Two new medium-format Rapidas at Kerschoffset

Aiming high

Kerschoffset in Jezdobec, close to the Croatian capital Zagreb, has implemented an ambitious investment package. The core elements of the project are two sheetfed offset presses – an eight-colour Rapida 106 with perfecting for 4-over-4 production and a Rapida 105 PRO with five printing units and coating facilities. This new equipment will allow the company to pursue its plans to expand its leading position on the Croatian market and boost its export business.

Kerschoffset has invested a total of €6.5m ($7.24m) in new machinery over the past three years, flaned by comprehensive training measures to prepare its employees for the technological leap forward. “We intend to remain the number one on the Croatian market and aim to expand our printshop into one of the most cutting-edge companies in the region,” says owner and managing director Danijel Kerš. The company currently employs 150 people at its plant near Zagreb and recorded a turnover of around €10m ($11.1m) in 2018 – with 12 per cent of that revenue generated by exports. In this regard, the managing director also has a clear objective: “We want to increase our share of exports to 35 per cent in the coming years.” A particular focus is to be directed at markets such as Austria, Germany, the Netherlands and Great Britain.

Danijel Kerš (r) and pro-duction manager Danijel Vlasic are delighted with the cutting-edge Rapida technology in their printshop

One-stop supplier

The Kerschoffset product portfolio covers the full spectrum of commercial printing, such as brochures, magazines and catalogues, though books also play a significant role in the company’s activities as well. With the sole exception of hardcover books, the company is able to handle all production steps from pre-press to print and through to post-press in house. For Danijel Kerš, this is an important factor as it safeguards quality, while at the same time because it guarantees availability in three-shift operation.

Provider of choice

The media branch is currently experiencing a major upheaval, yet Danijel Kerš is convinced of the strengths of print and remains optimistic about the future. “It is precisely in the broader media mix that print is able to score points with its multisensory appeal.” To optimise its position on the print market, Kerschoffset relies on both offset and digital printing technologies. This combination is the key to absolute flexibility in terms of formats, substrates, finishing effects, run lengths and personalisation options, and has established the company as the provider of choice for many print customers. This is also borne out by a string of industry awards. The company picked up multiple prizes at Croatia’s PRINT.fest and CROPAK Awards in 2016, 2017 and 2018.

Constant print quality thanks to inline measuring and control systems

Consistent development

To live up to this aspiration, as Danijel Kerš says, it is necessary to make continual investments in the company’s further development – and this both in the know-how of the employees and in technology. This insight was also the starting point for the investments made in recent years. Kerschoffset and Koenig & Bauer can look back over many years of cooperation based on trust, and that naturally played a central role in the decision-making process. The plans took on concrete form with the installation of a Rapida 105 PRO in 2017, followed by the Rapida 106 perfector press a year later.

Clear division of responsibilities

When asked to pinpoint the improvements embodied by the current Rapida 106 and Rapida 105 PRO generations, Danijel Kerš mentions three aspects: the entire system of sheet transport from infeed to delivery, including sheet travel through the perfecting unit, along with the optimised printing and inking units, and the comprehensive measuring systems. “The extensive automation tools help us to improve our competitiveness, while the innovative measuring and control systems ensure constant print quality,” he says. There is a clear division of responsibilities between the two presses: Perfecting jobs on substrates up to 175gsm (118lbs) are printed on the eight-colour press. All single-sided jobs and substrates over 175gsm are assigned to the five-colour press. For finishing, the five-colour Rapida 105 PRO is configured with an inline coater. Danijel Kerš can testify to both the straightforward handling and the high quality of the effects achieved, which often make all the difference for his customers. Both presses incorporate numerous quality control solutions. Registration, for example, is managed and monitored with ErgoTronic ACR, while inking is controlled at the console using ErgoTronic ColorControl.

Overall package for operating efficiency

Non-stop systems and preset capabilities extending from the DriveTronic feeder, via fully automatic plate changing (FAPC) through to the AirTronic delivery, ensure that both Rapidas are quick off the mark when carrying out short runs yet at the same time ensure they lack none of the stamina required for long runs. “Nowadays, it is imperative to trim your production for maximum efficiency at both ends of the run length spectrum, and we have definitely achieved that with our investment in the two presses from Koenig & Bauer,” says Danijel Kerš, before continuing: “The overall package of automation modules provides for increased efficiency and profitability.” In this context, attention must also be paid to press availability, a concern which is immediately answered by Koenig & Bauer’s dense service network. The remote service desk is already able to solve many questions immediately; the planning of service visits has greatly improved, and any maintenance work due can be scheduled more effectively. The managing director summarises his experience to date as follows: “The two Rapidas have made us more competitive, and that allows us to be optimistic about the future.”

Knud Wassermann


Background photo: High production speeds and fast makeready enable Kerschoffset to consolidate its leading position on the Croatian market