ALTANA Acquires Landa Metallography Technology

James Hanlon
Feb 28, 2017

 

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Landa Group announced on February 21 that Germany-based ALTANA AG has acquired its metallography technology, which Landa first showed at drupa 2016. Landa, the Israeli developer of the trademarked Nanography jetting technology, demonstrated at drupa its metallography system, which is in effect a digital foiling based on jetting. ALTANA, a German chemical company, has four divisions, two of which are major suppliers of metallic print and print enhancement, namely Eckart (metallic printing inks) and Actega (coatings for packaging). The deal thus links Landa with a company well positioned to commercialize Landa’s digital foiling concept.

Landa’s digital metallography, addresses two key issues in printing, especially package printing, namely the need for metal effects and the wastefulness of the conventional means to achieve them.  In packaging, and to a much smaller extent in commercial printing, analog metal foiling is a key enhancement option, giving gold or silver features to printed images, increasing their attractiveness and apparent value. Analog foiling, though, is wasteful, since the transfer of foil from a roll media to the printed image is normally just a partial transfer, leaving most of the foil on the donor roll; that remainder normally cannot be re-used or recycled. In contrast, Landa Metallography jets metallic inks, and only what is needed, eliminating waste and creating a sustainable alternative to traditional foiling. Landa claims the technology can apply “… a luxurious metallic effect at less than 50% of the current cost, with reduced time and complexity…”

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Landa metallography is possible in all printing segments, though its primary focus will be in packaging applications, in particular labels, folding cartons, and flexible packaging. For now the print module in development at Landa, the L50, is designed for narrow web label press integration, but retrofit use of Landa metallography with other press types is planned. .” Post-acquisition, development work and sales/distribution, will be steered by ACTEGA Metal Print GmbH, the ALTANA   coatings division based in Lehrte, Germany.

InfoTrends sees digital print enhancements in general as a growth sector, with players like Scodix and MGI both providing their own solutions for dimensional, metallic, and other effects. However, true foiling has so far been a challenge for digital. Both MGI & Scodix offer foiling but use traditional foil media, so waste foil is still an issue. (In fairness, we note that measures to reduce the waste have been implemented, and Scodix has developed a ribbon-saving technology for its E106 machine.) Development of the now ALTANA-owned Metallography technology is expected to continue through the next few years; no word yet on scheduled commercialization.

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