Koenig & Bauer is an international system provider for the global printing industry. Printing presses and systems, which are consistently tailored to meet customer requirements, as well as services enable people all over the world to come into contact with printed, post-printed and finished products.
In addition to various types of packaging for the food, beverage, pharmaceutical, consumer goods and cosmetics industries, this also includes banknotes, decorations and laminates as well as magazines and newspapers. The presses use almost all common printing technologies that apply ink efficiently and precisely to a wide variety of substrates such as paper, cardboard, foil, glass, hollow containers and sheet metal. This gives Koenig & Bauer one of the broadest product ranges in the industry. The comprehensive expertise derived from addressing many sub-markets provides a good basis for innovation and for new applications in the growing packaging printing markets and ensures that
production processes can be structured more and more sustainably and efficiently.
Koenig & Bauer holds a leading position worldwide in many markets and is the global market and technology leader in parts of the growing market for packaging printing and banknote printing.
Service business, which is becoming increasingly digital and non-cyclical, is to be additionally expanded and will also account for a long-term share of around 30% of Group revenue.
Global presence and employees
The Group export ratio of 88.6% (previous year: 86.2%) reflects Koenig & Bauer’s global presence. At the same time, eleven production sites in Europe ensure vertically integrated production and highly reliable supply chains and production. The many sales and service organisations complement the global presence.
Koenig & Bauer promotes a culture of innovation and has been a pioneer in vocational training since its foundation over 200 years ago in order to maintain its technological lead in the future. The Koenig & Bauer Group had 5,485 employees worldwide at the end of 2022 (previous year: 5,397). Koenig & Bauer expanded its staff in key growth areas, including IT as well as new applications and products for the expanding packaging market, as well as in the digital unit.
Workforce as of 31 December 2022
In connection with the annual intake of new apprentices in September 2022, the Koenig & Bauer Group is retaining its training policy despite the difficult global economy in order to create career openings by offering talented young people an apprenticeship. In this way, the Company is covering its high demand for qualified specialists, especially in the technology sector and in mechanical engineering, by means of in-house training. In 2022, a total of 113 (previous year: 71) apprentices and dual-course students embarked on their first steps in their new careers with the Koenig & Bauer Group. They already have the promise of a permanent employment contract upon the successful completion of their apprenticeships.
With its “Exceeding Print” strategy, Koenig & Bauer is driving forward sustainability – one of three of its strategies – as the greatest challenge facing the packaging industry in the future, thus systematically expanding its already successful activities in this area, which is of crucial importance for the Group’s future development. The statutory reporting obligations are fulfilled with the publication of the non-financial Group report as a separate part of this annual report with references to the combined management report on pages 141 ff. Further information is available on the Company’s website at www.sustainability.koenig-bauer.com.
Decentralised organisation with a holding company structure
The Koenig & Bauer Group is composed of Koenig & Bauer AG as the holding company and its subsidiaries. As of 31 December 2022, 37 (previous year: 37) companies were included in the consolidated financial statements in addition to Koenig & Bauer AG. Two companies are accounted for using the equity method (previous year: one company).
Unlike the IFRS consolidated financial statements of the Koenig & Bauer Group, the annual financial statements of Koenig & Bauer AG are based on the German Commercial Code (HGB), supplemented by the German Stock Corporation Act and can be found on page 50 f.
As shown in simplified form in the diagram, the producing subsidiaries are allocated to the three segments Sheetfed, Digital & Webfed and Special on the basis of their business activities. The domestic and foreign companies, which mostly offer sales and service functions for several segments, are allocated to the segments in accordance with their activities. Similarly, the business units defined as production service providers (“Industrial”, see diagram) are allocated to the three segments on the basis of their activities.
Business activities in the segments
The diagram setting out the Group structure also shows the organisational structure of the Koenig & Bauer Group at the end of the financial year 2022. In line with its operating business, the internal reporting structure is divided into the following segments: Sheetfed, Digital & Webfed and Special. These also form the reportable segments in accordance with IFRS. Segment revenue is split into printing presses and services, including spare parts, as well as miscellaneous business. In addition to classic services, a variety of digital services are also offered in all segments and are constantly being expanded to supplement printing press technology.
The Sheetfed segment, which makes the greatest contribution to revenue, offers a wide range of sheetfed offset presses under the “Rapida” name from half to super-large formats for the packaging and commercial printing market. In addition to classic sheetfed offset printing technology, it offers a digital printing solution in the form of the VariJET. The segment portfolio also includes aggregates for postprint processing of the printed sheets. These are punched out with a rotary or flat bed punch and folded and glued together with the aid of a folding box gluer.
