Landa sells Metallography tech to LDP investor

Landa Digital Printing (LDP) investor Altana has acquired the Landa Metallography technology that was previewed at Drupa last year; while LDP now expects to make its first Nanography press installation over the summer.

Chemicals group Altana took a €100m (£85m) stake in LDP in 2014. It has acquired the Metallography business from LDP parent the Landa Group and will commercialise it through German company Actega Metal Print, a new business unit within its Actega Coatings & Sealants division. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The Metallography process promises an alternative to conventional foiling that eliminates the large amount of waste foil generated by conventional foiling techniques. It works by depositing metallic nano flakes to create a metallised effect, as shown in the video below. At Drupa the process was demonstrated on an Omet label press.

Landa Nano-Metallography animation

Landa chairman Benny Landa said the move would allow Landa to focus on bringing its Nanography digital presses to market.

“Altana are extremely well suited to run this kind of business. They operate in all the relevant markets and own the relevant materials technology, which makes them an excellent owner for this business.

“This technology [Metallography] is a printing technology, but essentially it’s an analogue technology that works with flexo, offset, gravure and screen printing; and we in Landa wanted to continue to focus on digital printing and Nanography, so it enables us to focus on our core business.”

Altana has acquired all of the Metallography technology along with the patents related to it. Landa said there would be a transition period while the Landa team would continue to work on the product, during which time Altana will progressively take over the whole operation as it works to commercialise the technology “over the coming years”.

Martin Babilas, chief executive of the €2bn-plus turnover (£1.7bn) group, said: "We are excited about this acquisition, which opens up new growth opportunities for Altana and strengthens our position as a leading solution provider for the printing industry.

“We are looking forward to our continued close and trustful cooperation with Landa as we prepare to bring this promising technology to market”.

Altana’s printing industry businesses include Eckart and Byk.

Separately, Landa told PrintWeek that the long-awaited first beta installation of a Nanography press was now expected to take place over the summer. At Drupa, where the company went public with the details of a number of beta customers and early adopters, the expectation had been that the first installs would take place early in 2017.

“The bad news is I was too optimistic, the good news is the window of opportunity is not closing, it’s opening even wider. I don’t see anybody nipping at our heels. Our customers for the most part are patient and say we’re doing the right thing,” said Landa.

He reiterated that after the painful experience with the first Indigo presses, which were notoriously unreliable, the objective with the Nanography products was to “shake out as many bugs as possible” prior to the first installations.

“We are running machines around the clock and hardening them – shaking them to the foundations. Much of our focus has been on enhancing print quality and I’m delighted about what we’re achieving.”

The identity of the first beta site has not been disclosed, but Landa has said that the first presses to be installed will be straight printing B1 sheetfed S10 models. The S10 prints at 6,500sph, or 13,000sph with the high-speed option. 

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