History

1814 - 1900

 
1814 Würzburg

A double version of Koenig's cylinder printing press prints 'The Times' - the first newspaper in history to be printed on a steam-driven machine.  

1817 Würzburg

Friedrich Koenig and Andreas Bauer establish Schnellpressenfabrik Koenig & Bauer in a secularised monastery in Oberzell near Würzburg.

1828 Würzburg

Friedrich Koenig sets up a paper mill in Münsterschwarzach. It is the first paper mill in Bavaria.

1833 Würzburg

Friedrich Koenig dies. Andreas Bauer and Fanny Koenig, Friedrich's widow, carry on the business.  

1836 Würzburg

Fritz Helbig, Friedrich Koenig's nephew, and Leo Müller found Schnellpressenfabrik Helbig & Müller in Vienna. Later acquired by Koenig & Bauer, the company is now called KBA-Mödling AG. 

1849 Würzburg

Wilhelm Koenig, Friedrich Koenig's elder son, joins the company. In 1854 he develops Bauer's fourfold circular-motion press into a sixfold version. 

1855 Würzburg

Fanny Koenig and Andreas Bauer establish a sickness benefit fund which is still going strong.   

1857 Würzburg

Friedrich Koenig Jr. joins the firm and helps Fanny Koenig set up a network of social institutions.  

1860 Würzburg

Andreas Bauer dies. Wilhelm Koenig and Friedrich Koenig Jr. manage the company jointly, assisted by Fanny Koenig. 

1861 Frankenthal

A former master craftsman at Koenig & Bauer, Andreas Albert, and his partner Andreas Hamm found Schnellpressenfabrik Albert & Hamm in Frankenthal. Later renamed Albert-Frankenthal, the company became part of the KBA group in 1990. 

1868 Würzburg

Inauguration of the company's training school.

1868 Frankenthal

The 100th press to leave the production line is shipped to Reclam in Leipzig. A new, improved press, the Rhenania, is launched onto the market. 

1873 Würzburg

The 2,000th machine leaves the Oberzell factory. An invalids', widows' and orphans' fund is set up, independently administered and run by the workers themselves. Company statutes are drafted and a factory council with parity representation is appointed.  

1876 Würzburg

Koenig & Bauer ships its first webfed press to Magdeburgische Zeitung. 

1886 Würzburg

Albrecht Bolza, Friedrich Koenig's grandson, joins the firm. Edgar Koenig develops a web press with integrated former.  

1887 Frankenthal

Frankenthal builds the first Albertina commercial flatbed press for finest polychrome printing. 

1889 Frankenthal

Shipment of the first web press built in Frankenthal.  

1895 Würzburg

The 5,000th press leaves the Oberzell factory. 

1898 Radebeul

Joseph Hauss, a former field engineer at Albert in Frankenthal, and Alfred Sparbert found the Dresdner Schnellpressenfabrik, which later moves to Radebeul, changes its name to Planeta and is now Koenig & Bauer's sheetfed facility. 

1899 Frankenthal

1899 FT Albert & Cie. ships its 5,000th press.    

1901 Würzburg

Koenig & Bauer moves to a new site which is still the company headquarters and site of the holding of the KBA Group.

1902 Radebeul

Dresdner Schnellpressenfabrik registers the first patent for its planet drive. This new, reliable drive lays the foundation for the company's worldwide reputation. 

1910 Würzburg

Development of the Iris - the first four-colour sheetfed press - and the Rollrenner, a cranked-movement press.

1911 Würzburg

The Hexe (witch), a high-speed letterpress press, goes into production in Würzburg.  

1911 Radebeul

Dresdner Schnellpressenfabrik moves to Naundorf (Radebeul), to the site now occupied by KBA-Sheetfed Solutions AG & Co. KG.

1911 Frankenthal

Albert & Cie. starts building sheetfed offset presses.

1912 Würzburg

Shipment of the first rotogravure press. Development of the Sturmvogel two-revolution press. Establishment of the Benno Bolza fund, forerunner of the company suggestion scheme.

1913 Würzburg

Acquisition of Schnellpressenfabrik L. Kaiser's Söhne, Vienna, now called KBA-Mödling GmbH.

1913 Frankenthal

The first webfed rotogravure press off the Frankenthal production line.