The following diagram illustrates the revenue derived from printing press and service business in the Sheetfed segment, which has consistently grown year-on-year. At 23.2% (previous year: 22.2%), the share of service business was further expanded, thus approaching the Group target of around 30%.
The Digital & Webfed segment offers a variety of printing presses and systems that address the three printing processes: letterpress printing (flexo printing), gravure printing and planographic printing (web offset printing). In addition to web offset presses, which are mainly used in newspaper, commercial and publication printing, web presses for digital printing are also offered. The RotaJET platform is the world’s only industrial digital printing press that handles commercial printing as well as decorative and beverage carton printing in the industrial printing market. The roll digital printing activities are complemented by the HP Page-Wide T1190 for pre-printing corrugated-board cover layers. This press is assembled in cooperation with HP. Integrated paper logistics are also available to suit the roll presses. This is because automation, an integrated workflow and process optimisation are crucial elements of the “total cost of process” approach.
Through the acquisition in 2022 of Celmacch Group S.r.l., Koenig & Bauer offers solutions under the name “Chroma” in the high-board market in all price and performance classes for direct corrugated board printing. The CorruJET complements direct corrugated-board printing by offering a digital printing solution together with Durst.
The segment offers various flexoprinting presses that are used for producing flexible packaging, especially in the food sector. At the customer’s request, the presses can be equipped with a variety of inline integrations.
The following diagram shows the revenue generated over time in press and service business in the Digital & Webfed segment. 44.0% (previous year: 48.2%) of the segment’s revenue is accounted for by services, with newsprint presses exhibiting a downward trend. This trend is also evident in newspaper offset press business, which contributed 0.0% (previous year: 6.0%) to segment revenue and 0.0% (previous year: 0.7%) to Group revenue as of 31 December 2022.
The Special segment comprises the activities of Banknote Solutions (banknote and security printing), Kammann (direct decoration of hollow bodies made of glass, plastic and metal), MetalPrint (metal packaging) and Coding (marking solutions for all industries).
Specialized printing presses for banknote and security printing and expertise in banknote and security design together with the corresponding banknote design software, prepress solutions, security elements – all these activities are performed by Banknote Solutions for central banks and private printers for the banknote production. The range is complemented by the ValiCash™ (authentication of banknotes) and Smill™ (for sharing digital messages on a banknote) smartphone apps.
Kammann supplies printing systems for the direct decoration of hollow bodies made of glass, plastic or metal. Directly decorated glass containers are mainly used for cosmetics, perfume and spirits products in the premium segment. In addition to the predominant screen printing process, hot stamping, digital printing and many other decoration processes can be optionally integrated in the precise and flexible transport systems.
MetalPrint provides end-to-end systems for the decoration of 2- and 3-piece cans. To decorate a 3-piece can – which is mainly used for food – complete production lines that print, paint and dry tinplate sheets are utilised. Metal sheets are not used to decorate 2-piece cans for beverages. Instead, cups or bowls are printed directly, painted and then dried with CS MetalCan.
Coding supplements the segment portfolio with solutions for all industries from pharmaceuticals and cosmetics to floristry: variable data, logos and barcodes are printed, marked and coded on different substrates on a just-in-time basis. Production reliability and speed with a typeface of excellent print quality is crucial in order, for example, to apply the legally required best-before date or batch traceability data accurately. Manipulation-proof labelling and seamless product traceability are playing an increasingly important role.
The following diagram illustrates the revenue generated by printing press and service business in the Special segment, which has consistently grown year-on-year. The share of service business stood at 33.4%, compared with 34.1% in the previous year.
Industrial is an internal and external production service provider, manufacturing high-precision components for printing presses and external customers in the mechanical and plant engineering sector in conjunction with other companies. It specialises in precision-machined large parts made of cast iron or steel, complex prismatic and rotating parts, gears, curves, sheet metal assemblies, rollers and the environmentally friendly coating of rotating parts. In addition, Industrial offers further services such as assembly, engineering and logistics.
Management and governance
Koenig & Bauer AG is a public limited company (“Aktiengesellschaft”) under German law with a dual management structure. Its Management Board is composed of five members:
- Dr Andreas Pleßke
(Chief Executive Officer and responsible for the Special segment),
- Dr Stephen Kimmich
(Chief Financial Officer),
- Christoph Müller
(responsible for the Digital & Webfed segment),
- Ralf Sammeck
(responsible for the Sheetfed segment and Chief Digital Officer) and
- Michael Ulverich
(Chief Operation Officer – production, procurement and logistics).
