Much excitement that – at long last – we have some concrete information on the identity of the first Landa beta sites and – more importantly – when the presses will be installed.
Has there ever been a printing industry product launch that has been as high-profile, and has taken so long to come to market? It’s hard to think of anything comparable.
And it’s clear that the delays have been costly for Landa Digital Printing, in terms of the prolonged development time, and certainly in some lost orders – Colordruck Baiersbronn in Germany, originally named as one of the first beta sites at last year’s Drupa, installed an HP Indigo 30000 in the latter half of 2016 and the firm’s name no longer features in the Landa roll-out plan.
I also can’t think of a company or product that has elicited such strong and polarised opinions. It’s like we have the Benny Beliebers on one side, and those firmly in the “it will never work” camp on the other.
Thinking back, I can remember plenty of perfectly justifiable cynicism back in the days of the dotcom boom, when a number of people jumped on the print bandwagon hoping to make a fast buck. Some of whom had questionable track records or indeed no track record at all.
But this is different. To my mind, Benny Landa merits our respect. At the risk of repeating myself, he really is the nearest thing the printing industry has to an equivalent of Steve Jobs. He’s brought revolutionary print technology to the market before, and who says he can’t do it again?
What’s also interesting is that he doesn’t have to do any of this – he’s wealthy and successful and lauded in his home country as a great entrepreneur and philanthropist. Most mere mortals in the 70-something age bracket would surely be more than happy to put their feet up, kick back and relax in a warm glow. I know I would. But not Benny.
So I’m keeping an open mind. Here comes the true test, when real-world users start to put his Nanographic printing technology through its paces. Back at Landa's launch at Drupa 2012 a press manufacturing expert looked at the presses and said to me: “Even Benny can’t change the laws of physics”.
Soon we’ll get to see if he can.
I asked about the likely timeframe for the first UK installations, the answer was 2018.