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Features Printing
Cedar Graphics boosts productivity by 30 per cent with Koenig & Bauer Rapida 106


March 9, 2020
By PrintAction Staff

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A Koenig & Bauer Rapida 106 LED perfector press.

A Koenig & Bauer Rapida 106 LED perfector press.Ever since it was established in 1986, Cedar Graphics has focused on delivering high-end quality printing at its expansive Hiawatha, Iowa facility.

But in today’s world of printing – in which designers and ad agencies are constantly pushing the envelope with creative artwork, intricate four-colour builds, and massive ink coverage – Cedar Graphic’s owners rely on their knowledgeable employees and array of advanced technology.

And that definitely includes the company’s Koenig & Bauer Rapida 106 LED perfector press, which anchors its pressroom.

“Our Rapida 106 four-over-four press has flat out knocked the socks off of our customers,” said Scott Burnett, production manager at Cedar Graphics. “Whether it be during tours from our annual ‘Think to Ink’ open house, or during requested customer press checks, our customers all walk away impressed at how quickly the Rapida 106 press matches the desired colour reference and how effortlessly the press reaches top speeds of up to 18,000 sph. Not only has this allowed us to continue to exceed our customers’ expectations, but word of mouth has spread and we have been contacted by new customers that we weren’t currently servicing.”

When the press was installed in 2017, it distinguished itself with ground-breaking automated features that have proven to provide Cedar Graphics with massive gains in productivity and additional capacity. “Our makeready times have decreased by 50% and we’ve seen a reduction in makeready stock by 35% to 40%,” Burnett said. “We’ve also been able to eliminate two shifts – equivalent to four operators – and repurpose those employees in our digital pressroom, thus allowing us much needed capacity in that area.”

What else has the press given Cedar Graphics?

With a goal to offer complete customer satisfaction, the new Rapida 106 LED has allowed the firm to enhance and improve on the markets and high-end customers that it serves. Its makeready technology advancements, like DriveTronic SPC, and QualiTonic in-line color control, lets Cedar Graphics gain even more efficiencies, quicker turn times, and higher quality to its customers. “We’re now driving in new customers from the pharmaceutical market to print on 40# stock to short run packaging in which we are printing on 24 pt. board,” Burnett said. “We accomplish this production by perfecting four-over-four at high end speeds up to a maximum of 18,000 sph.”

When asked which of the many features on press have helped Cedar Graphics the most, Burnett is quick to identify the Koenig & Bauer QualiTronic system and System Brunner. The QualiTronic system has superior quick to colour capabilities, he said, as well as the consistency of colour from first sheet to last sheet.

In Burnett’s estimation, System Brunner Instrument Flight software is industry-changing technology, offering the ability to measure and control gray balance inline on press. It measures every sheet for density, TVI (tone value increase), and gray balance. Instrument Flight then takes these measurements and will raise or lower the density in each color across the sheet to keep the press in perfect gray balance based on the standard the press operator has entered into the software. “Instrument Flight is an amazing colour control software that gives us the ability to keep our print jobs in a completely higher level of control,” Burnett said. “It allows us to achieve and maintain true colour at all times.”

“Our innovative brands and creative customers are always pushing the envelope for eye-catching or tactile coatings and varnish combinations,” said Justin McDonald, Cedar Graphics’ marketing director. “Recently, we’ve been testing LED soft touch coating. With so many customers enjoying both the look and feel of soft touch coating on their printed material, we’re always looking at improving this process in quality, durability, and turn time.”

Additionally, the press has given Cedar Graphics the ability to produce work that they couldn’t have done before. Recently, the firm received a very difficult print project for a catalogue that contained four colour gray builds both in the product itself and the background colour as well. By utilizing the System Brunner Instrument Flight software on its Koenig & Bauer Rapida 106, the company’s skilled press operators were able to control colour via gray balance and keep the four colour gray builds looking consistent throughout the catalogue. “Controlling color by density alone is something that would have been extremely difficult, if not impossible, before,” Burnett said.