In 2022, the Supervisory Board approved the renewal of the contracts of Christoph Müller and Ralf Sammeck. Mr Müller will now remain on the Management Board until 30 June 2026 after being initially appointed in 2006. He is responsible for new developments in corrugated board and digital printing as well as strategic partnerships, such as with HP. Mr Müller is also responsible for the smooth integration of Celmacch within Koenig & Bauer’s global sales and service network. Ralf Sammeck has been a member of the Management Board since 2007. He is responsible for the digital transformation within the Group. With his experience, he will ensure that the Sheetfed segment continues to expand its successful position in the growing packaging market even after the drupa 2024 trade show and drive forward digitisation. His contract was renewed by a further year until 30 June 2025.
The business allocation plan shows the breakdown of the Management Board duties as well as the distribution of functional responsibilities as of 31 December 2022.
Koenig & Bauer AG’s Supervisory Board consisted of twelve members as of 31 December 2022. Under the German Stock Corporation Act (AktG), the Supervisory Board is responsible for appointing or dismissing the members of the Management Board, monitoring and advising the Management Board, adopting the annual financial statements, approving the consolidated financial statements and approving or advising on important aspects of corporate planning and decisions. The Supervisory Board report on page 7ff and the corporate governance declaration provide details of the joint working practices of the Management Board and the Supervisory Board and corporate governance at Koenig & Bauer AG.
Goals and strategy
“Exceeding Print” corporate strategy
Against the backdrop of global secular trends and following intense discussions with customers and experts, Koenig & Bauer has defined its medium-term strategic alignment. Secular trends play a crucial role in corporate strategic planning. They describe complex, long-term processes of transformation with enormous dimensions and effects on the economy and society. Their impact is not isolated. Rather, they influence and strengthen each other mutually. Koenig & Bauer has pooled its corporate goals in “Exceeding Print” by focusing on its existing strengths of sustainability, modularity and digitisation. True to the motto “Strengthen strengths”, the Company focuses on its core competencies, expanding them systematically and innovatively. This is also reflected in the path that Koenig & Bauer has already adopted, leading to greater digitisation and modularity and resulting in more economic success in its core markets, especially packaging printing, as one thing is quite clear: printing processes will require less material and energy, thus becoming more sustainable. Accordingly, Koenig & Bauer is developing rapidly but with foresight, transitioning from a traditional mechanical engineering company into an agile technology group.
Koenig & Bauer is becoming MORE SUSTAINABLE:
Sustainability is one of the greatest global challenges of our times. It is with this in mind that Koenig & Bauer is designing its products and processes to make them ready for the future and to meet the needs of all its stakeholders. In addition to the European Green Deal, the main drivers are the Company’s own sustainability goals. Beyond its responsibility towards its customers and employees, the Group wants to fulfil its environmental, social and community obligations even more effectively as a member of the world’s largest sustainability initiative, UN Global Compact. It is aiming to reduce the carbon emissions of its own production plants by 75% by 2025 and to make Scope 1 and 2 emissions carbon-neutral from 2030 onwards. To support its customers in reducing their ecological footprint, the Company is pursuing the following goals:
• Accelerate the portfolio of solutions for a circular economy through products, substrates and process expertise
• Create new innovations to replace non-ecological packaging and reduce waste
• Enable customers to reduce energy and resource requirements
Koenig & Bauer is, for example, a member of the 4evergreen alliance network, where it can look for suitable solutions at an early stage with producers of paper, cardboard and folding cartons, brand owners, suppliers of technology and materials as well as the waste collection, sorting and recycling industry. Working with ClimatePartner, Koenig & Bauer supports carbon offsets by promoting certified climate protection projects. In addition, it is a partner in industry association VDMA’s “BlueCompetence” sustainability initiative and is the first printing press manufacturer to join the “Healthy Printing” network.
For Koenig & Bauer, sustainability also means social responsibility, diversity and anti-discrimination. Greater diversity with regard to gender, age and international background also forms part of the Company’s strategic orientation as a social goal. One priority is the promotion of female representation, for example through mentoring and career programmes, and extensive measures for achieving a viable work-life balance. It also focuses on anti-discrimination and anti-racism initiatives. Social responsibility is also part of Koenig & Bauer’s DNA. For more than 150 years, it has been running its own vocational training centre, which has been a state-accredited private school since 1993 and to this very day guides potential career-beginners and ensures them of a permanent employment contract upon the successful completion of their apprenticeships. The world’s oldest vocational school, it has also laid the foundation for the dual model of vocational training – today it provides successful training for young people in line with practical requirements, something from which the Company also benefits. As well as this, Koenig & Bauer has had its own in-company health insurance fund since 1855.
