Labels & Packaging
Looking back, our domestic Sign & Digital UK 2012 show proved to be an outstanding success with more than 6,264 unique visitors attending from a wide range of companies that cover the entire production spectrum from sign makers, inplant printers, corporate printers, display printers, litho printers, screen printers, and outdoor media companies all looking to keep abreast of the latest trends in display technology.
Those from the UK who didn’t make it out to Barcelona for FESPA Digital certainly seemed to have made the effort to travel to the NEC in Birmingham to check out what was new in wide format printing. Many exhibitors reported that the quality of visitor was better than at any time before, with lots of visitors coming from the litho sector who were genuinely looking to take their first steps forward with wide format printing. Therefore I think we can conclude that this year’s show was a great success.
Looking forward, next years’ Sign & Digital UK will be held again at the Birmingham NEC Halls on 30th April – 2nd May, just one month before FESPA delivers what it is already calling ‘The Big One’ in London at the ExCxel Centre in Docklands between 25th - 29th June 2013.
The FESPA show looks set to be an attraction of some 600 exhibitors spread over 48000m2 with an expected attendance of over 20,000 visitors, and if you have never had the opportunity to travel to a fully blown FESPA print show before, now will be your chance seeing as it’s fallen right into the lap of our beautiful capital city. I can hardly contain my excitement, particularly when I stop to think that Ipex will be at the same venue just a year later in 2014. Happy days.
And now we have Drupa about to kick off from the 3rd to 16th May. We should all know by now that Drupa is the largest printing equipment exhibition in the world, held every four years in Düsseldorf, Germany. When it was last held in 2008 – pre recession – it attracted more than 390,000 visitors.
Drupa will also be a showcase for wide format printing technology, although wide format won’t quite be the belle of the ball as it has been up until now. You can expect something new from one or two wide format manufacturers and I am expecting Roland or Canon to make a technology announcement, but the limelight this year looks set to be stolen lock stock and smoking barrel by Landa Digital Printing and its Landa Nanographic Printing process, because Benny’s back and he is back with a new digital printing system that ejects water-based NanoInk onto off-the-shelf coated and uncoated stocks and packaging films with what is being described as game-changing performance and cost per page for the mainstream commercial, packaging and publishing markets.
According to the company’s blog, Benny Landa founded Indigo back in 1977 with a mission to develop a better photocopying technology than xerography. In the course of his research, he invented ElectroInk, a breakthrough that opened the door to something no one had thought possible: digital offset colour printing. It enabled offset quality and digital versatility to be combined in a single printing process. When it was launched at IPEX in 1993, a world of new possibilities opened up for the entire industry. Short-run, on-demand, personalised printing became the order of the day. It was the beginning of a new era, and in 2002 Indigo was acquired by the Hewlett-Packard Company and Landa immersed himself and his new company, Landa Corporation, in nanotechnology research. It was interesting to note that at the HP press conference at Ipex in 2010 Benny Landa suggested that by the time the next Ipex came around, the majority of printing technologies on show would be inkjet. Given what he was working on at the time he could well be right.
According to Landa Digital Printing its nanographic process is characterised by ultra-sharp dots of extremely high uniformity, high gloss fidelity and the broadest CMYK colour gamut of any printing process. The ink contains pigment particles that are only tens of nanometres in size. That is very small if you consider that a human hair is about 100,000 nanometres wide, and these nano-pigments are apparently extremely powerful absorbers of light and therefore, according to Landa Digital Printing, enable unprecedented image qualities to be achieved.
Drupa will see Landa Digital Printing unveil a complete family of sheetfed and web presses. These include B3, B2 and B1 sheetfed perfecting presses which operate at up to 11,000 sheets per hour for commercial and packaging printing as well as web presses for publishing and flexible packaging that range in width from 52 cm to 104 cm and operate at up to 200 metres per minute. This is fast. The company says this type of print performance places this technology firmly in the heart of mainstream commercial printing will be of interest to commercial litho printers and packaging converters for applications that include general commercial printing, books, magazines, direct mail, labels, folding carton and flexible packaging for food, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics and more.
No mention has been made as yet regarding a wide format NanoInk printer but if this technology catches on, and if it really can provide superior printed results with so little ink coverage, a wide format production model must certainly be on Benny’s mind given the size and scale of the global wide format printing market. For my money this is what the future holds for wide format printing.
Could this be the second coming of the man credited as being the father of digital printing? Perhaps, but there has certainly never been a better reason to go to a Drupa show than now because if the Landa hype is to be believed, now is the coming of the second revolution in printing. And it doesn’t get much better than that.
Count me in.
Visits the Landa Digital Printing website - www.landanano.com
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