Gerry Mulvaney, European Sales Manager, Landa Digital Printing
Being a parent means you are used to kids wanting to know when things are going to happen. It might be a birthday or anniversary or depending on your God, it could be one of the various annual present giving occasions like Christmas that kids just love. It is not so much the event that is the exciting bit, although that clearly plays a part. No – it is much more the build up to it. That is when you notice the excitement starting.
The Mulvaney kids
When you are dealing with kids, specific timelines like days, weeks and months are difficult for them to handle. In our house when my kids were small, it was always measured in the number of sleeps that would be needed. That way the kids could understand the time line and start to get excited as the bed times totted up towards the big day!
I have been reminded of this experience with my kids in the last few weeks when I have been spending more time with our Landa customers face to face. I have had the chance to meet with a number of them at the Packaging Innovations event where I spoke and also with several when I had a chance to visit their premises.
As we now enter the second quarter of 2013, they are starting to realise that the arrival of Nanography® is on the horizon. The excitement and surprise of seeing Nanography for the first time at Drupa is now turning into the reality of real products, as we commence the planning for the first beta installations of the B1 sheetfed presses at the turn of this year.
Our customers who signed up at Drupa are being kept very much in the picture on the progress we are making in turning the new technology into a real live printing process and are starting to think about the markets they are going to address with it.
There are already some precedents in the commercial printing market for the arrival of digital printing, but in the packaging market it is like turning the clock back ten years as the packaging converters contemplate the impact it will have on their business and start to share some of their plans in confidence with their customers. So the conversations have been about the ability to create multiple versions of packaging and some elements of personalisation onto the cartons and boxes. Of course web to print will play an important part in the process, as the ability to order, proof and even schedule delivery, is going to be offered by converters. Many are now looking for the first time at these software packages.
Finishing is another major consideration as the number of sheets that converters will produce for each job will be smaller and perhaps require more automated cutting and creasing. There is a lot to consider, not just where in the pressroom the Landa press is going to be sited.
The first Landa presses to be installed at beta sites will be the S10 for folding carton and the S10C for commercial printers. The commercial printers already have experience of working with web to print and digital finishing, but it’s all pretty new to the packaging market. In my discussions with the packaging customers in particular there is a growing realisation about the impact it will have on their business and a growing excitement as we approach the beta phase. It is the excitement that is most visible to me and some of the packaging converters are becoming quite evangelical in their enthusiasm. You can imagine how often I am being asked about the delivery date of the beta presses. At this stage it is still too far out to plan precisely, but with less than a year to go, there is a lot for us to do.
So I am now employing the same tactics with my customers as I used with my kids. I am trying to damp down the anticipation so they don’t get over-excited and I am just waiting for the first time someone asks me, “So how many sleeps until I get my press?”