Rapida Sheetfed Offset Technology From Koenig & Bauer Makes It Possible

1.7 billion items and 210 million sheets printed in large B0 format every year at MMP Neupack Poland. An interview with Filip Krajewski, director of operations and member of the board of management of MMP Neupack.

Technology & Innovation
Read time: approx. 10 minutes

MM Packaging, part of Austria’s Mayr-Melnhof Group, is one of the world’s largest printing companies. It maintains production facilities at 64 sites and is a specialist for the production of packaging using solid board. The Group is also represented in Poland by several production sites, which specialise in different product ranges. One of these is MMP Neupack Polska, which is based in Bydgoszcz. This is where packaging made of solid board and corrugated board is produced in an offset printing process.

Koenig & Bauer has been a supplier and partner to MMP Neupack Polska for many years now. Among other equipment, the machinery base in use at the state-of-the-art production facility includes four large-format Rapida 145 presses and several Omega folding machines. Filip Krajewski, director of operations and member of the board of management, who has had ties to the printing company in Bydgoszcz since the year 2000, shares insights into the years-long partnership between the two companies, the current situation for MMP Neupack Polska, and the dynamic growth exhibited by the site in an interview.

You had the opportunity to witness first-hand, and be part of, the company’s dynamic growth ever since it joined the Mayr-Melnhof Group at the end of the 1990s. Please give us a brief description of the company.

Filip Krajewski: I first started working at MMP Neupack in the year 2000, when the company had already been part of the Mayr-Melnhof Group for several years. At the time, we were already specialised in cardboard packaging. That’s how it’s been ever since, even though the product portfolio, the details, the production technology and the refinements in relation to finishing have, of course, continued to evolve since then. This is also true of our machinery base, which has made us the most cutting-edge printing company within the entire Group. Added to this is the fact that none of the presses we are using today is more than 10 years old. 

Our most valuable asset is our employees, and we owe our market success first and foremost to our dedicated staff, who can also take credit for the two-digit growth in sales we achieve every year. We work together with major international brands in the FMCG sector. They are our most important clients. Around 50 per cent of our production output is destined for the Polish market, with the remainder being exported – primarily to European countries such as Germany, France, the United Kingdom and the Benelux countries. Last year, we produced around 1.7 billion items of packaging for these countries. MMP Neupack has even more ambitious plans for the current year. 

The majority of our production output – around 60 per cent – is packaging made of corrugated board, with the remaining 40 per cent consisting of packaging made using solid board as a basis. Both cases, of course, involve packaging printed in multiple colours and featuring different types of finishing processes.

That really is impressive, especially in light of the events of the last few years. As far as I am aware, these events haven’t put a dent in MMP Neupack’s growth trajectory?

Filip Krajewski: Thanks to a corresponding technical background, a stable supply of raw materials (the majority being supplied by MM Group plants), but also our product portfolio and the support extended to key brands active in the FMCG segment, we not only survived this period unscathed, but also saw further growth, just like the entire MM Packaging division. The last few years were also a period that saw significant investments in modern plant technology. We believe that the systematic modernisation of the machinery base is a driver of success for every printing company. This is the reason why we installed additional offset printing presses in the B0 format, along with a series of presses for packaging processing and finishing, including fully automatic folders and gluers, over the period from 2019 to 2023.

Many of the newly purchased solutions come from Koenig & Bauer. Do you consider Koenig & Bauer to be a strategic supplier for your company?

Filip Krajewski: The decisions on which machinery to purchase for the Group’s individual plants are made in our Austrian headquarters, however, as the management of a specific printing company we do, of course, specify which requirements we have and play an active role in the process of choosing the supplier. Koenig & Bauer has been present in our printing plant in Bydgoszcz just about all along – when I first started out here, a worn-out Planeta was, among other presses, operating in the printshop, and the B1 format was dominant. Over the course of the years, our machinery base – as I mentioned – has been systematically modernised, but 2018 turned out to be a key year for our partnership with Koenig & Bauer. Back then, a meeting with the management of Koenig & Bauer CEE was held for which we outlined a plan for a partnership in and clearly formulated our expectations, both in relation to the machinery and to the comprehensive service and technical support to accompany it.

Which fruit did this meeting bear?

Filip Krajewski: Put simply, you just have to take a walk through our production halls to see that the partnership with Koenig & Bauer is proceeding commendably, and this on site as well. Over the last few years, for example, four new Rapida 145 large-format presses with different equipment configurations were delivered to us – one of which is equipped with a unique cold foil module. This is actually the second machine of this type we’ve added to the company, not only making us a pioneer within the MM Packaging Group, but within the market as a whole. 

