Landa Hosts Open House at Quantum Group to Showcase New S10P Nanographic Press
Cheryl Kahanec has keenly watched the development and maturation of Benny Landa's Nanographic printing technology since 2011 — dating back to her digital printing executive leadership roles at Sandy Alexander, followed by EarthColor. Now, as CEO of the Quantum Group, Kahanec was convinced the availability of the seven-color, 41" Landa S10P digital perfecting press could be a "game-changer" for the 30-year-old commercial and direct mail printing operation that she's led the past five years.
As such, in November 2022 Morton Grove, Illinois-based Quantum Group became the first printer in the Chicago area to install a Landa S10P digital offset press. It was demonstrated running four different live jobs during an open house event held March 14 that was hosted by Landa Digital Printing at Quantum for prospective Landa printer customers, both locally and from across the country.
The special event was also attended by Landa Digital Printing CEO Gil Oron; Heberto Pachon, GM of the Americas; Nadav Gilor, senior director of the S10P product line; Christine Ahn, marketing manager of the Americas; and several Landa regional sales managers. During the event, they revealed that the U.S. market is a key target for Landa Nanographic press installations, which are now approaching nearly 20 installations in North America — with goals to double the number of installs in 2023.
Kahanec believes the S10P press fits perfectly within Quantum's existing arsenal of digital and conventional color printing output devices, which includes three HP Indigo cut-sheet ElectroInk liquid toner digital presses (two 10000s and a 7800); an HP PageWide T240 HD and a Canon ProStream 1800 inkjet web press; three Heidelberg Speedmaster (eight-, six- and five-color) sheetfed offset presses; and a high-speed W+D envelope printer. For digital finishing, Quantum primarily relies on Tecnau, MBO, and Standard Hunkeler equipment.
According to Kahanec, some jobs produced by Quantum touch all three press platforms — sheetfed offset, liquid toner and production inkjet, and, now, Landa's digital offset technology.
The S10P deploys Fuji Samba inkjet heads to eject water-based, pigment-sized (less that 100 nanometers) NanoInk droplets onto a heated rubber silicone offset conveyor blanket. The 500 nanometer-thick image is then transferred from the blanket onto the surface of the substrate, bonding to the substrate surface to maintain 1,200 dpi, round dots with sharp edges and minimal light scatter. The seven-color (CMYK-OGB) S10P model, which is geared for commercial, folding carton, and publishing applications, can also match 96% of Pantone colors.
What Drew Quantum to the Landa Nanographic Press
There are several aspects of the B1-format Landa S10P that appealed to the Quantum management team: The ease of automated operation, which has required minimal press operator training and manpower requirements; the job flexibility to run a wide variety of highly personalized and customized digital printing jobs on 28x40" sheets; the ability to run standard, off-the-shelf coated, uncoated, and recycled house stocks with no pre-treatment requirements; the high output capability of 6,500 single-sided and 3,250 double-sided sheets/hr.; and the environmentally friendly benefits of plate-free, waste-free, printing — including on recyclable and de-inkable paper stocks — with very minimal press makeready and job changeover times.
"Now, with the Landa S10P, we have the full range of capabilities for marketing-on-demand versus print-on-demand [production}," Kahanec explained. "We can react very quickly ... virtually every component can be customized or personalized." She referenced work being completed by Quantum for pharmaceutical customers as a perfect example, noting how the various components (including the boxes and personalized materials) can now be rapidly produced on-demand with the S10P.
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, pharmaceutical companies are developing more direct relationships with their patients, which means patients have come to rely on them for timely, precise messaging about their medications. The critical nature of these communications cannot be understated, Kahanec pointed out.
"It includes vital information like dosage and side effects — each of which must be accurate and tailored to the patient. And, as new medications are approved by the FDA, new materials must be printed and distributed quickly," she added. With its S10P, Quantum is now able to personalize and print every piece of these communications on-demand, including the packaging, to meet customers' stringent SLA requirements.
Evolving Beyond Commercial Printing Into Direct Mail
In total, Quantum Group is expanding beyond its commercial printing roots to now printing and mailing 200 million direct mail pieces annually — and that segment of its business for financial, healthcare, pharmaceutical, and other vertical markets continues to grow. For example, Quantum maintains an ongoing contract with a Medicare Advantage provider. When the group started working with the printer in 2021, Quantum was producing 40 million direct mail pieces. That number has since doubled, to more than 80 million direct mail pieces, while reducing production time by 25%.
To keep up with that growth, the often three-shift Quantum operation is investing heavily in cross-training for its workforce, encouraging and monetarily rewarding its production workers to learn a minimum of three different processes.
Kahanec admitted there was initially some fear and resistance by some of Quantum's sheetfed offset pressmen when the Landa S10P digital offset press was installed. But, she says — partly due to the fact that the S10P is housed in a specially built room very near to the offset pressroom, versus in the area of the plant where Quantum's other digital printing presses are located — they have since embraced the complementary technology.
The ability to run former offset work on the Landa press was also put to the test when Quantum Group suffered a fire on one of its Speedmasters, which put the lithographic press out of service for an extended period of time. As a result, some jobs were moved over to the S10P and, due to the ease of color matching the offset work over to the Landa press, Quantum was able to meet its job turnaround deadlines and received no complaints from customers about color quality.
"When customers see what the Landa S10P can do [for them], then they're going to ask for it," Kahanec noted. "It's moving quicker than we would have thought."