The large-format Rapida 145, with five printing units and inline coater, was commissioned just last year to replace an old large-format press. The medium-format Rapida 105 had also been in production for over a decade, but it has treated to a comprehensive retrofit. The total investment, including renovation of the hall, amounted to almost €4 million. Both presses now run in high-speed unison – the Rapida 145 at 15,000 sheets per hour for 98% of the time.
The recent investments became imperative due to the increasing proportion of short-run production jobs. Print volumes have increased from 39 million sheets in 2010 to 48 million sheets, but the number of individual jobs has risen more sharply from 7,600 to 11,000. Overall, average run lengths have fallen from 4,950 sheets in 2010 to 3,900 sheets in 2016. Faced with this challenge, there was no alternative but to minimize makeready times and raise production output.
Due to the facilities for parallel processes (DriveTronic SPC with PlateIdent, CleanTronic Synchro and a DriveTronic SFC coater with AniSleeve), makeready times for the Rapida 145 have been slashed by 80%, according to KBA. As makeready is no longer such a major factor in production costs, classic games such as Ludo can be printed more frequently. Consequently, less space is required for finished and semi-finished products, and less capital is locked up in intermediate storage.
There are typically up to 18 job changes per shift. The record to date was 50 makeready cycles in 24 hours. Between four and sixteen different products are printed together on one sheet. CtP is also the stage at which it is decided whether to assign the job to the medium- or large-format press.
“We can swear by our Rapidas for their advantages in board printing,” said Günter Märker, head of production at Ravensburger.
A company like Ravensburger is naturally a source of many superlatives. The largest Ravensburger jigsaw puzzle, for example, came onto the market in 2016. It comprises 40,320 pieces and weighs around 20 kg. Puzzlers can look forward to some 600 hours of fun to complete the puzzle measuring 6.8 x 1.9 meters.