1919 Würzburg

Dr. Hans Bolza (1889 - 1986), Friedrich-Koenig's great-grandson, joins the firm.

1920 Würzburg

Koenig & Bauer operates as an AG (public limited company) for the first time.

1922 Radebeul

The first Planeta sheetfed offset press leaves the factory.

1922 Frankenthal

Frankenthal starts manufacturing web offset presses. 

1923 Würzburg

Construction of the first collect press for coloured banknotes.

1924 Radebeul

The company merges with Leipziger Schnellpressenfabrik and brings out the world's first convertible perfecting press, the Dresden.

1928 Würzburg

Production starts on the Egli, a three-colour sheetfed gravure press.

1928 Frankenthal

The Europa, a new cylinder press available in 15 different formats, goes into production.

1931 Würzburg

Dr. Hans Bolza becomes managing director of Koenig & Bauer.

1932 Würzburg

The company adds two sheetfed gravure presses, the Frankonia and Tiepolo, plus a high-speed letterpress machine, the Rex, to its product range.

1932 Radebeul

The Radebeul company launches the world's first four-colour sheetfed offset press, the Planeta-Deca. 

1932 Frankenthal

Shipment of the first 32-page newspaper press, to Ullstein, a Berlin publishing house.

1935 Radebeul

The Planeta Super Quinta is upgraded to 6,000 sph.

1945 Würzburg/Frankenthal/Radebeul

The factories in Würzburg, Frankenthal and Radebeul are completely destroyed.

1945 Radebeul

The manufacturing equipment is dismantled and Planeta Druckmaschinenwerk virtually ceases to exist.

1948 Radebeul

On July 1 Planeta makes a fresh start under a new name, VEB Druckmaschinenwerk Planeta. 

1951 Würzburg

Dr. Hans-Bernhard Schünemann joins the firm.
Koenig & Bauer exhibits a sheetfed letterpress press with an output of 6,000 sph, the Pax, at the first drupa in Düsseldorf.

1952 Würzburg

Agreement with the Giori Organisation in Lausanne, Switzerland, on the joint production of security presses.
Construction of the first multicolour intaglio press for printing banknotes. 

1958 Würzburg

Shipment of the first Condor press - the fastest two-revolution press of its day.

1960 Radebeul

Planeta causes a sensation at the Leipzig Autumn Fair with its PVO 6, a four-colour press with an output of 9,000 sph. 

1962 Würzburg

Shipment of the first letterpress newspaper press, the Courier.

1964 Würzburg

A branch factory is built in Trennfeld and the Rotafolio put into serial production.

1965 Radebeul

Launch of the world's first unit-type litho press, the Variant 4 -- a press design that has since become the accepted norm.

1967 Würzburg

Drupa premiere of the Rapida 0 sheetfed offset press.
Koenig & Bauer's 150th jubilee. The company's workforce of 1,960 generates a turnover of DM64 million.
Koenig & Bauer endows a cultural fund.

1967 Radebeul

Planeta registers a patent for a convertible perfecting facility for unit-built presses. Merger with two other press manufacturers, Ramasch and Cocima.

1969 Würzburg

Koenig & Bauer ships the first Commander web offset press to Gérard in Verviers, Belgium.

1971 Würzburg

Dr. Hans Bolza-Schünemann is appointed president.

1972 Würzburg

Construction of the first Compacta commercial web offset press. 

1972 Radebeul

Completion of a new 42,000m² assembly hall in Radebeul.

1974 Würzburg

Shipment of the world's biggest newspaper web press, the Jumbo-Courier, to Gazet van Antwerpen. With an output of 15,000 sph the Rapida SR III becomes the fastest 40-inch sheetfed offset press in the world

1974 Radebeul

Planeta launches another world first: a sheetfed offset press with eight printing Units.

1976 Würzburg

Inauguration of a high assembly hall for giant presses. The first Express newspaper presses go into production.

1980 Würzburg

Production of the first Colortronic electronic system for the remote adjustment of inking and dampening units and plate register. Factory II in Grombühl, a suburb of Würzburg, is closed down; a 5,000m² assembly hall is erected on the main factory site.

1982 Radebeul

The Varicontrol remote ink control system and the Varidamp film dampening unit are introduced for all Planeta presses.

