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Presses

Exclusive: Benny Landa makes major revelation

In an exclusive interview with Print Monthly, print guru Benny Landa has revealed a €100m financing agreement with speciality chemicals Group ALTANA that will see the company take a minority stake in Landa Digital Printing and give it the momentum to come to market with its Nanographic Printing Press in the second half of 2015.

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Benny Landa, chairman and chief executive officer of Landa Corporation has revealed a €100m financing agreement with speciality chemicals Group ALTANA and confirmed his Nanographic Printing Presses will come to market in the second half of 2015

“The challenges ahead of us are ramping up, we have to complete the engineering, scale up the manufacturing of the inks and printing presses, and of course increase the size of our organisation and infrastructure,” says Landa, chairman and CEO of Landa Corporation.

He continues: “So all of that of course requires substantial capital. It is not a matter of economies of scale, so much as creating the infrastructure for delivering, because it is not trivial to manufacture these 30 tonne machines, […] or vast amounts of NanoInk. You have to build factories, train people, and hire engineers. All of that is a major draw on resources.

“After Beta testing we will be coming to market in the latter half of 2015, it depends how long it takes and how successful it is. So Beta in the first half of 2015 and the second half of 2015 shipping production units.”

Landa revealed that for the past ten years he has been funding Landa Digital Printing on his own. He adds that it was the response to his Nanographic Printing Presses and NanoInk technology at Drupa 2012 —which saw massive orders—that made it clear to the serial entrepreneur that the size of this business sector is not something, ‘one individual can finance’.

Landa continues, outlining the place that ALTANA will play in bringing his revolutionary technology to market: “So, we decided to raise financing to help fund the engineering, scale up, manufacturing infrastructure, and our factory.

“ALTANA actually came across us as they had quite independently identified digital printing as one of their main strategic directions for the company. So we were delighted with this serendipity, as ALTANA for us means not having to deal with a group of investors and investor relations. Where as in ALTANA’s case, they are not only knowledgeable about the business, they are in the market. Of their four divisions three are in print-related businesses.”

After Beta testing we will be coming to market in the latter half of 2015, it depends how long it takes and how successful it is. So Beta in the first half of 2015 and the second half of 2015 shipping production units

Indeed the company’s divisions include BYK Additives and Instruments, ECKART Effect Pigments, and ACTEGA Coatings and Sealants. The investment transaction that makes ALTANA a minority shareholder does not include units of the Landa Group such as Landa Labs and Landa Ventures. And Landa confirms that the investment will be directly used for completing the development of Nanography, Landa’s water-based digital printing process, including, ‘engineering and production ramp-up of Landa Nanographic Printing Presses and building of manufacturing plants for Landa NanoInk colorants’.
 


Dr. Matthias L. Wolfgruber, chief executive officer,
ALTANA AG, believes Landa’s technology is
‘game changing’

 “We are extremely excited to be partnering with an industry visionary like Benny Landa. We speak the same language in terms of innovation,” says Dr. Matthias L. Wolfgruber, chief executive officer, ALTANA AG.

He adds: “I am confident that we are investing in a game-changing technology that can enable the printing industry to thrive in the 21st century and help our customers position themselves well for the future.”

Landa adds: “We see our alliance with the ALTANA Group as a key milestone for our company and a strong vote of confidence in our mission to bring digital printing to mainstream commercial, packaging and publishing markets. ALTANA brings a wealth of relevant industry and market experience as well as worldwide manufacturing expertise, which will be of great value as we expand our presence globally.”

No more sour grapes

Now two years since the announcement of Benny Landa’s technology with a presentation that rivalled that of the late great Steve Jobs, he outlines that tweaks to the technology and its design to make it a fully robust solution have kept pace with changing trends and consumption patterns of print. He emphasises that the size of the commercial print market is still massive and has now largely stabilised and that other areas such as packaging are experiencing ‘explosive growth’.

Answering the recent criticism in regards to a postponement put on the technology coming to market following Drupa, Landa says: “We don’t expect to have any head-to-head competitors in the foreseeable future and it’s a long-term play. A few months here or there, moving in one direction or another, doesn’t really matter in the big scheme of things.


Listen to the interview between Print Monthly editor Brendan Perring and Benny Landa in full as they discuss the impact of the Altana investment, a road to market for Landa's Nanographic Printing Presses, Kodak's Nanotechnology Ink, and the future of print

“The ALTANA investment is a powerful endorsement. ALTANA is a company that is extremely knowledgeable about every aspect of the industry […] and they did an enormous amount of due diligence. Investigating the technology, the market, meeting customers, analysing the economics, and the opportunities, there has not been a stone that has been left unturned. And after all of that, concluding that this is a game changing technology is a very great endorsement in what we have.”

Kodak reaction

Picking up on his point about ‘head-to-head competitors’ and the recent news from Kodak that its PROSPER 6000 press uses ‘nanotechnology’ inks, Landa says: “I am pleased to see that Kodak is recognising the same benefits of using nano-pigments that we have identified. But to get the real maximum benefit of using nano-pigments, its not enough just to make the pigments small, because the main issues are how do you make very thin images? How do you consume very little ink and not get it to penetrate the substrate? How do you dry the substrate? How do you get offset quality when you wet the paper?

Nano-pigments are great, but I don’t see they will provide tremendous economic or other advantage unless they are used in the Nanographic printing process

“So, the main issue is not the size of the pigment particles but how you deliver the ink to the substrate. In our case we do not deliver ink to the substrate. We dry the ink and then transfer a film to the substrate. Once you do that, now you have a huge opportunity to take advantage of nano-pigments because they enable you to make very, very thin images and have very economical printing. If you don’t do that, you haven’t really gained a lot. Nano-pigments are great, but I don’t see they will provide tremendous economic or other advantage unless they are used in the Nanographic printing process.”

Message to the market

Having been at the forefront of the ‘digital revolution’ from its inception with Indigo, and now on the verge of bringing to market another technology that certainly seems set to make a major impact on the direction and history of the print industry itself, Landa has a simple message for the global print industry: “Every customer must ask him or herself not: ‘is the industry in decline or is the industry growing?’ The question is: ‘How can I be successful in the industry tomorrow?’ And I believe the answer is (a), to be in digital printing; and (b), it enables you to be competitive for the same jobs you already get, for the customers you already have, and not have to create entirely new products to do that.

“So there is only one technology, Nanography, that enables the customers to leverage their existing infrastructure, customers, products, and turn their existing business into one that is more profitable.

“In my opinion, if it were me and I was not yet in digital printing and I don’t know what direction the market is going to take I would definitely look at walking before I could run. By that I mean first make profit of the products you already produce and only second go after up-sale opportunities with new digital added value.”

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wayzegoose   View users other comments

Wednesday, 09 Jul 2014 15:22 GMT
User since 09/07/2014

Mmmm. Proprietary monopolised ink. Is the printing industry supposed to be excited about a trojan cash-cow? Once your commercial gonads have been lowered into this vice the big money will go to Benny and the Jets. Printers can then have scraps that Landa choose to leave behind, which will be carefully designed to keep you just hungry enough to keep coming back for more! Monopoly consumable/materials would a retrograde step for the litho industry. No wonder this ink company is so keep for a slice of the action. If it takes off there will only be one looser... printers!

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