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CEO, Karstedt Patners, LLC

Digital4Packaging

By Kevin Karstedt

About Kevin

Digital4Packaging (D4P) is a forum to present ideas concerning the fast-charging application of a range of digital technologies that are transforming package printing. Kevin Karstedt, CEO of Karstedt Partners LLC, began his career in the “digital” world of packaging in the mid 1980s. His firm has worked with consumer product companies from the Fortune 1000 and 100 lists, package printers and converters from all market segments, and suppliers of products and services targeted at the packaging marketplace. The company has published a number of industry reports and is one of the foremost thought leaders regarding technology innovations for packaging and packaging graphics. More information about Kevin can be found at Karstedt Partners LLC
 

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Interview with Benny Landa on Komori Strategic Partnership

 
Digital printing for Folding Cartons has been in the news a lot over the past year; just look at the number of articles placed here as proof. The success seen by HP Indigo with its 30000 carton press and even by Xeikon with its 3500 series press are evidence that the industry is looking to address unmet needs in the supply chain.

Landa Corporation has done its share of news making on that front with the announcement that its first beta installs will be the S10FC folding carton press in the fall of 2014. On Friday morning, November 1, 2013, Landa announced a strategic relationship with Komori for the manufacture of the transport systems for all of Landa’s sheetfed systems, the first being the S10FC.

After receiving the press release early in the morning, I had an opportunity to speak with Benny to get a bit more information on this topic. I am not rehashing the entire press release but rather, giving a bit more depth on some of important issues Benny and I discussed.

Why the Sheetfed Systems?
Feeding large sheets of carton board or paper through a printing press at upwards of 20,000 sheets per hour is no simple task; Benny described it as “a combination of art and science.” He went on to say that reinventing the wheel made no sense, so partnering with a company who had perfected the process was the way to go. The sheetfed systems that were shown at drupa last year were based on a Komori sheet handling frame. Landa and Komori have worked together for the past five years and arrived at the drupa stage of development together. However, as the company defined its full rollout plan, Landa needed to choose the long-term partner for the sheet handling systems. Landa evaluated all of the major players, and based on selection criteria (outlined in the press release) decided on Komori. “It was a reaffirmation that we chose the right company in the first place,” said Benny. I cannot help but think that the financial stability of Komori versus some of the other prospects came into play as well. In our discussion, Benny used the throughput value of 13,000 sheets per hour for the S10FC, which is what the original (drupa era) specifications listed for CMYK printing. At PRINT, the number of 6,500 sph was used for the beta release version, which will be for extended color gamut printing of CMYK +OVG. This referral to the 13,000 number infers to me that Landa is still looking at that number as a target for the system.

The Relationship
Benny described the relationship between Landa and Komori as one of development and manufacturing. The initial push for both companies will be to get the S10FC and S10C produced and accepted in the marketplace. Landa will handle service with Komori expertise brought in when needed. “Komori produces superb products,” Landa says, and his engineers will be fully trained on the Komori components.

A Consumables Business Model
The S10FC and S10C are just the first two of seven Nanographic presses planned to hit the market and all will be Landa branded presses. However the bigger picture, one that is still very fuzzy, is how will Nanography evolve over the next decade? Harkening back to drupa just 18 months ago, we saw many of the majors including Heidelberg and manroland sheetfed saying they had entered into an agreement with Landa for future use of the Nanographic process on their presses. Landa has clearly stated that his business model is that of selling consumables, in this case Nanographic Ink, the old razor and razorblade model Landa introduced with the Indigo press over a decade and a half ago. The more Nanographic presses in the marketplace the better for Landa regardless of the nameplate on them or the sales channel.

Where does this put Komori?
Looking at that very fuzzy picture again, this deeper and long-term agreement will be a significant advantage for Komori IF the Nanographic process takes off as the Landa folks are banking it will. The other analog press manufacturers will need to fund parallel development tracks (Nanography and analog) without generating any revenue from the Nano efforts, where Komori will be generating revenue from both efforts and have an inside track with Nanography. Komori has a good packaging and commercial print installed base, a solid sales force and is among the strongest financially of the analog press manufacturers. This alliance seems to be a win-win for both companies and bodes well for the Landa release a year from now.

About Karstedt Partners
Follow Kevin on Twitter @DigitalKevin and check out Karstedt Partners TV on YouTube for the latest in original content and interesting packaging and digital printing videos.

Karstedt Partners, LLC offers a variety of consulting services to participants all through the packaging and consumer product supply chain. Their clients include Brand Owners, Packaging Converters who are looking at process improvements in their packaging operations and OEMs and Service Providers who are looking to develop products and services for Brand Owners and Packaging Converters. For more in-depth analysis and research visit www.karstedt.com or contact Kevin Karstedt at kevin@karstedt.com or Jeff Wettersten at jeff@karstedt.com.

Landa’s Press Release:
November 1, 2013 – Landa Corporation and Komori Corporation today announced the strengthening of their strategic relationship. The companies had collaborated during Landa’s development of Nanography™, with Komori providing sheetfed platforms for Landa’s launch of Nanographic Printing™ at Drupa 2012. The companies have now formalized their long-term strategic alliance by entering into multi-faceted agreements in which Komori will be the global supplier of all sheetfed Landa Nanographic Printing Press platforms to Landa and Landa will provide Komori with Nanographic Printing technology and Landa NanoInk™ Colorants for incorporation into Komori-branded Nanographic Printing presses.

Komori Selected to Provide State-of-the-Art Customized Platforms for all Landa Sheetfed Presses
Since Drupa, Landa engineers have been evaluating proposals from the industry’s leading press vendors, both European and Asian, for the supply of sheetfed platforms for Landa Nanographic Printing™ Presses. In making its assessment, Landa took into account the caliber of engineering, robustness of design, automation, reliability and cost effectiveness. The vendor’s culture of innovation, technical resources, commercial success and financial stability were also important criteria. The conclusion of this year-long pursuit left no doubt: Komori is in a class of its own and the clear partner of choice for Landa. The outcome led Landa to place orders with Komori for sheetfed platforms for Landa’s S10 Nanographic Printing Presses, which will start to be delivered to customers in the fourth quarter of 2014.

Komori and Landa Formalize License Agreement
Following a lengthy technology diligence period, during which Komori scientists and engineers studied, evaluated and tested Landa Nanographic™ Printing technology, Komori concluded that Nanography™ has the potential to deliver on its promise of matching the quality and speed of offset printing at the lowest cost per page in the digital printing industry. Komori therefore formalized its license agreement with Landa, cementing the long-term strategic alliance between the companies.

Landa Founder, Chairman and CEO Benny Landa says, “Since we first started our collaboration with Komori, we have been deeply impressed by the company, its people and its culture. Komori is an outstanding partner for Landa, bringing an extremely high caliber of engineering expertise, second-to-none quality and performance, together with a fervent commitment and willingness to invest in the future. It is gratifying to have as our strategic partner the one global press vendor that continues to thrive despite the challenges faced by the industry.”

Yoshiharu Komori, Komori President, Chairman and CEO, says, “It is a great honor to be able to cooperate with Landa in bringing Nanography to market. Our teams have been closely monitoring Landa’s development and have been amazed with the progress made so far, which exceeds our expectations. We believe that the impact of Benny Landa’s new invention, Nanography—with the Komori platform—will have a far greater impact even than his introduction of the first digital printing press.”

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