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KBA Karat 75

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  • KBA Karat 75

    So I’ve looked at DI presses for awhile and asked many questions in here about them. What I’ve seemed to find is the biggest downfall of them is the 12x18 sheet size. I couldn’t for the life of me understand why they didn’t go larger. Then the other day I found this. The KBA Karat 74. It’s B2 sheet size. No ones ever mentioned this before. Is it a bust as a press? KBA is a pretty quality name, so was wondering what people thought about it. Essentially it rivals the indigo 10000 with the sheet size and I’m sure cost per print is way better and is faster. Just curious if anyone has experience with one and what that experience was. Seems like a good press for andthing but the longest sheetfed runs.

  • #2
    I worked at a shop that had one, but I never saw it run.
    It was wrapped in plastic when I started working there until they finally found someone to buy it 2 years later. They said it was a dog to run.

    They said the setup time on a job was absolutely outrageous - like 2 hours or something to image & makeready.

    No idea how many there are out there or if you'd even be able to find parts & plates for it anymore.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by AP90 View Post
      So I’ve looked at DI presses for awhile and asked many questions in here about them. What I’ve seemed to find is the biggest downfall of them is the 12x18 sheet size. I couldn’t for the life of me understand why they didn’t go larger. Then the other day I found this. The KBA Karat 74. It’s B2 sheet size. No ones ever mentioned this before. Is it a bust as a press? KBA is a pretty quality name, so was wondering what people thought about it. Essentially it rivals the indigo 10000 with the sheet size and I’m sure cost per print is way better and is faster. Just curious if anyone has experience with one and what that experience was. Seems like a good press for andthing but the longest sheetfed runs.
      It seems to be just another of the press concepts that did not take off to be a success. There are quite a few of them.

      Anyhow, I analyzed this press (Karat 74) along with the other related KBA press concepts, Genius 52, Rapida 74G, and Cortina press about 12 years ago. Slightly different design approaches, all of which in my opinion are not too good.

      The Karat press is a bit more different than the rest because each of its two plate cylinder carries two plates and is inked from two different Gravuflow inkers. So two of the CMYK plates will be on one plate cylinder and two on the other. The impression cylinder. Due to this situation, the paper on the impression cylinder is required to revolve two times to print the image from each of the two plates. This means that mechanically (and printing speed) , the Karat press impression cylinder is required to rotate twice as fast as a conventional sheetfed press having the same output of sheets per minute. One should be able to see that this is going to tend to limit future speeds.

      I think the issue about larger presses has to do with set up time.

      If one has a small DI press, then having the plates in a cassette in the plate cylinder can make sense. But for a larger press, this might not be such a good option. Therefore one would have to hang a large plate on the press.

      So let's compare that makeready times for just obtaining an imaged plate on press.

      Conventional press.

      Hang a pre imaged plate. X minutes

      Large DI press

      Hang non imaged plate X minutes

      Image plate Y minutes

      One should be able to see that obtaining an imaged plate is faster on a conventional press than on a large DI press.

      Conventional X minutes

      Large DI press X+Y minutes.

      In general, DI is a dead end technology.

      Press manufacturers in general have not had a very successful history of innovating new printing technology. The number of failed efforts is quite high and the reasons for the many failures is quite clear, if one knows how to analyze them. They don't know what they are doing and this results in them going back to the conventional concept that they are so familiar with.
      Last edited by Erik Nikkanen; 04-23-2018, 06:49 PM.

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      • #4
        Had one, actually still sitting in back of the warehouse (free to good home but you have to move it and pay to set it back up), it was not bad for first couple years back in the day, but like anything that the Germans and Israelis collaborate on it was over engineered and plagued with electrical problems, when we got a conventional press it would run circles around the Karat so we eventually just turned it off, like Eric said DI is all but dead, QM-DI was a good bridge between the GTO days and the digital presses era, but 2up DI does not have a home anymore. 74 Karat did have some interesting features, the sheet gets reversed during infeed so instead of flipping sheet over you just spin the dolly 180 degrees and roll in for back side, that is cool, also it was very compact, the coater was on very top, you had a staircase to go up to the applicator.

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        • #5
          Here is my 2 cents: Around 5 years ago we wanted to upgrade our B2 press.
          At the time we had a Presstek 34di 2-up and a conventional Man-Roland 204 B2 Press. Our platemaking was done on a modern CTP system.
          As we already had CTP our logical upgrade path was a Man-Roland 304 og 505 or similar Komori/Heidelberg.
          We wanted a machine with automatic/semiautomatic plantechange, all washers, and color control with scanning densitometer.
          5 years ago a machine with those specifications was a bit more expensive then today, and it was more money than I was willing to spend on a upgrade..


          I had seen the 74 Karat on previous Drupa's and always been impressed with it's special features, compact size, inking unit and so on, we knew the DI technology from our small 34DI and liked it.
          One day I stumbled upon a 74 Karat for sale, the printshop was closing down and they wanted to sell all their equipment, I made a bid on the Karat and got the machine.
          In a period of 1,5 months we sold the Man-Roland and got the KBA 74 Karat installed instead and even got money to spare - that cheap was the Karat.
          I know that the Man-Roland 204 wasn’t the most modern press but anyway, the difference between the Man-Roland and the 74-Karat was like night and day.
          With the Man Roland it used to take around 30-50 minutes and a lot of make-ready sheets, depending on the form, to get a perfect print.
          Now with the Karat it takes 12-15 minuttes and 5-10 sheets of make-ready sheets to get a perfect print no matter how difficult the form is, and the color stays the same from the beginning till the end of the run.

          Today we still use our 74-karat, and we even installed a second one in 2016, if we had the room we would consider installing a third on.
          I think it is a press that you either love or hate. Traditional pressmen seems to hate it. Folks coming from a digital background seems to love it.
          As long as you know that it is a press and not a Printer. You will get your hands dirty, There will be maintenance and you will have to clean the press.

          The only thing I would trade the Karats for would be a Heidelberg Anicolor XL75.
          But then again, I haven’t got the room for 2 presses, I need to buy a CTP and have the room for it, and I guess that you could have 50-70 karats for the same price as the Heidelberg.

          All in all - we love our Karats

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