Koenig & Bauer is becoming MORE DIGITAL:
In addition to digital printing presses, digitalisation also means digital business models and processes for the Company and also involves stepping up the digital transformation within the Koenig & Bauer organisation. Alongside hardware, digital services are becoming increasingly important for networking presses, for collecting and analysing data and for managing processes efficiently. Koenig & Bauer is developing digital services on the basis of highly scalable cloud platforms, making them available to customers via a collaboration portal. The analysis of printing press data forms the basis for evaluating performance, setting benchmarks and defining industrial analytics scenarios. In combination with machine learning, Koenig & Bauer can detect potential disruptions in processes at a much earlier stage and more reliably, triggering service and maintenance on a fully automated basis. This can reduce unplanned downtimes and modify service intervals appropriately. Koenig & Bauer’s products thus boost efficiency for customers, allowing cost benefits to be harnessed. In addition, Koenig & Bauer’s high-performance digital presses for packaging printing offer new business models for short printing runs, addressing rapidly changing requirements, security elements, track-and-trace solutions as well as personalisation and individualisation. The focus is on the entire value chain to enhance cost optimisation and sustainability. Simple human-machine interfaces help to make operation more intuitive for customers. Koenig & Bauer is responding to the trend towards hybrid printing processes for paper, cardboard, corrugated board and foil by combining analogue and digital printing and finishing technologies. This is widening the range of substrates that can be used for printing. With its forays into the food and beverage carboard industry, Koenig & Bauer will be able to print full-colour digital prints on cardboard packaging. The digital transformation within Koenig & Bauer is also helping us to turn “big data” into “smart data” internally and to harness the opportunities arising from this. Group-wide networking with Google Workspace permits mobile work across different time zones, the advantages of which became particularly evident during the pandemic. Koenig & Bauer relies on the established SAP S/4 HANA system for efficient corporate processes. This system is already in use and is being gradually rolled out across the remaining core companies.
Koenig & Bauer is becoming MORE MODULAR:
Koenig & Bauer masters all industrial printing processes on almost all substrates in its core markets. In order to offer its customers a broad range of products and solutions, the Company is working on a modular platform for the further development and production of its printing presses and postprint systems. Modularisation and standardisation offer not only flexibility and efficiency benefits but also cost-saving potential through the systematic shared use of common parts, systems, modules and platforms. This can be explained in very simplified terms by taking the modular sheet construction kit as an example. In sheet-fed printing presses, the sheets for printing are transported from a sheet feeder via the printing units to a sheet delivery unit and then deposited on a stack. Printing presses in the Sheetfed and Special segments have a sheet feeder with a very similar function. One of the purposes of the sheet construction kit is, for example, to achieve the greatest possible standardisation in the feeder model at a wide variety of different levels, such as the aggregate, individual assemblies, components and individual parts. On the one hand, this increases the number of shared parts, generating volume and scale effects that can also have a positive impact on procurement and production. At the same time, the availability of spare parts can also be increased and inventory management simplified. On the other hand, it is possible to optimise product development and design processes and assembly. From the customer’s point of view, a modular platform for future generations of printing presses offers substantial gains in efficiency and effectiveness, ensuring that new technologies reach the market more quickly, press operation is more consistent across the range and more uniform maintenance activities can be adopted. At the same time, there are more opportunities for innovation and individualisation, allowing bespoke solutions to be developed. However, the “Exceeding Print” strategy goes one step further: in order to master the complexity of the Koenig & Bauer range, we are also working on Group-wide sales activities in addition to the modular printing press platform. With the establishment of the Group Sales division, Koenig & Bauer has been able to take a further step forward in leveraging the synergistic benefits of cross-segment sales and optimising cross-selling on the basis of a shared service promise. In addition to Group key account management as a trusted advisor for comprehensive customer support across Koenig & Bauer’s range, brand ownership management is an essential part of these activities as a basis for entering into a dialogue with international manufacturers and their packaging suppliers about possible printing and packaging technologies and trends.
P24x efficiency programme on track again in 2022
In order to strengthen the Company’s position as one of leading suppliers for the printing industry and to increase operating profitability, the efficiency programme “Performance 2024”, which has been in place since 2019, was further developed and extended in 2020 in response to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and renamed “Performance 2024 extended” (P24x). In 2022, the “x” measures were largely implemented and the planned efficiency targets achieved. As well as enhancing efficiency, the programme also aims to scale the Group. The primary aim of the four-year programme is to strengthen long-term competitiveness, with a focus on the growth market of packaging. A variety of initiatives are being taken to enhance the range of printing presses in line with market needs, digitalise processes and reduce production costs.
Specifically, the programme provides for the following measures:
- A change in the supply chain organisation by adapting Group-wide structures, harmonising procurement and production processes and adopting innovative approaches to parts and component optimisation.
