Landa on track with Nanography commercialisation plans
By Jo Francis Friday, 26 October 2012
Landa Digital Printing is "on schedule" with its quality and reliability roadmap and will deliver its first Nanography presses at the end of next year, according to chairman and chief executive Benny Landa.
The company, which up to now has been bankrolled personally by Landa, is reported to be in the process of raising up to $200m (£125m) from external investors to support its manufacturing and go-to-market activities – just as Indigo did in the mid-1990s – although Landa declined to comment on the details.
"We like to talk about these things when they’re done," he told PrintWeek. "We took a huge number of orders at Drupa, and our main challenge now is to focus on the engineering and manufacturing ramp-up. It’s an enormous task and we’re on schedule. But it’s clearly a task that also requires enormous resources."
Workers are pictured (above right) in the press assembly area at Landa’s Rehovot facility in Israel. The first plants for manufacturing ink and blankets will also be in Israel "near the centre of experience", prior to worldwide manufacturing expansion.
Landa said he "wouldn't want to underfund" the business or not capitalise fully on the opportunities available for the company.
At the recent GraphExpo event Landa showed customers how the print quality of Nanography presses has improved since the Drupa launch, and the latest print samples also include text elements – something that was notably missing from the Drupa samples. "The response to the print samples was extremely favourable. People could clearly see the progress made since Drupa," Landa said.
"We are on track in terms of the rate of quality improvement and other factors including reliability and cost," he added.
Landa also shared a chart showing the predicted print quality "S" curve for Nanography, which should reach offset standard by the Ipex timeframe in spring 2014.
The company has also received further deposits and LOIs (letters of intent) since the show. "That really surprised me. We have received orders from people who didn't even come to Drupa!" Landa said.
The company now has a huge order backlog of more than 400 orders. "The next big challenge is ramping up production and meeting the orders we've already got."
Landa said the B1 press – currently unique in being the only B1 sheetfed digital press from any manufacturer, and the most popular choice among Landa customers – was "at the top of the list in terms of priority" although it won't necessarily be the first press to ship.
Although there are seven models in the Nanography range of web and sheetfed presses, Landa emphasised the fact that the designs have commonalities across the models, so the manufacturing requirement is "not as diverse" as it might initially appear.
Landa said his upcoming engagement at EFI's Connect conference in January should not be taken as a hint that an EFI frontend will drive the presses. "There is no connection whatever between speaking engagements and business partnerships. It's just a convenient and good forum," he stated.
The company has recently recruited a host of new employees across a broad range of roles as it steps up its activities, and now employs more than 200 staff.
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