KBA Continent at SCA Packaging in Pardubice

Tricky puzzle books off the reel

When they hear the name SCA, a lot of players in the graphic arts industry immediately think of a globally active manufacturer and seller of sanitary products, graphic paper, corrugated and wood-based products. That is not surprising since SCA employs over 50,000 people and sells its products in more than ninety countries.

Schematic of the KBA Continent at SCA Packaging in Pardubice, Czech Republic (1)

But many market observers instantly recognise the name SCA Packaging as belonging to a leading supplier of customised and innovative packaging, with plants at over 200 locations in Europe. What few of them know is that at one location, in the Czech town of Pardubice, SCA Packaging also prints puzzle books in a multitude of languages on a KBA Continent web press.

Continuing a successful association
Pictured after signing the contract at Drupa 2008 (l-r) KBA sales director Jochen Schwab, SCA Glasgow operations director Graham Rowan, KBA sales manager Ernst Krack, SCA managing director Gavin Letham, SCA Pardubice operations director John Bird and KBA sales engineer Georg Fleder (3)

SCA Packaging’s association with KBA’s factory in Radebeul near Dresden goes back a long way. Five- and six-colour Rapida 142 and Rapida 162 large-format presses, generally with coaters, print top-quality packaging at SCA plants in Spain, Hungary, Denmark, Germany, the UK and even China.

SCA’s longstanding association with the Radebeul sheetfed division, and KBA’s proven ability to consistently meet rigorous technical specifications regarding production and format flexibility, were the key reasons why SCA placed an order for its first KBA web press at Drupa 2008 in Düsseldorf. On 1 April this year, just over ten months after the contract was signed, the single-wide four-high KBA Continent launched into action at SCA Packaging’s Czech production plant in Pardubice.

KBA Continent: the “puzzle” press
Puzzle books and mags in every possible language and formats are the main products printed on the Continent in Pardubice (2)

As its name implies, the one-across, one-around Continent is to be found on virtually every continent worldwide, having established a formidable reputation for high-quality coldset and heatset production. The press line at SCA Packaging mainly prints books, in a huge variety of different languages and formats. Since the body of the books is generally printed in just one or two colours, the 4/4 press is fed with paper by two KBA Pastoline reelstands. By printing two webs in two colours on each side, twice the number of pages can be delivered in a single production run. Alternatively monochrome printing, which is by no means unusual in Pardubice, is of course also possible by simply disengaging the inking units that are not required. The Continent can handle stock weights of 30 to 130gsm (20 to 90lb book). The four-colour covers for the books are printed on heavier stock by sheetfed offset presses. The Continent is set up and controlled from a console with monitor.

Printing at 11.2m per second

Sporting high-tech DriveTronic dedicated drives, the Continent has a maximum production speed of 70,000 copies per hour. This means that the paper runs through the press at a speed of around 11.2 metres per second or 2,200 feet per minute – three times as fast as on a high-performance KBA Rapida 106 sheetfed press. The Continent in Pardubice is configured as a floor-mounted press, ie the reelstands on the same level as the printing units and folder. The press operators thus have fewer stairs to climb during a print run, and can see the entire press line at a glance.

Near limitless format flexibility
The historic town of Pardubice in East Bohemia is famous for the most gruelling horse race in Europe (6)

The press at SCA can handle virtually any web widths between 630 and 1000mm (24.85 - 39.37in), including partial-width webs. This exceptional versatility is possible because there is just one large plate on each plate cylinder, and the blankets are also full-width. In newspaper production the Continent’s format flexibility is impaired by the need to fit two plates across the cylinder width. The web press in Pardubice was specially engineered to allow straight-on production with full-width webs directly to the former, half-width ribbons via turner bars or third-wide ribbons via double turner bars. To support the same high level of productivity the KBA KF3 C folder is fitted with a chopper fold for the second length fold (quarterfold) and a double parallel fold for the second cross fold. In addition to the dedicated folder the Continent features a chill-roller stand and silicone unit located above the reelstands and also a hot-air dryer with afterburner, enabling it to print high-quality heatset products on coated stock.

Running one web per product type (short or long grain in conjunction with the selected web width) the maximum web width of 1000mm and plate-cylinder circumference of 578mm (22.75in) allow the press to print four-page copies up to a maximum format of 500 x 578mm (19.68 x 22.75in), eight-page copies up to 289 x 500mm (11.5 x 19.68in) and even 12-,16- or 32-page sections with different page lengths and breadths. Altogether the Continent can handle well over 20 different types of product. Running the press with two reelstands doubles the number of pages while halving colour content.

Offloading and placing the KF3 C folder in SCA Packaging’s press hall in Pardubice (4)
Somewhat bigger than a sheetfed press: the KBA Continent press line during final assembly (5)

KBA Continent press lines of different sizes are in operation in Scandinavia, the Benelux states, Italy, France, Switzerland, Morocco, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi-Arabia, the USA, China and even the idyllic island of La Réunion in the Indian Ocean. Thanks to SCA Packaging the first Continent has now gone live in eastern Europe.