Landa Digital Printing has confounded the sceptics by achieving what some had deemed impossible – it now has a press up and running at a customer site, and the firm’s initial tranche of users has universally expressed their faith in the technology.
At the firm’s first-ever VIP customer event, held in Israel this week, founder and chairman Benny Landa began proceedings with a heartfelt and personal address to more than 100 potential customers from around the world, in which he recalled his family’s humble origins and the series of chance events that resulted in his career taking off, and his pioneering role in the advent of digital printing through Indigo.
He expressed his ambition to put Israel at the pinnacle of printing technology. “I want to be the king of print, yes. From the time of Gutenberg that crown has been worn by German companies, and with good reason. My goal is to bring that crown to Israel,” Landa stated. “We are the best at technology and we believe we are going to lead the printing industry in the digital era and you [customers] are going to help us.”
“Over the summer we shipped our first magnificent machine and very soon we will be shipping these magnificent machines to every corner of the earth. Each says ‘made in Israel’ – my dream has come true for the second time.”
The first beta machine has been up and running at Israeli packaging printer Graphica Bezalel for about three weeks. It is a four-colour S10 with hybrid coater, that will be upgraded to a seven-colour CMYKOBG configuration for a wider colour gamut, when that becomes available.
“People were rightly sceptical in the past. One of the purposes of this visit is to vaporise that scepticism,” Landa added.
Graphic Bezalel co-owner and director Eyal Harpak said: “We were almost as proud as Benny when the machine started printing. Jobs have already gone to customers – it’s not a vision, it is happening.”
He said the firm would typically use the press for runs of 5,000 and below.
The latest Landa output is much improved on the samples shown at Drupa last year, but is yet to reach the peak quality standards demanded by most potential customers. The firm is still in the process of perfecting its AQM closed loop quality management system, which uses AVT technology.
“AQM is a must-have for us,” said Oliver Sattel, technical director at Germany’s Edelmann, which is set to become the first European user early next year. “The people at Landa have had an open ear for our fears and also for our ideas, and that is very much appreciated.”
Bob Lothenbach, founder of US point-of-sale printer Imagine!, which will install the first press in that region, said: “I would have loved to have got the machine earlier but I’m glad they did the right thing and waited to bring it to market. We have spent five years working with them and never doubted it – every meeting we had, it improved.”
Important factors in favour of Landa cited by the three beta customers included the ability for the press to sit alongside their offset machines, and its industrial nature.
Although Landa has remained tight-lipped about giving even ball-park pricing details, a figure of circa €3m (£2.7m) for an S10 press, with a €100,000 annual service charge has been mooted by potential customers.
Imagine!’s Lothenbach was enthusiastic about the pricing for ongoing usage. “They have a revolutionary charging structure with their PPU model, so we are only paying for sheet utilisation and ink coverage, it’s a more efficient model.”
Landa chief executive Yishai Amir outlined the firm’s roll-out plans, with the beta phase for the simplex S10 continuing in the first half of 2018, with commercialization in H2. The perfecting S10 will be in beta-test from H2 2018 with commercial availability “early” in 2019, while the web-fed W10 for flexible packaging will be beta-tested in the first half of 2019, with commercialisation slated for mid-year.
He emphasised the “spirit and endless commitment” of the Landa team: “We will continue to work very hard on this technology and these products. We are fully committed to that and we will make it happen. Read my lips on that.”
More than 100 packaging and commercial printers from around the world were in attendance, including half a dozen from the UK.