By Louis Gordon, Marcom Manager, Landa Digital Printing
Nir Zarmi is the COO at Landa Digital Printing and the driving force in implementing Benny’s vision for Nanography®. To start off 2014, we decided to ask Nir to share his plans and hopes for 2014 and to share some of his insights about Nanography.
LOUIS: Hi Nir, what are your plans for 2014, whether about Landa Digital Printing or something more personal?
NIR: Louis, I thought you said that this was going to be a short interview… but seriously, 2014 will be a very significant year for Landa. In 2014, we will be shipping our first presses to our beta customers. This is our primary task and everything that we are currently doing is to support this effort. This is true across the entire business, from our R&D and product integration teams, to our service group, to our sales and marketing. On a sort of personal level, I want to do my best to maintain the amazing sense of purpose that pervades the company. There’s a special energy here and as a manager I want it to continue.
LOUIS: It’s been said that the Nanographic Printing® process will begin a new revolution in digital printing. When will we see real change?
NIR: Real change started at drupa in 2012 when the first orders were placed for Landa Nanographic Printing® Presses. This reflects a real need in the market; a need for a solution to profitably print jobs that are becoming shorter and shorter. Only a few years ago, printers were infrequently producing jobs under 5,000 sheets, but today this is an increasingly large portion of their business. The change will continue in 2014 with the shipment of the first presses to the early adopters of Nanography at the end of the year.
LOUIS: Despite being launched more than 20 years ago, digital printing still accounts for only a small percentage of printed pages. How can you explain this and how will Nanography® make an impact?
NIR: Out of 50 trillion printed pages, only two percent are printed digitally since digital technology is not competitive with offset for most jobs printed today. Digital printing must offer higher productivity and larger formats as well as print on ordinary offset stock instead of costly "digital" paper.
NIR: Nanography® offers a breakthrough in all of these areas. It prints up to five times faster than other digital technologies, uses the B1 format (41 in. / 1,050 mm), on any offset stock—actually any substrate—without priming or pre-treatment. All of these characteristics make Nanography an attractive alternative to sheetfed offset printing, especially for applications in growth areas like packaging, where increased demand is actually driving growth in the use of flexo and gravure. We also see great opportunities in point of purchase or point of sale applications that are currently being produced with offset despite print runs in the hundreds of units. Nanography will dramatically reduce their setup time and the per-unit costs.
LOUIS: Most printing is currently done with offset lithography. How you will explain to the companies that using the Nanographic Printing process is better?
NIR: It’s important to understand that it’s not quite an issue of which technology is “better” as each one has its advantages. Nanography is ideal for faster turnaround and printing jobs with short- to medium-sized run-lengths, up to several thousand sheets. Offset (lithography) is, and will remain, the preferable printing method for longer runs, beyond 10,000 sheets. As such, printers and converters are likely to place Landa S10 Presses on their production floor next to their offset presses and use each one for its strengths. Moreover off-loading shorter runs from offset to Nanographic Printing presses can free up offset presses for printing additional long runs and improve profitability of the offset production lines.
LOUIS: Recently Landa and Komori announced a strategic partnership. What does this agreement mean for Nanography?
NIR: The joint announcement has two aspects. The first aspect of the partnership is that we formalized the licensing agreement with Komori regarding Nanography. This was done after a lengthy technology diligence period, during which Komori scientists and engineers had numerous trips to our facility in Rehovot to study, evaluate and test Landa Nanographic Printing® technology. They concluded that Nanography® has the potential to deliver on its promise of matching the quality and speed of offset printing at the lowest cost per page in the digital printing industry.
NIR: The second aspect of the partnership is that we selected Komori to provide the paper handling systems for our Landa Nanographic Printing® Presses. Since we first started collaborating with Komori on the presses that we showed at drupa, we have been deeply impressed by the company, its people and its culture. They have an extremely high caliber of engineering expertise, second-to-none quality and performance, and a commitment to Nanography.
LOUIS: Which market will be the first to adopt the Nanographic Printing presses: folding carton, commercial, flexible packaging or publishing?
NIR: Landa’s first Nanographic Printing® press will be the Landa S10 Nanographic Printing® Press, a single side B1 (41 in. / 1,050 mm) press. Its large format size makes it very appealing to folding carton converters and commercial printers who want the productivity and economies of scale associated with printing in the B1 format.
NIR: We recently released a white paper with in-depth research on the packaging industry. We found that folding carton converters, who comprise the packaging industry’s largest segment, are increasingly limited by their ability to deliver shorter runs and will greatly benefit from Nanography®, Landa’s Nanographic Printing® process. You can download the white paper from our website.
LOUIS: Where do you see the opportunities for growth in printing?
NIR: Printing is one of the largest industries worldwide with value of printed goods sold around US$ 800 billion. While the Internet and digital versions of newspapers, books, and invoices have replaced printed versions, short-run printed items currently served by digital technologies are growing at nearly 5.8% and packaging is growing at 3.7% year over year. In recent years, people eat at home more often and are buying more packaged foods and beverages as well as health and wellness products.
NIR: Manufacturers are increasingly creative to get their products to stand out on the shelves and to increase their shelf space. They are offering more varieties, changing product packaging more frequently and creating more point of sale displays and other items to catch your attention. Commercial printer are working more and more with brands to create cross media marketing campaigns that combine Internet and specialized printed materials for these quick campaigns.
NIR: In short, print is very dynamic and will continue to grow by reinventing itself.