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MBO K80 combi folding machine

Brian Sims takes a look under the cover of the MBO K80 combi folding machine, distributed through Friedheim International, a machine that promises automation, speed, and versatility

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The MBO K80 combi folding machine is distributed through Freidheim International

The perfect complement

We tend to be creatures of habit and can be very brand loyal, but to ensure we stay with a specific supplier, companies need to go the extra mile to fill the gaps between the various models that they have in their stable. In doing this, they will hopefully ensure the customer base is fully satisfied and will retain our business.

Recently, MBO plugged a gap in its range of folding machines between the K70 and record breaking K8RS. At a trade show in June, it showed the world the MBO K80; the newest of its range of folding machines.

The K80 is a high precision folding machine that comes in eight pre-configured variations and sits above the entry level K70. It has a lot in common with its quicker sibling, the K8RS, and is only a little slower running at 230m/min. As such it complements the range perfectly. The MBO range is distributed by finishing specialists Friedheim International.

The obvious question is what does this new machine come with and why does it fill the gap? Well, the list of standard items is extremely impressive.

Easy to use

The basic eight formats come with either a palletiser or with a continuous feeder and a combination of between four and six parallel buckle folding plates with automated or manually operated folding rollers.

The machine can be easily operated via the M1 control technology and touchscreen



The machine can be easily operated via the M1 control technology and touchscreen. As with all new machinery, an extensive amount of time is taken in the design brief to ensure the operation of the machine is as simple as possible.

As with all new machinery, an extensive amount of time is taken in the design brief to ensure the operation of the machine is as simple as possible


This does not reduce the skills of the print finishing department but with the GUI interface being as ergonomic as possible, the changes between size and format can be reduced to minutes rather than hours. Up time is gratefully received by any production manager and with the K80 you can complete multiple machine operations by the simple finger swipe on various intuitive screens.

Feeding the machine with paper is completed either with a continuous feeder system or if you wish to use pallets of substrate, then MBO has fallen back onto the very reliable and trusted Vaculift III feeder head. A very sensible choice given the reputation it has in the market.

The speed of any piece of a piece of equipment is always limited by the paper handling system. Whether it is a press, folding machine, or printer, the handling of the substrate is always the frustration of the design engineer. To hit the levels expected by the K80, MBO relies on the tried and trusted VIVAS (Vacubelt and Vacutable) paper transport.

Used on a number of the K80’s compatriot machines, the Vivas system dispenses with the older technology of rails and balls, and replaces them with a patented vacuum belt system. This has the advantage of being able to transport delicate or even newly printed substrate without marking it.

Obviously at the heart of the machine is the buckle folding plates, fail to get this right and the speed of the paper is of little consequence. The K80 has the first parallel buckle plate with continuous sheet stop, which increases the contact surface up to 30 percent to reduce sheet deformation and leads to improved fold quality. The plates can be open and shut manually or automatically with the use of swing deflectors. As stated previously, the K80 can come with between four or eight buckle plates.

As a client, you can ask for two types of rollers in the K80, the second primary element of a buckle folding machine. You can select hard PU material or MBO’s Virotec fold rollers. The latter are the favoured rollers as they come with staggered segments eliminating any metal to metal contact, they are very quiet improving operator comfort, and can be ideal for the more difficult substrates that are becoming the norm in this day and age.

Pushing the envelope

By their nature, the buckle folding machine is not the quietest in the production environment, so MBO has taken every effort to reduce noise throughout the machine, namely in the roller drive system. Instead of a gear drive, the K80 has a belt drive system which is now common place in the MBO range. This type of drive has multiple benefits such as extended periods of time between maintenance and gives an extremely quiet drive. To push the envelope further, the drive system has an auto-tensioning system meaning the operator does not need to control or adjust the drive train.

Closing in on the rest of the standard equipment, there is an ergonomically designed slitter cassette in the parallel fold configuration. Slitter shafts adjustment is a ‘one person’ task and can be easily and quickly adjusted between each production format.

There is an ergonomically designed slitter cassette in the parallel fold configuration



Finally, the K80 has a pneumatically operated cross fold, which again is quietly and efficiently doing its job producing an accurate fold. As with any high production folder, the K80 is supplied with three fold knives.

The K80 has a pneumatically operated cross fold, and is supplied with three fold knives





So, what are the options? MBO has a number of additional pieces of equipment that the sensible production manager would seek to consider for the folder. The folding machine can come equipped with combination buckle plates and pneumatic gatefold plates. Additionally, the three fold element of the K80 can have a slitter shaft in this position.

MBO has a number of additional pieces of equipment that the sensible production manager would seek to consider for the folder


Clearly MBO has a very strong reputation for producing reliable equipment. This reliability is built on years of providing an established client base with machinery users can rely on. However, no piece of equipment is without fault and from time to time, you will need the expertise that MBO can provide. To help with this, the K80 comes with a factory fitted IT connection which will allow the experts on the service desk in either the UK or Germany to connect to the machine remotely and on a large number of occasions, have you back up and running in no time.

Looking at the new line up from MBO, you can see where the K80 neatly fits into the range; consider the gap now closed, and the customer satisfied.


Brian Sims, principal consultant, Metis Print Consultancy, www.metis-uk.eu


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