Landa Virtual Event Highlights Expanding Opportunities for Nanography
As a pioneer of digital printing technology, Benny Landa has been a long-time advocate for the benefits of digital. Dating back decades, he says, this has meant actively promoting the technology to printers and brand owners, explaining how it can help their businesses. But recently, Landa says, there has been a surprising shift.
“It’s been a push for decades,” he said during a virtual Q&A event on Wednesday, Sept. 16. “Well, the most amazing thing has happened these past five or six years … The world seems to have just turned upside down. Today, customers and especially brand owners, they’re coming to us and telling us why they need digital printing and why they need it now.”
The online event provided an update on Landa Digital Printing, and featured Landa alongside CEO Arik Gordon, and Nick Clements, the company’s business planner. During the session, Landa and Gordon provided insights into the latest technology developments at Landa Digital Printing, and gave an update on the several press installations the company has completed at customer sites on multiple continents. With the COVID-19 pandemic transforming the ways in which business is being conducted around the world, including the postponement of live events such as drupa 2020, Landa said the company has been relying on digital communications to remain connected to the industry during this time.
Meanwhile, he added that in addition to digitizing communication efforts, COVID-19 has exacerbated the need for digital printing, particularly in packaging.
“In packaging, especially in food and pharma, there appears to have actually been a boost to packaging customers,” Landa said. “Our packaging customers are seeing increased demand for just-in-time printed goods. I think this is primarily bolstered by online shopping and really thriving supermarket and drug store sales. As for commercial printing, yes, we do see a COVID decline. But all the signs indicate that commercial printing will rebound as the economy returns to normal. Then we expect the demand for digitally printed products to really accelerate.”
With Landa’s Nanographic printing technology now incorporated into a commercially available press, the sheetfed B1 format S10 has now been installed at 12 sites across several countries spanning North America and Europe, along with installs in Israel and China. Gordon said he expects to have four or five more installations take place from mid-August to the end of 2020, as the company bounces back from an installation slowdown that resulted from pandemic induced travel restrictions.
“Our teams are back out in the field supporting our customers,” Gordon said. “During [the prior] period, our team in the field had to be much more independent and we had to learn to support them remotely. I think one of the benefits of that period is that our team in the field is way more independent these days than before, and in general, we want to have as much independence in the field as possible, with as little support from our headquarters, especially as we grow in our install base.”
While many of the questions during the session were related to COVID-19, Clements said that several audience members asked for some clarification on Landa’s relationship with Komori, a leading manufacturer of sheetfed offset presses. Gordon explained that the relationship is structured as a “win-win” for both companies, as Komori supplies its substrate transfer system to Landa, allowing Landa to focus on Nanographic printing technology, which is its area of expertise. Meanwhile, Gordon explained that as a traditional press maker, Komori has also recognized the need to enter the digital printing realm, and has opted to implement Nanography into its offerings.
Another key technology question centered on the company’s web press, the W10, which was first announced at drupa 2016, but has not yet hit the market on a commercial scale. Landa did reveal however, that he expects the first W10 to be installed at a pre-beta site in 2021, and has high hopes for Nanographic technology in expanding digital printing of flexible packaging.
“There’s a very clear market need for digital flexible packaging,” Landa said. “It is one of our most strategic markets. But it, of course, is one of the most demanding because it requires not only superb quality, high speed, and competitive economics, but you need to be able to print on a huge range of materials. You need to be able to print on everything from very thin plastic film such as polyethylene, polypropylene, and polyester, to metal foils, paper, and carton. And, of course, digital white is a must. Not to mention, you have to have compatibility with laminating materials, resistance to high temperature for pasteurization and sterilization, and much, much more.”
Despite these challenges however, Landa said the W10 has been engineered to provide all of these essentials to the flexible packaging segment, and he said he expects the technology to have a significant impact in the market.
In addition to the Q&A, the virtual attendees received a look inside two printing companies that have installed Landa presses. Wouter Haan, owner of Simian, a Web-to-print specialist based in the Netherlands, shared his experiences with the Landa S10P. Haan explained that prior to installing the Landa press, the company operated a combination of Komori offset presses and HP Indigo digital presses. He said however, that since installing the Landa, it has been a perfect fit to fill the production gap between the offset and Indigo technologies.
Landon Hair, COO of Marketing Alliance Group, a producer of displays and visual merchandising services based in Dalton, Ga., discussed his company’s experiences with Nanographic printing since installing a Landa S10 in July of 2019. He explained that the Landa press has been a game-changer in its ability to provide high-quality output at the size and speed required by Marketing Alliance’s customers, many of which would previously turn to offset printing to receive the required quality, even at short run lengths.
“Our reasons for investing in the Landa were ultimately that it gave us the sheet size we needed for our applications and the speed that it can run at,” Hair said. “Quality is definitely foremost for our customers. They were used to paying for something to run offset — even in small quantities — just because they needed that quality level.”
As far as when the industry will have the opportunity to see some of Landa’s latest technology in person, Landa stated the company fully expects to be present at drupa 2021, from April 20-28 in Düsseldorf, Germany, as long as it is safe for employees and visitors. He said that while virtual events have served as an adequate stand-in for live events, the company is looking forward to returning to the trade show and sharing its vision for the future of digital production technology in printing.
“If COVID-19 taught us one thing, it’s that the world is not going to back to the old normal,” Landa said. “And the new normal will be more digital than the old.”