Landa’s S10P Analyst and Press Launch at Mercury Print Productions

German Sacristan
Jul 15, 2019

On June 27, 2019, Landa introduced its first installation of an S10P Nanographic Printing Press with a perfector to a group of analyst and media professionals at Mercury Print Productions (Rochester, NY). The media event included presentations from Nachum Korman (Vice President and General Manager of Landa Americas) and John Place (CEO of Mercury), a product demonstration, a tour of the factory, and a Q&A session. The S10P offers two-sided B1 printing, and is suited to general commercial printing, publishing, and related applications.

Nachum Korman kicked off the analyst briefing by stating that the S10, which is engineered for packaging and converting, has officially launched after first being unveiled at Drupa 2016. Korman provided details on the first four installations of the Landa Nanographic presses —one in Israel, two in Europe, and one in the United States. The installation at Mercury in Rochester marks the first North American installation of an S10P that focuses on commercial printing. He also talked about several additional S10s, S10Ps, and W10 installations that will be coming in the near future, including an S10P in China, an S10 in Mexico, and a W10 in Germany

Korman also discussed one of Landa’s greatest differentiators—Nanography Technology. He elaborated, “The Landa presses use fewer pigments than offset to create inks while producing a comparable image quality at half the thickness and amount of ink on the paper (0.5 microns vs. 1 micron for offset). The Landa Nanographic printing process does not require substrates to be pretreated or primed, and any type of offset media (coated or uncoated) can be fed through the press at rated speed. What is especially interesting is how Landa deals with the constant challenge of drying the printed image on the paper. Landa’s technology does this by building the image into a heated blanket that evaporates most of the water, leaving the image ready to be transferred to the paper. Additional hot air drying systems are applied.

Figure 1: Landa’s S10P Product Demonstration

The product demonstration at Mercury’s printing site handled real customer publishing jobs and took place in a large open space of Mercury’s factory. The S10P shared space with some roll-fed inkjet presses as well as finishing equipment. Mercury greatly appreciated the productivity of the S10P, particularly for jobs that had to be collated. According to Felix Medero, Mercury’s Director of Process Development, the time savings are huge. During the product demonstration, the operator was able to control the press from the front or the back depending on where he was when the job was printed. This is a change from the original operator console concept. Mercury was also very impressed with the front control station, which includes many quality and registration settings.

Landa hopes that its S10P will close the gap between digital and offset in the following areas:

  • Quality: According to Mercury CEO John Place, the S10P offers output quality that is comparable with that of offset for a variety of applications. He even expects that some specific jobs that might be more suited for offset printing due to quantity run lengths might end up being printed on the S10P because a preferable print quality. That said, some elements of quality conversation are always subjective because different people will have their own preferences and opinions. During the event, the Landa team shared a range of samples that were printed on site during the visit. A range of these samples illustrated the printer’s abilities in reproducing continuous tone images. The broad range images reflected vibrant colors with good saturation and contrast, providing an indication that Landa’s ink set offers color quality that rivals that of offset, including realistic flesh tones and vibrant memory colors. At the same time, we noticed the presence of typical inkjet streaking in some prints as well as ink satellites around fine text. That said, not too many samples with text were made available. During the product demonstration, however, it was quite impressive to stand in front of the sheet delivery station by the printers and see these sheets piling on at a rate of over 6,500 sheets an hour.
  • Productivity: As noted earlier, the S10P features high productivity through speeds of 6,500 B1 simplex sheets per hour, 3250 in duplex mode, no need for makeready, workflow automation, and collation capabilities. It remains to be seen if Landa will have increased the S10P’s speed at Drupa, as has been suggested in the past. In terms of reliability and uptime, Landa’s on-site technician shared that although it is early in the process, Mercury has been running 3 shifts at times during the beta period. Besides the regular pre-maintenance work that occurs twice per day (morning and night), the company has experienced almost no issues.
  • Cost: Cost calculations should be defined based on the time required to finish a job (productivity), the Budgeted Hourly Rate (BHR), and consumable costs between different technologies such as offset and digital. With digital presses like the S10P working to increase productivity and reduce costs, the crossover points between offset and digital are leaning more strongly toward digital. We should always bear in mind that crossover points vary based on applications (catalogs vs. brochures vs. postcards, etc.) as well as print service providers’ specific costs. Over time, we believe that an increasing number of customers will likely find larger format digital presses cheaper and more productive than offset for a growing variety of applications. Mercury even shared during the Q&A session that in one particular scenario, the paper cost for offset was double that of the S10P due to waste. In addition, Felix Medero stated than the seamless integration of the S10P in their print factory has not required any additional investments. Because Mercury is still waiting for pricing from Landa, the company has nothing to report regarding this subject.

Here at Keypoint Intelligence – InfoTrends, we’ve been comparing offset and digital technologies for decades. Although the S10P beta device installed at Mercury was digital, it had the look and feel of an offset press. It will be very interesting to see the new opportunities that the S10P delivers to the printing market as time goes on. If you’d like more information about the S10P Mercury event, InfoTrends will soon be publishing a longer analysis piece on the topic. To learn more, e-mail Deanna Flanick at Deanna.Flanick@keypointintelligence.com.

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