscores its position as sheetfed offset market leader in the extra-large format class. The Rapida 145 redefines performance parameters with speeds of up to 17,000 sph and minimal makeready times. The fast Rapida 164, with speeds of up to 15,000 sph has the same extensive automation options as the Rapida 145. It supersedes the Rapida 162 and Rapida 162a.  

During the Munich Media Days, KBA receives the Bavarian prime minister’s honorary award at the Bavarian Print Media Awards 2012. Horst Seehofer praises Koenig & Bauer as a highly-innovative, truly Bavarian showcase company with an impressive history and a bright future.