- Adjustment of cost and personnel structures and improvement of productivity by streamlining and standardising processes.
- Increased development and design effectiveness and efficiency through product, process and organisational optimisation such as design-to-cost projects.
- Continuation and acceleration of the development of new products for packaging in sheetfed and web printing with analogue and digital printing technology, hollow-body printing, finishing as well as solutions for banknote production.
- Reduced administrative expenses through the further bundling of tasks as shared services, adjustments to sales and service structures.
- Optimisation of production and assembly plants, including intra-group sharing, relocation and realignment of production and assembly.
Assuming that all innovation processes as well as process and product developments are continued and stepped up, this should yield savings of over €100m by 2024.
Markets addressed and growth opportunities
With our range of products and services we address the sub-markets of packaging, banknote, security, industrial, commercial and publication printing and seek to make proactive use of the market opportunities currently arising. Each of these markets offers different growth opportunities, which we describe below.
Future opportunities in packaging printing and industrial printing
The Koenig & Bauer Group’s focus is on structural and sustained growth in packaging printing, which is expanding in tandem with the growth in global gross domestic product (GDP) and the world’s population. Within this market, there are attractive niches on which we are also focusing. In addition to rising global consumption, packaging consumption is benefiting from the boom in e-commerce, smaller sizes due to a greater number of one-person households and heightened regulatory requirements. New online food markets and the trend towards quick commerce, the next stage of e-commerce, are additionally spurring packaging consumption. What is clear, however, is that e-commerce has emerged as the permanent winner of the Covid-19 crisis. On average, global packaging printing is growing at a rate of around 4% p.a. according to various industry studies, with higher growth rates being registered for corrugated-board packaging, which is one of Koenig & Bauer’s core competences. For Koenig & Bauer, the packaging printing markets for food, beverages and pharmaceuticals are particularly attractive due to their lower cyclical sensitivity. Alongside the rising demands of consumer goods producers with respect to quality, flexibility, cost efficiency and delivery periods, trends in favour of more complex, elegant and colourful packaging will additionally spur capital spending by packaging printers. Packaging is increasingly becoming a brand ambassador, an element supporting sales and an integral part of the product experience. Unboxing is a core element of the shopping and brand experience. This trend has also been spurred by the pandemic and is continuing. In view of the amount of time spent at home, all customer contact arises in printed form during the “unboxing” stage. This means that flyers, brochures and other printed products are enclosed in the corrugated cardboard box. In addition, more and more exclusive department stores are sending products ordered online in corrugated cardboard boxes that are printed in several colours on the inside.
Growth opportunities through digital printing and in industrial printing
Analogue technologies such as flexo, gravure, offset and screen printing currently dominate the global packaging printing sector. Currently, the proportion of digital printing accounts for no more than 4% (in terms of quantity) of total global printing output and around 17% in terms of value. This latter figure will rise to 27% by 2023. Although digital printing is more expensive compared to analogue processes, it has some important advantages for customers as it permits individual, personalised and versioned printing, even in small print runs. And it reduces customers’ operating expenses by eliminating the need for expensive storage of the sheets. As well as this, a skilled printer is not required to operate a digital printing press, something which not only saves costs but also offers a clear advantage given the current shortage of skilled workers. In addition, makeready times and waste materials are eliminated. This provides customers with clear efficiency, costs and sustainability gains.
For reasons of cost, productivity and quality, digital processes such as inkjet printing will only be successful in industrially oriented packaging printing for applications that are economically viable for customers. Technically and economically solid digital printing offers good market opportunities for business models specialising in short runs, greater personalisation and versioning, greater format flexibility and short time-to-market periods alongside other advantages. This calls for strong customer orientation, operational flexibility and quality standards. Following the latest RotaJET orders, Koenig & Bauer sees great potential for the sophisticated, high-quality digital printing solution, because digital web printing opens up entirely new possibilities in the customisation of products, i.e. very small print runs, through to disruptive approaches by changing value chains. We assume that gravure and flexo presses in particular will be replaced by high-performance digital presses for industrial applications over the next few years. Digital printing technology not only simplifies the complexity of design handling but also shortens the time from design to print and offers greater flexibility in order placement and customisation of products. This is an advantage in the light of the trend towards shorter runs, more individualised products and fast time-to-market production. Decors for furniture and flooring are printed products that are becoming more and more sophisticated and creative and are also being replaced increasingly quickly in everyday use. Digital printing is spurring the trend towards individuality and design change as it permits swift production even in very small printruns. In addition, manufacturers are able to test new ideas on the market at low cost and with minimum effort. With digital preprint and direct printing on corrugated board, products can not only be placed in the market safely using water-based, food-certified ink jet ink, for example, but also communicate product information to the end consumer and attract their attention by means of seasonal corrugated-cardboard displays at the point of sale (POS), for example. Packaging is thus increasingly taking on the function of a marketing and sales tool. The multitude of new products and the trends towards versioning and personalisation together with ever shorter marketing cycles are ushering in a change in production requirements for liquid packaging (beverage cartons) and, in the future, also film packaging. As a general principle, improved total cost of ownership is the main driver for the shift from analogue to digital production.
