KBA North America Division Sells a Comet Press in Wisconsin

By: Jim Rosenberg

Monday afternoon here at the annual Nexpo newspaper technology trade show and conference, KBA North America’s York, Pa., division signed a contract for the sale of a Comet press in Wisconsin — just days after announcing at the annual America East trade show the sale of a Comet in Trinidad and Tobago.

Bliss Communications will install the singlewide, two-around press in a new remote production and distribution plant for the Janesville Gazette, replacing production on an old offset press at its headquarters, where it will retain its offices and newsroom.

The plant also will print: The Jotter, The Week of Wallworth County; The Monroe Times, for Green and Lafayette counties; and several other publications.

The floor-mounted, 75,000-cph press will comprise four eight-couple (four-over-four) color towers, a double KF 3 2:3:3 jaw folder and five Pastoline reelstands at right angles to the press units.

Influenced by Prairie-style architecture the broad, single-level plant will have the press as its central feature — viewable through a large display window in the entrance, according to Dario Designs Vice President David Ehrhardt.

Designed for a flexible packaging center able to accommodate commercial work and facilitate communication of personnel and material between the press and packaging areas, the plant features “one combined work area, where one space flows into another,” said Ehrhardt.

The approximately 50,000-square-foot building also is designed for future expansion “without disrupting what’s already been constructed” and for easy incorporation of further commercial work into the operation, Ehrhardt said.

The press’ four formers, in upper and lower pairs, will be “able to produce a variety of products, either simultaneously or independently,” KBA Marketing and Newspaper Sales Director Gary Owen said.

ANSA McAL will install a KBA Comet in a greenfield plant erected for the Guardian, in Chaguanas, on the Caribbean island of Trinidad.

ANSA McAL holds a controlling interest in Trinidad Publishing Co., a publicly traded firm that also has broadcasting interests.

To be mounted on a concrete table, the singlewide, two-around Comet will consist an eight-couple (four-over-four) color tower on each end and two four-couple towers and a KF 3 2:3:3 jaw folder between and six MEG/DLP 1000 reelstands below. It will be controlled by a KBA Drivetronic system.

The Comet’s variable web-width capability will enable production of more kinds of semicommercial work with more color.

Last month, parent company Koenig & Bauer AG, Wuerzburg, Germany, announced that Exceutive Vice President for Web Press Sales Walter Schumacher will step down on April 30. He will be succeeded by industrial engineer Christoph Mueller, who came to K&B with its acquisition of Albert Frankenthal.

Although most of Mueller’s experience is in commercial web offset and rotogravure sales and project management, KBA said he gained familiarity with the newspaper industry through Albert Frankenthal’s newspaper press business, which lasted until the early 1990s.

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