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Rapida progress at RLC

When KBA unveiled its new 18,000sheets/hour B1 Rapida 105 press at drupa 2004, a press of this type had already been put through its paces for several months at the Rob Leunis & Chapman Group’s pharmaceutical centre in Berlin.

“We needed the most advanced and efficient technology on the market, because competition in the packaging industry is so fierce that only the fittest survive,” says Hans-Christian Bestehorn, managing director of the family owned company.


The PharmaCenter, which specializes in folding cartons for the drug industry, is the RLC group’s newest factory. Other Berlin locations are Colorpack, handling general packaging, and Centerpack, which offers contract work and services. There is also a Hanover based premium packaging operation called Leunisman. Medium and large format Rapida presses had been in operation at Colorpack for many years before the new Rapida 105 went into action at the PharmaCenter.

The six colour coater press with delivery extension is claimed to be ideal for the pharmaceutical operation. Mounted on a 45cm plinth, it affords much greater flexibility in handling materials which can range from lightweight paper to heavy board. “We have even run 80g jobs on it,” explains Hans-Christian Bestehorn.


With run lengths rapidly diminishing, partly as a result of recent health reforms in Germany, this flexibility is crucial. Makeready with the new press has proved to be 20 per cent faster than with its predecessor, while its production output is 20 per cent higher. An advanced level of automation, with automatic plate changing as a standard feature and additional console functions, is said to have enhanced efficiency substantially.

Colorpack will soon be doubling its Rapida 142 capacity when it takes delivery of a second press, this time a six colour machine with two coaters, extended delivery and automated pile logistics. It will feed to one of the first 1,000 x 1,450mm Sprintera die cutters to come off the Bobst production line.

The new kit will enable the company to deliver added value in general packaging through the option of end-of-press UV coating, which dramatically increases the gloss levels possible in in-line processing. Non stop automatic features at the feeder and delivery, in conjunction with the pile logistics, will enhance efficiency even further, it is claimed.

The Rob Leunis & Chapman group has garnered international awards for some of its product designs. In 2002, for example, its automatic system for packaging baked goods using a blank won the company a Pro Carton/ECMA Award. This qualified it for the World Star award sponsored by the World Packaging Organisation, which it won the same year with packaging for a dome shaped cake (‘Kuppelkuchen’) sold by Bahlsen.


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