1985 Würzburg

Koenig & Bauer goes public. Capital resources exceed DM100 million for the first time. The Guardian in London orders three Anilox-Courier keyless letterpress machines.

1985 Frankenthal

The Frankenthal factory ships the TR 7B, the first publication rotogravure press for a web width of more than 3m.

1986 Würzburg

Koenig & Bauer launches the first Rapida 104 sheetfed offset press with a unit-type design. Output: 15,000 sph. It also raises its stake in Maschinenfabrik Koenig & Bauer AG Mödling to 97%.

1986 Radebeul

Planeta ships a ten-unit version sheetfed offset press line to the USA.

1988 Würzburg

The Daily Mail in London takes delivery of the largest flexo newspaper press in the world.
The minority interest in Albert-Frankenthal is increased to 74.99%. The biggest order placed until that time - for six Commander web offset presses worth over DM150 million – goes to a customer in England. Koenig & Bauer posts a turnover of more than DM500 million and publishes a Group balance sheet for the first time, showing a consolidated external turnover of more than DM800 million.

1989 Frankenthal

The world's first anilox offset press for full-colour newspaper printing - Albert-Frankenthal's Alfra CX - goes into operation.

1989 Radebeul

A customer showroom, complete with training and demonstration facilities, is inaugurated in Radebeul.

1990 Würzburg

t drupa in Düsseldorf Koenig & Bauer and Albert-Frankenthal exhibit jointly for the first time as the Koenig & Bauer-Albert group (KBA). Acquisition of a majority interest in the Motter Printing Press Company in York, Pennsylvania, and its change of name to KBA-Motter Corp. A collaborative agreement is signed with Planeta Druckmaschinenwerke, Radebeul. Koenig & Bauer acquires the remaining shares in Albert-Frankenthal, making it a full subsidiary.

1990 Radebeul

Planeta takes over Royal Zenith Corp. in the USA and renames it Planeta North America Inc.
Planeta is reconverted from a state enterprise to a public limited Company.

1991 Würzburg

Koenig & Bauer increases its stake in Planeta to 75.2% and renames it KBA-Planeta AG.
Two new newspaper presses - the KBA Journal and the KBA Colora - are launched on the market.
The company posts a turnover of DM686 million. Group turnover (excluding KBA-Planeta) tops one billion Deutschmarks for the first time.

1992 Würzburg

Transfer of the entire Rapida division to KBA-Planeta. Market launch of the Rapida 72 sheetfed offset press (format: 52 x 72cm). Sale of the first anilox offset press to a US customer.
175th jubilee celebrations with guests from all over the world.   

1994 Würzburg

Koenig & Bauer acquires the remaining 24.8% interest in KBA-Planeta  AG.

1994 Radebeul

Shipment of the first eight-colour Rapida press for 4-over-4.

1995 Würzburg

Koenig & Bauer merges with Albert-Frankenthal to create Koenig & Bauer-Albert AG (KBA).
Dr. Hans B. Bolza-Schünemann retires as company president and is appointed deputy chairman of the supervisory board. Shipment of the first shaftless newspaper press.

1995 Radebeul

KBA demonstrates an all-digital printshop workflow at drupa. Market launch of the Rapida large-format series. Shipment of the first ten-colour Rapida for 5-over-5. 

1996 Frankenthal

Shipment of the world's first publication rotogravure press for a web width of 3.6m, a TR 10B. 

1997 Radebeul

KBA and Israeli pre-press specialist Scitex enter a joint venture to develop the 74 Karat, a digital offset press for short-run colour which is previewed at Imprinta in Düsseldorf. Karat Digital Press GmbH is established in Radebeul. 

1997 Frankenthal

Frankenthal launches the world's first totally shaftless commercial web offset press, the Compacta 215.

1998 Würzburg

Koenig & Bauer-Albert merges with KBA-Planeta and reverts to the name Koenig & Bauer Aktiengesellschaft (KBA). The Radebeul facility remains the group profit centre for sheetfed offset.
Group turnover exceeds DM1.6 billion. 

1998 Radebeul

Planeta celebrates its centenary with guests from throughout the world. 20,000 locals pack the halls on the open day. A new press is unveiled: the KBA Rapida 105, a high-performance B1 press. The sheetfed division in Radebeul generates sales worth DM578 million, more than twice the total for 1992. 

