By Gerry Mulvaney, European Sales Manager, Landa Digital Printing
We Brits delight in being out of step with our European partners. There is an apocryphal story about a headline in the Times of London some years ago. Apparently during some bad autumnal weather the headline read, “Fog in the English Channel – Europe cut off”. It sort of sums up our rather arrogant approach to our position of being a small island off the coast of Europe, with our adherence to pounds sterling and miles instead of euros and kilometres.
Of course the European Parliament in Brussels also regularly comes in for a bashing in Britain, with its new laws about the shape of bananas and the size of bankers bonuses, but we do also appreciate nice things about Europe, such as French cooking, German cars, Italian fashion and Belgian chocolate.
So it does make a nice change of scene to get on the Eurostar train from London and spend a few days in the heart of Europe at Labelexpo, meeting Landa Digital Printing’s European customers face to face. It is at shows like this that you get a much better sense of the size and scale of the European market. Although English is the de facto common language of the modern European printing Industry, my French and Spanish language skills were also called into use with customers from Iberia, France and even the French part of Canada.
Meeting our existing customers is a priority and where they gather at a trade conference or event, it gives us an opportunity to make use of the venue to meet up.
The main topics of conversation in Brussels were the continued improvement in the print quality achieved by the presses; the change of specification of the B1 format Landa S10 sheetfed printing presses to produce a more ergonomically designed layout; the incorporation of the new materials-handling features; and an in-line coating option.
On balance I would say that the print samples were the subject that produced most excitement. The customers have seen several improvements in the last eighteen months, but this latest set of samples, which Benny Landa has described as being 85% of the way on the print quality S-curve towards our goal of offset quality, are the most striking example of the progress we have made.
I suppose it is in the nature of printers to be more excited about the output than the machine itself, but several customers have shared our pleasure at the new layout. I was told in no uncertain terms by a Canadian customer that they want the first machine in Canada – and French, German and Irish customers are now very keen to see their own sample jobs on the press.
It was a rather weary Brit that climbed back aboard the Eurostar, fortunately unhindered by “Fog in the Channel”.