Service business in security printing creates stability
Thanks to its good project situation and very low cyclical exposure, Koenig & Bauer expects business in security printing presses to remain stable. Cash remains an indispensable and secure means of payment, especially in the second and third world. In the last three years, more dollar bills have been printed worldwide than ever before. In view of the highly intense competition, the newly developed, innovative security features are a decisive differentiator and a unique selling point. Despite the increased use of digital payment methods and the Covid-19 pandemic, global banknote production continues to grow at a moderate rate. Growing prosperity and rising population numbers in emerging markets with their high cash ratios as well as widespread scepticism towards electronic payments mean that there will be no reversal in this trend in the market in the medium term, although developments in some countries will vary. Alongside intensive work on new products and security features, service business for the large installed base is being systematically expanded and will make a good contribution to Group earnings in the medium to long term. With packaging printing steadily contributing a larger share of Group revenue, the influence of volatile security printing business will recede.
Restrained development in the media-related print sectors
Koenig & Bauer anticipates stable business in sheetfed offset presses for commercial printing. The global book market is proving to be flat to slightly expansionary. Web offset presses for newspaper and commercial printing are expected to decline in tandem with lower service business due to a further increase in press shutdowns and printshop closures.
Expansion of service with a focus on digitalisation
The Koenig & Bauer Group is more than just a producer of printing and postprint systems. The Company sees itself as a provider of end-to-end solutions that help its customers to achieve success on the market. Our services include inspection, maintenance and calibration as well as retrofits/upgrades and service contracts. We also offer spare parts, consumables and accessories for the presses, which can be ordered online via webshops. Training and consulting services are also provided because innovative presses together with qualified personnel and the identification of potential for improvement in the printshop workflow are crucial for achieving greater productivity and quality along the entire production process. Workflows in the printing industry are becoming increasingly digital and networked. Ever smaller print runs have to be produced in ever shorter times in a high quality and at a competitive price – in this respect, a large, established, yet flexible company such as Koenig & Bauer is able to set itself apart from the competition. For this reason, the Koenig & Bauer Group offers integrated workflow solutions to boost productivity and competitiveness.
Remote diagnosis tools have been part of our control centre technology since 1995. Digitalisation is creating increasingly effective services in this area. “Visual ServiceSupport” gives users and helpdesk technicians a tool allowing them to view exactly what printers or service technicians see when they are standing in front of the press. They can view processes and sequences in the form of moving images and thus gain a quick and comprehensive overview of the state of the press. This facilitates communications, obviates the need for extensive descriptions and reduces the risk of misunderstandings compared with a conventional telephone conversation. “Visual ServiceSupport” thus helps to increase the first-time-fix rate in service cases. The augmented reality data glasses allow remote maintenance technicians to view exactly what the customer’s technicians also see. In this way, Koenig & Bauer saves its customers a lot of money and effort.
Koenig & Bauer’s integrated workflow solutions are based on the principle of the “networked print factory”, in which products, presses and tools constantly share information via RFID chips and sensors. The presses self-configure, switch between different jobs fully automatically and support the operators in their work. This requires tight integration of all business processes with production and the measurement and control systems fitted to the presses. It is achieved by linking data from sales, order preparation, planning, production, controlling, logistics and even web-to-print systems. Information from all process steps along the value chain is available enterprise-wide and in real time. This gives management a 360-degree view of the Company. The demonstration centre for digital networking solutions in Radebeul has various workflow solutions on display. As different presses and programmes are used in each individual case, the optimum workflow cannot be bought off the peg, which is why Koenig & Bauer advises its customers individually.
With “Predictive Maintenance and Services”, the Company offers its customers a pre-emptive service for its presses and systems up to 28 days in advance to identify faults before they occur and cause unplanned downtimes. This uses the sensor data and performance data of the presses installed and networked in the market to identify and proactively prevent a potential malfunction before it occurs using complex algorithms and artificial intelligence methods.
The digital customer portal “myKyana” offers customers a growing number of digital services combined in a user-friendly and device-agnostic user interface. Via this platform, customers also have access to performance data on their presses via dynamic or performance reports, which offer an overview of the key performance indicators (KPIs) of the press. This gives them access to information at any time and from any location, while at the same time providing them with individual support. The automatically filed predictive maintenance service cases and the information provided for customers in this context by our service engineers allow us to turn unplanned downtimes into planned ones, thus increasing press availability and, not least of all, our customers’ productivity.