1999 Würzburg

At Ifra 99 in Amsterdam Koenig & Bauer previews the KBA Cortina, a revolutionary new press for newspaper production in the 21st century. A new, high-speed double-width, single-circumference press, KBA Prisma, is added to the KBA press range.

2000 Würzburg/Frankenthal/Radebeul

The 74 Karat digital offset press goes into serial production. At drupa KBA demonstrates new advances in every product line, including a new B2 sheetfed offset press, the Rapida 74, and the biggest web press at the show, the 64pp Compacta 818 for high-quality commercial offset. It also unveils a working prototype of the KBA Cortina. Group turnover in 2000: DM2.1bn. 

2001

KBA takes over computer-to-press 74 Karat and enters the A3 format class with the 46 Karat.
To safeguard its pole position in the global security printing market in the long term KBA acquires its partner of fifty years´, De La Rue Giori in Lausanne. 

2002

Market launch at Ipex 2002 of the Genius 52 – a B3 press developed jointly by KBA and Metronic. 
Unveiling of the world’s first large-format, eight-colour perfector press, the Rapida 162.
Inauguration of the first two-across Cortina at Reiff Zeitungsdruck in Offenburg, Germany.
Annual group turnover in 2002 was at an all-time high of €1.35bn.  

2003

The economic downturn that hit many markets in 2001 continues to impact on sales of KBA newspaper presses, though sheetfed sales remain firm. Far-reaching restructuring measures initiated at our web press facilities result in the closure of our assembly plants in Berlin and Kusel. The plant in Kusel closed at the end of 2003.
In spring 2003 KBA acquires a 100% stake in 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.
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.  

At the end of November KBA agrees to take a majority stake in Metronic, based in Veitshöchheim near Würzburg. Metronic manufactures UV offset systems electronic data-storage devices and plastic cards as well as and coding devices incorporating inkjet, hot-stamping, laser and/or thermal transfer Technology. 

2004


A succession of new products are unveiled at drupa. These include the new medium-format Rapida 105 with a sidelay-free infeed as a world first, a waterless, keyless version called the Rapida 74 G and the enhanced superlarge Rapida 205 press for a sheet 2 metres (79in) wide. 

Our web press division presented the high-performance Compacta 217 commercial web press, the TR12B gravure press for a web width of 4.32m (170in) and the installation of the world’s first triple-width satellite newspaper press, the KBA Commander 6/2, at Tamedia in Zürich.
Group sales of €1.42bn set a new record. KBA quickly returned to profitability with a net profit of €11.9m.

2005

Grafitec, a Czech manufacturer of small-format presses based in Dobruška, becomes a KBA subsidiary.
The biggest gravure contract in KBA’s history is placed by Prinovis for its new gravure printing plant in Liverpool, England.

The medium-format Rapida 105 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 in the national league table. 

2006

Expansion into a new high-growth market – decorative gravure printing – with the inauguration of the first KBA TR5D at German printer Decopress, Soest,.
The acquisition of Stuttgart-based LTG Print Systems Holding 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.

2007

KBA sets a milestone with DriveTronic SPC dedicated cylinder drives for the sheetfed offset Rapida 105. KBA reaffirms its innovative credentials in newspaper technology with two revolutionary presses: the future-orientated, ultra-compact Cortina and Commander CT.

Under the banner "The future is Compact", KBA Würzburg invites members of the international newspaper industry to the inauguration of the first compact Commander CT newspaper press, the product of an innovative alliance between KBA and the Main-Post media group.
With unfavourable future prospects in the rotogravure sector, in September KBA sells off the entire business to Italian manufacturer Cerutti. 

2008

KBA’s stand at drupa is a showcase for new advances in sheetfed and commercial web press technology, newspaper production, digital printshop networking, web2print and green printing. The Rapida 106 on the KBA stand printed 15 jobs, each with 520 saleable sheets, in just 59 minutes and 36 seconds. But the knock-on effects of the smouldering financial crisis 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, autumn sees declining ad revenues and the growth in online media impacting on investment in large web presses.

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. 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 (EBT) of €2.7m.

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.

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.

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 with many unique Features.

