Digital packaging presses at drupa 2020

Shinwa Factory is first Komori Impremia NS40 beta customer

Komori Impremia NS40 digital press. Photo: Komori

29-inch and 40-inch sheetfed digital presses are now market tested

Just before Diwali, we received the news of the Komori Impremia NS40 nanographic digital printing press being placed at Shinwa Factory in Saitama which is just north of Tokyo. Nanography as Landa has branded it, has taken a greater time to come to market than originally put forward by its inventor. And although both Landa and Komori have brought similar 40-inch 7-color extended gamut capable digital packaging presses to market first, Komori’s program is two years behind its’ collaborators. While one has not seen recent samples of either press, based on what we saw at drupa 2016, we can attribute Komori’s delay to its aiming at a higher level of reproduction quality.

As most of our readers are aware, Benny Landa launched ‘nanography’ with great fanfare at drupa 2012. There were two sells right from the start – that the development would lead to faster, better, and cheaper digital print – in other words, to compete with offset in all but long runs. The second sell was that ‘nano ink’ or smaller particles would lead to brighter colors and better or sharper details. The first press was to roll out in about two years.

The project has taken much longer. At drupa 2016, both Landa and Komori showed ‘working prototypes’ ostensibly running machines. By then, Benny Landa made it clear that the first presses to market would be for carton packaging and took deposits with a unique sales schema. Komori was more subdued, although the print samples it showed at drupa 2016 were to my view of much higher quality than on the Landa press at the show. Nevertheless, many well-known print ‘experts’ said that the Landa quality was ‘good enough,’ and a well-known German carton printer signed up for one of the first presses.

In the ensuing 43 months, the Landa S10 press has reached more than half a dozen beta sites and customers. It has sold a perfecting version of the S10 also. Although one has not yet seen the actual output, one is looking forward to examining its print quality at drupa 2020. Similarly, we hope to evaluate the color quality of the similar spec Komori Impremia NS40. 

Komori also manufactures and sells a B2+ sheetfed digital inkjet press, the Impremia IS29, built, in collaboration with Konica Minolta and similar to the KM1 sold by that company. Taking into account the Heidelberg Primefire 106 and other inkjet developments, packaging printers will have a choice of market-tested 29 and 40-sheetfed digital presses at drupa that they can purchase. However, the productivity of the Landa and Komori 40-inch extended color gamut digital presses running at 6,500 sheets an hour is bound to make an impact on the growing digital packaging segment. 

2023 promises an interesting ride for print in India

Indian Printer and Publisher founded in 1979 is the oldest B2B trade publication in the multi-platform and multi-channel IPPGroup. While the print and packaging industries have been resilient in the past 33 months since the pandemic lockdown of 25 March 2020, the commercial printing and newspaper industries have yet to recover their pre-Covid trajectory.

The fragmented commercial printing industry faces substantial challenges as does the newspaper industry. While digital short-run printing and the signage industry seem to be recovering a bit faster, ultimately their growth will also be moderated by the progress of the overall economy. On the other hand book printing exports are doing well but they too face several supply-chain and logistics challenges.

The price of publication papers including newsprint has been high in the past year while availability is diminished by several mills shutting down their publication paper and newsprint machines in the past four years. Indian paper mills are also exporting many types of paper and have raised prices for Indian printers. To some extent, this has helped in the recovery of the digital printing industry with its on-demand short-run and low-wastage paradigm.

Ultimately digital print and other digital channels will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future. For instance, there is no alternative to a rise in textbook consumption but this segment will only reach normality in the next financial year beginning on 1 April 2023.

Thus while the new normal is a moving target and many commercial printers look to diversification, we believe that our target audiences may shift and change. Like them, we will also have to adapt with agility to keep up with their business and technical information needs.

Our 2023 media kit is ready, and it is the right time to take stock and reconnect with your potential markets and customers. Print is the glue for the growth of liberal education, new industry, and an emerging economy. We seek your participation in what promises to be an interesting ride.

– Naresh Khanna

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