“Managed Services” is a virtual assistant supporting customers in the marking and coding segment. The Kyana dashboard provides an overview of the integrated systems, thus making monitoring and central control of networked production facilities easier and safer. At the same time, Kyana provides real-time data around the clock and enables optimum remote service. The Kyana chatbot answers questions about the alphaJET inkjet printer at any time.
Partnerships and cooperation
Koenig & Bauer has established itself as a preferred partner to the industry since 2014, not least of all through its partnership with HP. In the development of new products as well as forays into new market segments in the growth area of packaging printing and other sales markets, the Company relies on partnership-based collaboration in a wide variety of forms to achieve the defined goals more quickly and more efficiently. This also applies to the digitalisation initiative under the “Exceeding Print” strategy, which in addition to digital printing presses also encompasses digital business models and processes, the acceleration of the digital transformation within the Company and sustainability.
Since 2014, Koenig & Bauer has had a partnership with HP to develop the world’s widest digital printing press. The HP PageWide T1190 for pre-printing corrugated-board cover layers is also targeted at the packaging market and complements Koenig & Bauer’s web digital printing activities.
The joint venture with the Durst Group for developing and marketing single-pass digital printing systems for the folding-carton and corrugated-board industry was established on 11 April 2019. It addresses the market for digitally printed sheets of corrugated cardboard with the
CorruJET and the DELTA SPC 130. It also offers a sheetfed digital press under the VariJET 106F name for the production of personalised, individualised and versioned print products, especially for the folding-carton market. It integrates inkjet technology in the platform of the high-performance Rapida 106 press. The system’s modular design enables digital inkjet printing to be combined with optional printing and inline finishing options used in offset printing.
Via the partnership with Celmacch announced in July 2022 and the acquisition of 49 percent of that company’s capital, Koenig & Bauer is strengthening its presence in the growth market of corrugated board under the name of Koenig & Bauer Celmacch. The resultant Chroma range offers customers a comprehensive array of products in all price and performance classes. Initially, the partnership is focusing on joint sales and service, product development and the enlargement of assembly capacity.
Koenig & Bauer and System Brunner have nurtured a close technological partnership for more than ten years. In the year under review, both companies agreed to extend and deepen this partnership in the area of sheetfed offset applications. This means that System Brunner’s core colour management competence will continue to be incorporated in Koenig & Bauer’s sheetfed offset technology in all phases of printing and media production.
To supplement our internal research projects, we also work with research institutes, industry associations and universities.
In the field of digitisation, the Company particularly works with the CAIRO (Centre for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics) competence centre at the University of Applied Sciences Würzburg-Schweinfurt and, for many years, with the Steinbeis Research Centre Design & Systems in Würzburg, with which Koenig & Bauer won the renowned Steinbeis Foundation transfer award for its Kyana project in 2019.
In the field of sustainability, Koenig & Bauer is a partner in the Blue Competence sustainability initiative launched by German industry association VDMA to promote sustainability in mechanical and plant engineering as well as to publicise sustainable solutions in this industry. In July 2021, the Company became the first printing press manufacturer to join the Healthy Printing Initiative to help drive forward implementation of the “cradle-to-cradle” design approach in the printing industry. As a member of the 4evergreen alliance, Koenig & Bauer is also encouraging cooperation along the entire value chain to widen the use of fibre-based packaging in the circular economy. In addition, it is a member of the Holy Grail 2.0 project. Under the auspices of the European Brands Association (AIM), more than 120 companies and organisations along the packaging value chain are pooling their expertise to achieve an ambitious goal: to explore how digital technology can contribute to better sorting and higher-quality recycling of packaging in the EU to bring about a truly efficient recycling system. Since 2022, Koenig & Bauer has also been a member of the R-Cycle Community, an association of companies and organisations committed to the worldwide standardisation of digital product passports for plastic products. In particular, the focus is on a viable circular economy based on data exchange and transparency throughout the entire life cycle of plastics.
