Koenig & Bauer looks to new future

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Press manufacturing giant Koenig & Bauer is launching a new corporate strategy, Exceeding Print, with which it says will transform itself from a heavy engineering manufacturer to an agile technology group.

New strategy: Koenig & Bauer
New strategy: Koenig & Bauer

Launched under the Exceeding Print banner, the company will have a keener focus on the core markets of packaging, post-press, industrial commercial printing and security printing, it will realise the increasing significance of software and digital solutions, and says it will be an agent of change and innovation within the print industry, due to integrated system solutions and a broad range of digital printing presses.

Koenig & Bauer is the world’s oldest press manufacturer, currently celebrating 200 years of manufacturing. It claims to have the widest product portfolio in the industry, with offset, hybrid, flexibles, corrugated and security presses.

The company says under the new strategy it will be carbon neutral by the end of the decade. “By 2025, we are aiming to reduce CO2 emissions in our production plants by 75 per cent, and intend to be completely carbon-neutral from 2030 on,” as CEO Dr Andreas Pleßke announced.

“As the industry’s leading provider of sustainable solutions, we help our customers to reduce their ecological footprint. Solutions based on technology that we developed reduce energy consumption, cut waste, and decrease ink and coating consumption, helping to cut CO2 emissions.”

It is also pursuing a modular future, seeking to leverage technologies, and parts, across multiple products for diverse applications. It says a modular platform for future machine generations offers customers any number of advantages.

“Not only are new technologies ready for the market more quickly, but integrated control of machines and systems, and the standardisation of maintenance become possible,” said executive board member and COO Michael Ulverich.

He said, “The modular principle ensures that the customers continue to benefit from tailor-made solutions. The standardisation of a number of elements opens up more opportunities for innovation and individualisation – while maintaining the same high quality at the same time.”

Koenig & Bauer intends to maintain its entrepreneurial independence in future by retaining a high level of vertical integration – from the smallest gearwheel to complex units.”

Digital services are becoming increasingly important for networking machines with each other, collecting and analysing data, and controlling processes efficiently. Koenig & Bauer is developing digital services based on scalable cloud platforms and makes them available to customers via a portal for collaboration. The analysis of machine data forms the basis for evaluating performance, setting benchmarks and industrial analytics scenarios.

Ralf Sammeck, executive board member for the sheetfed segment and CDO, said, “Software is driving our transformation from a manufacturer of machinery to a technology company.”

Koenig & Bauer is responding to the trend towards hybrid printing processes in the paper, board, corrugated board and film segments by combining analogue and digital printing and finishing technologies. This allows the advantages of both applications to be exploited optimally, broadening the range of substrates that can be printed on. By entering the food and beverage carton industry, Koenig & Bauer will enable full-colour digital printing on carton packaging in future.

“Digital printing processes will be a catalyst for new business models,” as Christoph Müller, executive board member for the Digital & Webfed segment, is convinced. “We are assuming that most of the companies that will be our customers in future have not even been founded yet.”

More diversity within the company in relation to gender, age and internationality has, as a social objective, also been adopted as part of Koenig & Bauer’s new strategic blueprint. It says one key focal point is the advancement of women, for example through mentoring and career programmes, and by introducing wide-reaching measures to reconcile family and career, as well as initiatives to combat discrimination and racism.

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