Within the context of the expansion of the Koenig & Bauer portfolio to include post-press solutions, we also made investments in this area – by purchasing several Omega folder-gluers. The special feature they exhibit is that they operate fully automatically both when applying, folding and gluing the packaging, and when being prepared for transport, thereby allowing their integration into the full warehousing and logistics system.

You stated that these investments have, among others, made MMP Neupack the most state-of-the-art printing company within the Group. What impact do the Rapida presses and other post-press equipment have on production efficiency?

Filip Krajewski: We printed 189 million sheets on the Rapida presses in 2022. This requires successful interplay between a whole host of factors, with modern technology being, of course, one of the most important. I can’t deny that we are merciless, so to speak, when it comes to every press that we purchase – in a positive sense, of course. They operate around the clock and are intended for large-series production, allowing us to set new productivity records over and over again. This year, we used a newly purchased Rapida 145 to produce exactly 402,700 sheets within 24 hours, which is equivalent to a productivity level of 16,779 sheets per hour. Considering the speed rating of this model, this is an outstanding result and one that we can attribute to the modernity of the press itself and the experience that the team of operators brings.


Correct maintenance is equally decisive when it comes to keeping production stable at these levels of output.

Filip Krajewski: It is indeed – this was one of the major issues that we addressed at the meeting I referred to earlier – and from today’s perspective, it’s a strategic issue. New machinery is, of course, a wonderful thing for every print company that’s growing. However, safeguarding continuity in production, the availability of service technicians and their reaction time, or the efficiency with which the requisite parts can be supplied, are all equally important. The large number of printing presses and post-press machines we’re talking about in our case makes this especially true, of course. In this regard, the local Koenig & Bauer branch office, which enjoys active support from headquarters, is really stepping up and gives us the reassurance that it can master even the most demanding tasks.

What does this partnership look like in practice?

Filip Krajewski: We are proponents of what we call a preventive maintenance policy. We believe that prevention is better than a solution to existing problems. This is why we have, over the course of our work together, agreed to full annual maintenance for the Rapida and Omega machines operating in our company. Every press undergoes a very thorough inspection by the technicians from Koenig & Bauer (CEE) once a year. When the inspection is finished, a report is created that not only provides a current overview of the condition of the machine, but also allows a forecast to be made about which parts may need to be replaced or repaired. This allows us to avoid the risk of downtime by finding potential faults in advance or replacing wearing parts before operations grind to a halt. This is a very important part of the partnership with Koenig & Bauer service. I would like to highlight the personal dimension, which is very much based on a spirit of partnership – the technicians from Koenig & Bauer (CEE) feel at ease at our company. This is the best proof of the good atmosphere that mutual ties create – and which have a big impact on the calibre of the partnership overall.

Do you use the instruments that are available within the context of Industry 4.0, including Service 4.0?

Filip Krajewski: Yes, of course. The level of automation and the configuration level of each of the four Rapida 145 presses allows remote diagnosis, and the manufacturer also maintains a 24-hour hotline for us to call. We successfully employ all software tools that rationalise and automate our production process. This not only applies for printing and finishing the packaging, but for its storage and transport as well. One of our factories is equipped with a spacious, automated warehouse for finished products and which is equipped with AGV technology – we use autonomous transport vehicles, which with the support of highly automated systems have led to a significant improvement in our processes, including warehousing and logistics.

Speaking of finishing: you were the first printing company in Poland to implement cold foil technology in a large format.

Filip Krajewski: Not just Poland – we’re one of very few worldwide. It was in 2015 that we decided to retrofit one of the large-format presses operating here with a module for cold foil production. That was the outcome of the partnership between Koenig & Bauer with Vinfoil, one of the experts in cold foils. This proved so successful, and the demand for finishing has increased so dramatically, that we decided to equip one of our newest Rapida 145 presses with a cold foil module. We consider it a machine for what we call “special jobs” – the manufacture of demanding, high-tech packaging with high-quality finishing. The introduction of cold foil printing in the B0 format allowed us to expand our customer portfolio to include international brands, among others, from the premium alcoholic beverage segment. The technology has therefore proved effective in many respects.

All signs are pointing to MMP Neupack having another big year. What do you think the immediate future holds for your company?

Filip Krajewski: There were a series of developments over the last few years which have had a decisive influence on the overall market situation, and not just the packaging market. An upturn in 2021 followed two difficult years. However, the next year, which saw the outbreak of the war in Ukraine and an increase in inflation rates, resulted in another market downturn. Although the worst is now behind us, the forecasts for GDP growth for our country are not particularly optimistic, both in terms of volume growth and the development of new markets. Nonetheless, MMP Neupack is continuing to pursue ambitious goals and will continue to be a market leader among cardboard packaging manufacturers in future.


Mr Krajewski, we would like to thank you for talking to us.

Interesting website: mm-packaging.com