Landa S10C with the operator cockpit at the left by the delivery; to the far right, the print engine and feed unit
Landa Print Quality 'S' curve
Today Landa Digital Printing announced design adjustments to the Landa S10FC and S10C while also noting that the S10FC would enter beta testing in the fourth quarter of 2014 while the S10C beta would begin beta in the first half of 2015). The most visible design adjustment is a shifting of the large touch-screen user interface to the backend of the device.
Note: The Landa S10FC is the folding carton version and the Landa S10C is for commercial and publishing printing. Both devices are capable of producing 6,500 four-color B1-format sheets per hour with a maximum paper size of 29.5 by 41 inches (750 by 1050 centimeters). The S10C is also duplex capable and has a rated speed of 3,250 sheets per hour when printing on both sides.
The design updates announced today include:
- Operator cockpit – This “integrated production management center” is located at the delivery end of the S10 and includes touch-screen press controls, job management tools, video feeds, production-related vital signs, a lighted inspection table, and an area for the operator’s personal items.
- New inkjet technology – New ink “ejectors” with a resolution of 1200 dpi are designed to improve print quality, increase reliability, and provide redundancy in case of nozzle failure. Landa did not identify the source of the inkjet heads used.
- Paper handling – The system, which supports paper and plastic substrates, provides accelerated changeover to new substrates with continuous paper feeding that allows operation without stopping to restock the paper pile. An auxiliary delivery tray enables operators to collect proofs without interrupting the production process.
- Coating – An optional inline coating unit provides flood and selective coating via flexo rollers and plates. UV and aqueous coatings are supported.
Though Landa Digital Printing did not exhibit at PRINT 13, its representatives (including Benny Landa) were there, meeting with customers and updating journalists and analysts on the progress the company has made since its unveiling at drupa 2012. They discussed the design adjustments and showed print samples under non-disclosure as they also informed clients who had signed letters of intent about the design developments and the rollout schedule.
The samples that Landa representatives showed privately at PRINT 13 were greatly improved over what I had seen previously (during a quick look at a sample book during Graph Expo 2012) and they are light years ahead of what was shown at drupa 2012. The samples confirm that Landa has made significant progress and is approaching offset quality levels. The next challenge for Landa will be to show similar quality levels at production speed in a public setting where samples are handed out freely. In a similar fashion, proof of Landa’s claims of low operating cost will need to wait until the product approaches launch and consumable & service costs are made known.
As part of its presentation to journalists and analysts Landa showed an updated version of its print quality ‘S’ curve. Landa notes that this current version represents a somewhat slower rollout than originally planned, with beta testing happening at the end of 2014. Last year at Graph Expo Landa showed this ‘S’ curve, but at that time beta testing was expected to start early in 2014. That earlier graphic also included IPEX as a point on the curve but as with many other exhibitors Landa no longer plans to have a booth at IPEX.
In related news, Komori confirmed at PRINT 13 that it was continuing its development work with Landa, noting that its first planned joint products with Landa would be the 40″ sheet & web versions (S10 variations). This aligns with Landa’s focus on the B1-format S10, which is the first of the Landa offerings headed for beta testing and launch. Komori’s other digital print partner is Konica Minolta. Komori said that it plans an end of 2014 launch in the United States, Japan, and Europe for the B2-format Impremia IS29 (known in its Konica Minolta version as the KM-1). Komori says that the Impremia IS29 has space for two extra imaging stations, which could be used for white, clear, or Pantone Matching System (PMS) colors. Komori also noted that the IS29 imaging system could support a B1 sheet with the right feeding system adjustments.
In closing, the Landa news is encouraging since it shows significant progress since drupa 2012. The design changes are also representative of an ongoing development process that is showing flexibility in its willingness to make design changes based on customer or other feedback. Yet Landa still has much to prove as it approaches the beta testing of the S10FC and S10C, and the true test will come when their devices are tested by customers in production environments.