By Benny Landa, Chairman & CEO
Well, it’s December again. Where has the time gone? Hard to believe that another year has passed… and even harder to believe that we now are only 18 months from Drupa! For me, the past two and a half years since Drupa 2012 have zipped past like Road Runner on steroids!
So, here we are, 30 months after we promised that our Nanographic Printing® presses would perform to perfection, but the first one has yet to be delivered to a customer. Yes, we did warn that “perfection takes time”, but it is taking more time than we had predicted. The reasons? Well, there are two.
The first is that as exciting as the Drupa 2012 models were, they were not exactly what the customers wanted. Folding carton converters wanted inline coating. The big touchscreen user interface – although universally loved – needed to be at the delivery station. And operators needed more convenient access to the machine’s inner workings. In short, we learned that the product needed to be completely re-engineered. And just over a year ago, we took the difficult decision to do just that – to re-engineer the product from head to toe.
The second reason is that we had to improve print quality. Although most customers at Drupa were able to appreciate the fundamentals of Nanography® – the sharp dots, the ability to print-on-any-paper, etc. – print quality defects masked many of Nanography’s remarkable attributes. Eliminating these defects too turned out to be a time-consuming challenge, especially as this work had to be done in parallel to the massive machine architectural changes.
Consequently, it all took a lot more time – and money – than we had expected. Naturally, during these past many months, our focus has been internal – doing, not showing.
Now, on the eve of 2015, that is all about to change. Today we have machines that are very different from what we showed at Drupa. If our top-of-the-line Landa S10 press then weighed 10 tons, our fully-loaded Landa S10 Nanographic Printing® Press with inline coating now weighs over 30 tons! That’s not just 30 tons of iron, that’s 30 tons of technology. It is a masterful piece of engineering that integrates Landa’s Nanographic Printing® engine with a paper handling platform from Komori; an image inspection system with image processing from AVT; and the industry’s most powerful digital front end incorporating EFI Fiery® technology.
30 tons of technology!
As for print quality, our Landa NanoInk® colorants are now visibly delivering on their promise: brilliant, deep pure colors, razor-sharp text and edges, nano-thin images that replicate the gloss of any off-the-shelf paper and more.
Though not yet perfect, we are getting close, very close. Close enough, in fact, to start showing full-size B1 (41 in.) print samples to our Landa S10 customers. Close enough to start building a world class sales and service operation, starting with top-tier executive Marc Schillemans to head EMEA sales. Close enough to double our Drupa 2012 floor space. And close enough to host our beta candidates at our facilities in Israel in March.
That isn’t to say that we are home free. 2015 will be challenging. There is still so much to do. We plan to be in full beta in the second half of the year. We are blessed with the most amazing team of talented, dedicated people committed to making it happen… so it will happen.
Apart from over 1,000 man-years of blood, sweat and tears invested by our people, by Drupa 2016 we and our ALTANA partners will have spent over a quarter of a billion dollars bringing Nanography® to market.
And for what? For making digital printing mainstream. That’s what it’s all about.