2011

KBA’s Frankenthal facility celebrates its 150th jubilee. In November, KBA Frankenthal is split into two independent entities: Albert-Frankenthal GmbH is assigned responsibility for the production of prismatic and rotationally symmetrical parts, while KBA-FT Engineering GmbH concentrates on the provision of demanding technological and engineering services to KBA and external clients. The new medium-format Rapida 105 PRO is presented for the first time at the “All In Print China” trade show in Shanghai; it is based on the same technological platform as the Rapida 106. At IFRA Expo 2011 in Vienna at the beginning of October, KBA unveils the Commander CL, a new newspaper web press with facilities for retrospective expansion of its automation features.  

2012

Under the banner “sprinting ahead”, KBA showcases a raft of innovations at the industry’s leading trade show, drupa, in Düsseldorf in May, including – for the first time – an inkjet web press, the KBA RotaJET 76 for high-volume digital printing. In large-format sheetfed offset, 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 supersedes the Rapida 162 and Rapida 162a. At the Bavarian Print Media Awards 2012, Koenig & Bauer receives the Bavarian prime minister’s honorary award as an “innovative Bavarian showcase company”.  

2013

At the Hunkeler Innovation Days in Lucerne, Switzerland, the now market-ready KBA RotaJET digital web press wins over industry experts with the printing of a daily trade show newspaper. Parallel to the majority takeover of Kammann Maschinenbau, the global market leader for the direct decoration of hollow glass containers, the acquisition of Flexotecnica S.p.A gives KBA access to the growth market for flexible packaging, and enables further expansion of its already broad portfolio for high-quality packaging printing. In November, the supervisory board adopts a comprehensive restructuring programme under the heading “Fit@All”. Its key points embrace the adjustment of production capacities to market developments, including closure of the branch factories in Trennfeld and Ternitz/Austria, a redistribution of production responsibilities between the individual group locations (requiring also the relocation of numerous machine tools), and reorganisation of the parent company Koenig & Bauer AG as a central holding, spinning off not only the operatively independent press business divisions, but also the production facilities in Würzburg and Radebeul, which are to become an independent service provider serving both the group and external clients. 

2014

Implementation of the Fit@All programme progresses rapidly; considerable personnel adjustments at the Würzburg, Frankenthal and Mödling locations contribute to significant improvement of the annual result on the year's balance sheet. KBA Radebeul again adopts a pioneering role in sheetfed offset with the market launch of its future-oriented LED-UV technology for commercial printers. KBA-MetalPrint launches two new metal-decorating presses, the MetalStar 3 and Mailänder 280. KBA Würzburg delivers the largest RotaJET VL inkjet web press to date, with a web width of 1.68m (66.1in), to German decor printer Interprint.

2015

The annual general meeting approves the new group structure with Koenig & Bauer AG as a management holding and the operating subsidiaries KBA-Sheetfed Solutions AG & Co. KG (sheetfed offset), KBA Digital & Web Solutions AG & Co. KG (web offset and digital printing), KBA-NotaSys AG & Co. KG (securities printing activities), and KBA-Industrial Solutions AG & Co. KG and its associated foundry KBA-Gießerei GmbH (production in Würzburg and Radebeul). In cooperation with US partner HP Inc., KBA-Digital & Web unveils the world's largest inkjet web press, the HP T1100S PageWide Web Press for corrugated packaging, a joint development manufactured on behalf of HP at the Würzburg works. The Fit@All programme is completed successfully at the end of the year. With group revenues still exceeding the €1bn mark, the annual financial reports show a much improved pre-tax result (EBT) of almost €30m.

2016

At the drupa trade show, the KBA group presents not only further developed sheetfed offset presses for the medium and large formats, but also a brand-new half-format press, the Rapida 75 PRO, and the rotary die-cutter Rapida RDC, as an entry-level machine for postpress activities. With the new NEO XD LR from KBA-Flexotecnica, a CI flexo web press for flexible film packaging is shown in production for the first time. Digital printers are convinced by the excellent print quality of the new, flexibly scalable RotaJET L series. KBA-Sheetfed unveils the VariJET 106 - Powered by Xerox, showcasing the concept of a digital sheetfed press for folding carton production developed jointly with the US technology group. KBA-Digital & Web delivers the first RotaJET VL with a web width of 225cm (88.6in) to a European decor printer. Group revenue and profits continue to increase. All segments post a positive result at the end of the business year 2016.

 

 

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