Benny Landa, the “Father of Digital Print”, had much to celebrate at this year’s drupa: his 70th birthday and the very first customer sites for his machines in Europe. Among the first Landa beta customers in Germany will be Elanders with an S10P and Colordruck Baiersbronn with an S10.
In addition to customer sites in Germany, the world’s largest online print shop Cimpress has announced a coming order of up to 20 Landa S10P machines, which will be installed around the globe. With this bold move, Cimpress is planning the transformation of their offset print production to digital printing.
The Landa claims may include a lot of muscle flexing, but they also offer a glimpse of the future and provide a forceful view of the company’s strategic future:
- Better quality than offset based on a greater colour gamut.
- Competitive production costs – and not just in comparison with other digital printing methods – but specifically in comparison with offset
- Eco-friendly processes
- Production speeds well in the range of sheet-fed offset printing presses
Inasmuch as all the promises may be believed, there will most definitely be a new player in the market. However, Landa remains quite vague with regards to important facts and there are a number of questions as yet unanswered: What do they base the cost comparison with offset on? What about the abrasion resistance and surface hardness of the finished prints? The print samples on coated paper that were made available for inspection had a sort of protective varnish: Was that done solely in response to requirements from the packaging sector? The many visitors were not shown any prints on uncoated paper – not at the Landa stand or the Komori “live production”. The information provided about active colour management in the print process are similarly pretty vague. We should also remember that more questions will follow in the wake of the market entry: Who can build the machines in significant numbers and who guarantees worldwide sales and service?
All in all, we could definitely see additional development in comparison with Landa’s last drupa appearance, and it will be interesting to see exactly how many print machines will actually be on the market in 2017. Whether or not the digital gap announced by Landa will still exist when drupa 2020 comes around remains to be seen (yes, you read correctly: the next drupa was postponed to 2020). All the “other” digitally producing print machines have become a lot faster and better as well and market requirements can change at the drop of a hat. More so than the actual printing machines, the marketing and production process will be a deciding factor for the market success of future business processes in printing – one of the real challenges of the “digital transformation”.
At least the high expectations everyone had for the “Benny Landa Show”, complete with plenty of fireworks and light shows, with dancers and a rotating stage, were fully satisfied once again at this year’s drupa. The Real Innovation Seekers would like to take this opportunity to congratulate the birthday boy and wish him lots of success for the delivery start and commissioning of the first machines in 2017!
About Real Innovation Seekers
Real Innovation Seekers (RIS) is the result of the close cooperation between Stuttgart Media University (HdM) and zipcon consulting GmbH, and will be accompanying drupa. During the fair, small teams of students from the degree course Digital Publishing will be the “Real Innovation Seekers” looking for the latest trends, business drivers and true innovations propelling the printing sector into the future. They document their findings in articles, short films or interviews, which will all feature these hot new trends right here in my blog.