EFI Fiery to Drive Landa Digital Presses

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Jan 22, 2014

Big news from the EFI Connect show in Las Vegas: EFI and Landa have formed a strategic relationship to use Fiery technology as Digital Front-End/RIP for Landa’s digital presses; both for the continuous feed and cut-sheet devices. From the moment Landa showed its new presses for the first time at drupa 2012, there has always been much speculation about who Landa would choose as a DFE partner and what RIP technology would be suitable enough to drive digital presses that can run 12,000 B1 sheets per hour at 1200 DPI.

Guy Gecht and Benny Landa - who paid an unexpected visit - announcing a strategic partnership at EFI Connect 2014

The problem with Landa’s presses is that they are extremely fast, have a large print area, and have high print resolution, which require RIP processing capabilities that are very difficult to achieve with today’s technology. In comparison, it requires a data rate of 15GB per second to run an HP T410 Inkjet Web Press at rated speed (600 ft/minute). For a 12,000 B1 offset-quality type of press, you’re looking at a minimum of 72 times that amount, probably even more, which brings the amount of data that needs to be pumped from the DFE to the printer in the terabytes (One TB = 1,024 GB) per second region. A 60 TB hard disk, which is expected to come on the market in 2016, will be filled within a minute of processing.

Another challenge is the ripping performance that is required to run a Landa S1 (B1 device) at rated speed. RIP manufacturers like to include some safety margin to prevent machines from slowing down in cases in which poorly constructed files take longer to process. Even with the latest hardware architectural improvements — Adobe, EFI, as well as Global Graphics all have technology now that enables RIPs to get speed benefits from multi-core CPUs —  the new DFE will need very significant amount of hardware to meet the speed requirements, especially when variable data or photo printing processing is involved.

EFI will have to find a way to push the boundaries, and my bet is that they will look at improving their own hardware (on which the DFE runs) as well as software to achieve the speeds necessary without forcing customers to spend a fortune on computer hardware. It is too early to tell how exactly they are going to do this, but what we do know for sure is that there are many technical challenges ahead; in that sense the pledge from Guy Gecht to help Landa with the right technology here feels almost similar to John F. Kennedy’s promise to go to the moon, which inspired a nation to get behind NASA and pushed them to new heights. For Fiery, this might just be what they need — completely rethinking the way ripping is done and turning it into an opportunity for further revenue growth.

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