KBA describes its Rapida 75 as “the overnight success that was 200 years in the making”. The press got its official launch at last year’s Drupa exhibition and incorporates elements from earlier B2 models – the Rapida and Performa 74 presses, as well as technology borrowed from KBA’s high-end 105 and 205 machines.

The 75 is manufactured at KBA’s Czech subsidiary Grafitec. This is the same factory that used to make the Polly offset presses years ago, prior to KBA’s purchase of the plant in 2005. However, this new Rapida is anything but a Polly in fresh feathers, as Giffin Graphics’ manager of the machinery division Alexandre F Najem asserts: “It really is a brand new design.”

It effectively replaces the previous Rapida 74 model and is best suited to the typical requirements and budget of the average B2 printer. The 74 model that preceded it was, if anything, over-specified, with too many features that bumped up the cost, which meant it had limited mass-market appeal.

“What we have is a compact design, affordability, short make-ready time, wide stock range including cardboard and easy handing in one machine.”

Simple but effective
There is no earth-shattering breakthrough technology or whizzy features contained within the Rapida 75’s blue and white housing. Rather, it can be billed as a press that does what it says on the tin. As such, the firm is targeting its sales effort at the jobbing B2 market where printers need a versatile machine that can cope with a multitude of job types and stock changeovers.

Of additional appeal is its compact footprint and KBA’s claim that power usage can be up to half that of some comparable presses. Features borrowed from its larger siblings include pneumatic sidelay, universal gripper system, plate cocking and clamping, and the DensiTronic quality control.

The 75 is available in configurations from two- to eight-colours, with perfecting available as an option. Also optional is a coating unit, which features the same chamber blade and exchangeable anilox roller combination as KBA’s high-end large-format machines, and extended delivery.

UV is not included among the 75’s configuration options and there’s no 10-colour variant at present, which excludes KBA from a chunk of long perfecting sales. However, there’s a hint that such a model could appear at some point in the future should demand prove persuasive. So far the machine has seen four installations with three taking place in the UAE and one in Qater. 

Size options
Two formats are offered: the standard model has a 530x750mm maximum sheet size, while a larger 605x750mm version is also available. KBA calculates that, for some common page formats, this larger version enables six-up layouts, or 50% more productivity, which could be an important differentiator for potential customers with the right work mix.

The press features double-circumference cylinders throughout and KBA claims “perfect” back-up when perfecting thanks to the three double-sized cylinders in the perfecting unit.

Sheet monitoring comes as standard and sheets are also completely printed before the transfer process. Everything is double-circumference, so it’s a shallow transfer and sheet travel. The speedy, adjustment-free changeover between differing stock thicknesses is also a major attraction in the jobbing market. There are no stock or speed limitations when in perfecting mode.

Maximum stock thickness is 0.6mm and, while some competing models handle marginally thicker stocks, KBA believes 0.6mm will be heavy enough for most requirements. It also expects the materials handling know-how that has been brought into the 75 from its large-format presses to prove attractive. Minimum sheet weight is 0.04mm.

The 75 has a maximum printing speed of 15,000sph and the operator runs the press from the ErgoTronic control console, which can store the parameters of up to 4,000 jobs. CIP4 interface links the press to pre-press data for job presets and there’s also a USB port for job data transfer. An additional touchscreen control panel is located at the delivery end of the press, “reducing legwork” and allowing the press minder to easily make adjustments to settings, including register and inking. Axial, radial and diagonal registration adjustments are possible and the on-the-run diagonal adjustment made possible by skewing the transfer drums as one of the key elements of the press. By adjusting it this way, the manufacturer doesn’t mess about with the plate cylinders, so there’s less stress on the printing and inking units.

Automation features
Makeready functions include semi-automatic plate changing that takes less than a minute per unit and simultaneous wash-up for blanket and impression cylinders.

It’s a hugely competitive sector, of course, and the 75 is up against market leader Heidelberg with its established Speedmaster SM 74 and latest B2 model, the top-of-the-range XL 75. Other competitors include Komori, Ryobi and Manroland and so potential customers are spoilt for choice and have no shortage of options when they’re looking to invest. Nixon admits that it’s a challenge to get on the list, but one that he is relishing.


Max sheet size               530x750mm (standard)
Min sheet size                    330x330mm (350x330mm
                                                         when perfecting)
Number of colour                   from two to eight,
                                                         plus coating unit
Min/max substrate weight              0.04-0.6mm
Max speed                       15,000 sheets per hour

                                                                                      Giffin Graphics
+971 6 543 6222



Heidelberg Speedmaster SM 74
Heidelberg’s venerable B2 workhorse has been on the market for 15 years, proof of its enduring success.

Max/min sheet size                     280x210mm/530x740mm
Max speed                                      15,000sph
Contact                                            Heidelberg ME
                                                          +971 4 3477720


Komori Lithrone S29
Komori describes this press as “a major weapon in the fight for profitability for medium-format printers”.

Max/min sheet size                     200x280mm/530x750mm
Max speed                                      16,000sph
Contact                                            Prestige  Graphics (UAE)                      +971 4 341 2773
                                                          Ali Alhashemi (KSA)
                                                          +971 4 340 0303


Manroland R200
This is a B2 press the makes great play of its compact footprint – a four-colour model is less than 5.5m long.

Max/min sheet size                     210x280mm/430x740mm
Max speed                                      13,000sph
Contact                                           Dynagraph +971 4 347 7724


Ryobi 750
Has a retractable coater, which can be made ready while another job is printing, and a UV casting system.

Max/min sheet size                     279x200mm/600x788mm
Max speed                                      15,000sph
Contact                                            Info Alpha Graphics
                                                          +971 4 224 9320


Shinohara 75 series
Slighty faster than the Rapida and slightly cheaper, the machine offers a good level of technology for a budget price.

Max/min sheet size                     260x400mm/585x750mm
Max speed                                      17,000sph
Contact                                            MBS Graphics
                                                          +971 4 269 3304

Sakurai Oliver 75 series
Sakurai’s offer runs at the same high speed as the KBA, but is more expensive and has a maximum of six colours.

Max sheet size                              600x765mm
Max speed                                      15,000sph
Contact                                            Ali Alhashemi
                                                          +971 4 340 0303


Mitsubishi Diamond 1000
The Diamond 1000LS is the standard model and the Diamond 1000LC is specially configured for folding carton applications

Max sheet size                              520x720mm
Max speed                                      16,000sph

Contact                                            Proteck ME
                                                          +971 4 297 8288