First SP10 Nanopress installed at Graphica Bezalel

Benny Landa opens door to the nano-future

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Graphica
Benny Landa speaking at the Landa Open House at Rehovot

After 15 years of planning and development, Benny Landa has shipped the first S10 Nanographic Printing Press to a customer from his factory at Rehovot, Israel. Confounding critics and skeptics alike, the father of digital printing again steps into the front line with the installed beta press at packaging printer, Graphica Bezalel in Yavne, less than 15 kilometers away from Landa Labs. Now his Nanography-enabled invention, which he is convinced will change the course of printing, is out there for all to see, weigh, measure and judge.

“I want to be the King of Printing,” said an obviously gratified Landa (71) to an audience of invited customers, at the company’s first Open House. Around 60 printers came from around the world, many who’ve signed up to be in line for the first batch of presses coming out of the Landa factories, now ramping up production in Israel.

Being ‘king of printing’ is an aspiration Landa’s spoken of before, but now he’s one step closer to taking the ‘crown’ from the German offset press manufacturers in his sights. “This is personal, this is more than business. I welcome you to my country, my business and my home,” he said, in an impassioned hour-long speech at the new Systems 2 Plant at Rehovot. He ranged over his early years growing up in Canada as well as his time in London and Israel. He detailed how he came upon his invention of electro ink in the 1980s, which laid the foundation of digital printing as well as the development and subsequent sale of his pioneering Indigo press manufacturing business to HP before moving on to his current Landa enterprise.

There’s no doubt that Landa regards his Nanographic process as the defining printing technology of the age. In his best messianic manner, he challenged the people present to live for a higher purpose. “Life’s not just about getting things done. There’s more to it than building a business, it’s to achieve something great, something profound. And what’s more profound than printing?”

That almost palpable sense of personal mission has now produced what is arguably a defining moment in printing history. A full day touring three production sites, impressive research laboratories and the headquarters of the burgeoning Landa Digital Printing company gives an understanding of how far he and the company have come since drupa last year. With one S10 Nanographic Printing press installed and running in the nearby Israeli packaging printing company, five more under construction at the established production unit, with others including a flexible packaging web press devoted to R&D, there is credence to the claim that Nanography has moved from merely a clever technology into being a fully realized saleable product.

Two presses will be installed in customer sites before the end of the year, one in Germany—and the other in the USA—challenging the printing industry to examine its accepted production parameters. The ability to digitally print in brilliant color with excellent resolution on any type of offset paper without treatment, on plastic substrates, for flexible packaging, in either sheetfed or web configurations without the use of printing plates, is set to change the industry’s expectations.

Of course, there are still hurdles to overcome. A second day at Rehovot provided opportunities to dive deeper in such issues as the challenges presented by the EFI and AVT enabled active quality management (AQM) as well as to ask about blanket life and wear, and reliability and costs.

Nevertheless, for those at the event in Israel this week there’s a definite sense of being present at a defining moment in the history of printing; as well as in the personal journey of Landa, the Gutenberg of our times.

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