Planning, control and monitoring
Comprehensive set of tools for efficient Group planning and control
The established business management system with differentiated cost accounting provides management with a swift and meaningful set of figures for operational controlling, efficient monitoring and strategic planning and management of the Group and the segments. In addition to central Group controlling for overarching Group and segment management, the individual business units have access to controlling resources. The results of the annual strategy process culminate in high-level business planning and are presented in detail in the ensuing integrated budget planning phase. The planning horizon for high-level business planning and budget planning is five years. P24x is also embedded in high-level business planning – the content of the programme is controlled in the corresponding workstreams and steering committees as well as a corresponding tool at the system level. The budgets prepared by the Group and the segments are based on detailed income statements, balance sheets and cash flow statements for all consolidated Group companies compiled on a monthly basis in the first two years. Forecasts for the current year are updated on the basis of the reported figures at the same time as the semi-annual and quarterly (Q1 and Q3) financial statements are prepared and also shortly before the end of the year. Scenario analyses simulate different market and cost parameters on a case-by-case basis. Detailed monthly reporting tracks the current business and earnings situation as well as trends in net working capital and is discussed in the monthly earnings meetings. Service reporting permits efficient coordination of the service activities. Roll-over liquidity previews with cash management provide an accurate view of the financial situation. A 24-month liquidity budget has been prepared since January 2021. Regular reviews by Group management with the responsible segment managers addressing the economic and financial situation, current trends and forecasts supplement ongoing deviation analyses performed by controlling. Measures are defined in the event of any negative deviation in the interests of a swift and targeted response. Systematic implementation of the measures is tracked by close monitoring. Opportunities and risks are detected at an early stage by means of a roll-over budget, forecast and reporting process. A risk early detection system has been established to monitor developments and to identify possible threats to the Company’s going-concern status. The necessary decisions can be made at an early stage on the basis of this comprehensive assessment of Group and segment performance. The Koenig & Bauer Group tracks revenue and the EBIT margin calculated in accordance with the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) in the version endorsed by the EU on a cross-segment basis as its main target-achievement and management indicators. In addition to these two main financial performance indicators, the Management Board additionally receives reports on order intake, order backlog and service business indicators. Changes in capital employed are monitored on the basis of the cash conversion cycle. The ratio of inventories, prepayments made for inventories and trade receivables less trade payables and customer prepayments to revenue is calculated to determine this indicator. In addition to financial indicators, the Management Board also tracks non-financial performance indicators, particularly quality assurance costs and staff development. Target agreements providing for variable remuneration components tied to Group, segment and/or personal goals for the year for all executives and non-pay-scale employees heighten motivation and commitment towards the achievement of the Company’s goals.
Research and development
Koenig & Bauer again focused on workflow and digitisation solutions in 2022. Group research and development expenses equalled 4.6% of revenue in 2022 (2021: 4.2%). As well as this, development costs equivalent to 0.4% of revenue were capitalised (2021: 0.5%). Looking forward, the Koenig & Bauer Group’s research and development expenditure will not be curtailed despite the challenging business environment.
All efforts in this area serve one goal, namely to make the products even better, even more efficient and even more sustainable for the customer.
In organisational terms, the Company restructured itself in 2022 and has now consolidated the development of new business models and digital solutions along the entire life cycle of print products in a new cross-Group digital transformation department.
The use of Job Optimiser, an advanced planning software (APS) for the detailed planning of production processes, can substantially boost efficiency for customers. MIS (management information systems) and MES (manufacturing execution systems) integration enables printers to optimise their planning processes for production and logistics and thus to control material flow and capacities efficiently. The automated import of pre-planned work orders from the MIS provides all necessary job information. Press utilisation planning defines the press resources and time windows for the individual production stages of the planned orders. The jobs can also be allocated to suitable printing and post-printing systems by means of control algorithms in the interests of uniform utilisation and greater efficiency. Sequence planning determines the chronological order in which the various jobs are completed on the presses.
A further development from the digital unit is the VisuEnergy X energy management system (EnMS) for energy-efficient printing and packaging production certified according to DIN ISO 50001. This is an example showing that there is no conflict between environmental protection and the goal of reducing production costs.
Another example of successful, customer-centric developments is the new ready-to-use CorruCUT High Board Line rotary die cutter. This development makes it possible to pre-fit the punching cylinder not in use during production and to swap it fully automatically after completion of the print job. Press downtimes are thus reduced and makeready times for the die-cutter by around 70%In the growth corrugated board market, Koenig & Bauer Durst made use of the recent SPC Open House in the year under review to unveil an addition to its range with the introduction of an entry-level solution, the SPC 130 FlexLine ECO+. The compact entry-level model uses water-based, food-safe and sustainable inks, thus offering printers who handle corrugated cardboard a new path to digital packaging and expanding the possibilities available to them.
The Koenig & Bauer subsidiary Kammann also presented a further development in digital packaging printing with the new high-speed inkjet printing unit. It allows cylindrical and conical articles made of glass, plastic or metal to be printed on more quickly, resulting in a higher output and supplementing the existing range of inkjet printing units. Koenig & Bauer Kammann also developed the mobile hot stamping station K29 S for stamping cylindrical and conical articles.