The Magleby Maersk in Bremerhaven’s container terminal

The Rapida 105 on an exciting journey halfway around the world

It was a pretty unusual scene for many people: in June 2021, the China Print trade show in Beijing was one of the first in-person trade fairs for printing machine engineering to open its doors again. The showpiece on Koenig & Bauer’s stand, measuring more than 1,000 m², was the new generation of Rapida 105 – the world première in the current corporate design and with a whole host of additional automated features. But before the machine could make its appearance, it had to embark on a long journey.

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With the world première due to take place at China Print, all eyes were on the Rapida 105’s journey, both in Radebeul and in China. If the machine could talk, it would doubtlessly have some interesting tales to tell about its journey.

After the final assembly and printing at the factory, including a few photo and video sessions, staff in Germany dismantled the Rapida 105, allowing the different units to be packed relatively compactly in three containers. On 21st April, they started their journey overland to Bremerhaven where they were loaded aboard ship at the container terminal. But it wasn’t just any ship, it was the Magleby Maersk – currently one of the largest container giants in the world. On 28th April at exactly 3.13 p.m., the colossus – almost 400 metres long and with a capacity of more than 18,000 containers – set off from the quay wall. Around 2½ hours later, our containers saw the Roter Sand lighthouse and, with it, Germany’s last outpost. 

  • A printing unit of the Rapida 105 “disappears” in one of three containers in total
  • A container giant in the Triple-E class of the Maersk shipping company approaches Bremerhaven. Harbour tugs have already secured the ship
  • The port facilities at Bremerhaven seem to go on for ever
  • Just under 5 km in length, the container port – seen here at full moon – looks infinite
  • Nearly at Germany’s last outpost - the Roter Sand lighthouse
  • Halfway there: The Magleby Maersk passes Sri Lanka on 16 May

A long journey

The history of the harbours in Bremerhaven stretches back almost 200 years. From 1968, today’s container terminal finally took shape with a continuous length of 4,930 metres, 14 berths and 3,000,000 m² of floor area. This is where “our” Rapida 105 was loaded onto the Magleby Maersk, one of the largest container giants on the seas. The Magleby Maersk is 399 metres long, 59 metres wide and has a draught of 15.5 m. It can take up to 18,270 containers and, with a machine output of 80,700 PS, can reach speeds of up to 25 knots (46 km/h) between Europe and Asia.

After its first 2½ hours at sea, the container ship with our Rapida 105 passed the Roter Sand lighthouse, Germany’s last outpost in the North Sea. From here, the Magleby Maersk travelled almost five weeks halfway around the world, until it reached its destination, Tianjin.

Stopovers brought the Rapida 105 to Rotterdam in the Netherlands on 4th May, Port Said in Egypt on 8th May, Tanjun Pelepas in Malaysia on 20th May and Hongquiao (Shanghai) on 27th May before the container ship finally arrived in Tianjin on 30th May. The ship travelled almost five weeks through the English Channel and along the western coast of Europe, through the Strait of Gibraltar into the Mediterranean, through the Suez Canal into the Red Sea, through the Golf of Aden and the Arabian Sea into the Strait of Malacca, and later through the South China and East China Seas into the Bohai Sea to its destination, Tianjin.

The highlights of the Rapida 105 (maximum sheet format 720/740 x 1,050 mm) include the many features from the other medium format series such as the feed board with a single central suction belt, preset capabilities and extensive measuring and control systems. The sheet feeder, infeed and delivery have large touch displays instead of the previous controls for selecting machine functions. Operators have extra machine features (for example, perfecting for 4-over-4 production) and far more process integration and workflow solutions at their disposal.

  • Just before the curtain falls: world première of the Rapida 105
  • More than 150 print professionals were present on the trade show stand to witness the official unveiling of the new Rapida 105 series. Another 2,000 followed the event via a live online stream
  • The première of the new Rapida 105 delighted the Chinese print professionals
  • After the live demonstrations, the trade visitors could take a closer look at the technology
  • Great interest in the print samples

China Print

The Rapida 105 garnered a lot of attention at its world première at China Print in Beijing. The first two days of the exhibition already saw several companies sign purchase contracts for a new machine. The dynamic design of the new Rapida 105 and the many features adopted from other medium-format series made the Rapida 105 a crowd favourite.

All the data-based digital services for the Rapida 105 are, of course, also available – the main one being the customer community as the central contact point. Just like its even more automated relatives, the Rapida 105 generation can also be used for packaging, commercial and label printing. It thereby allows companies to expand their product range and exploit new potential for commercial success.

Already on the first two days of the trade fair, several companies signed contracts for delivery of a new Rapida 105. During and after China Print, more companies from all round the country also did the same. It’s no surprise then that Walter Zehner, CEO of Koenig & Bauer Greater China, was more than satisfied with the outcome of the exhibition: “The success far exceeded our expectations. In terms of the number of orders received, we were able to post a new record for China Print.” Dietmar Heyduck, senior vice-president for sales at Koenig & Bauer Sheetfed, is equally happy: “My sincere thanks go to our customers for continuing to place their trust in our products, and to the Koenig & Bauer teams in both China and Germany for a fantastic trade fair.”