The major outward change to the design of the presses involves the giant three-metre wide touchscreen control panel that featured on the models shown at Drupa.
This has been ditched in favour of a wraparound ‘cockpit’ at the delivery end of the press that is more akin to a conventional litho press control console. The cockpit features several smaller touchscreens and retains the ability for the operator to monitor the press from a remote, hand-held tablet.
Landa Digital Printing (LDP) founder and chairman Benny Landa said that after Drupa the LDP team had visited more than 120 customers in 10 countries “to really understand their needs”, and the huge touchscreen had been given the thumbs-down.
“We goofed,” Landa admitted. “They said it’s a fantastic thing, but it’s in the wrong place. The operator will be running back and forth and that’s not practical.”
The addition of the cockpit means the original compact design has considerably increased in size.
The B1-format S10FC simplex press for folding cartons, which will be the first model to ship, has also had a conventional coating unit added to its configuration, again as a result of customer feedback.
This, plus the cockpit, means the S10FC now has an overall length of 17m. Previously the press was 8.65m long (pictured below is the Drupa version of the S10 with touchscreen).
Other changes include improvements to the formulation of the special NanoInk used, and a revamp of the press range’s internal design. LDP has changed the position of the printheads to make it easier for operators to carry out maintenance without needing to crouch down.
LDP is now using 1,200dpi printheads, understood to be from Kyocera although the company will not confirm this, for its ink ejectors and the latest print samples show a level of quality that has vastly improved since Drupa.
The samples included small Kanji text and fine linework, as well as flat tints, onto a range of substrates including high-gloss coated paper.
LDP also has new samples showing conventional AM screening at 175lpi, as well as the stochastic screening that is typical of inkjet output.
Over the past few weeks Landa founder and chairman Benny Landa and his team have been briefing customers who have paid deposits or signed letters of intent for presses about the shipping delay, as well as the latest quality developments.
“No-one has cancelled due to the delay,” Landa stated. “We have 430 LOIs. Some people cancelled after Drupa but fewer cancelled than new orders we received.”
Landa said that based on the firm’s print quality ‘s-curve’, it is now “80% to 85%” of the way to offset quality. He said he would not ship the presses until that benchmark had been achieved.
“Everyone wants a machine that is reliable and fully tested,” he added. “There isn’t a mistake I haven’t made in my career, and one I’m never going to make again will be to ship a product before it’s ready.”
40% of the presses on order are for packaging models. LDP said it was still planning to roll-out the original range of seven presses, comprising four sheetfed and three web models, but would do so in order of customer demand.
The B1 perfecting model, the S10, will follow the S10FC and is set to ship to beta customers in the first half of 2015. Landa said models from licensees such as Komori (which provides the Landa press chassis), Heidelberg and Manroland Sheetfed would follow.
Landa also said that the fundraising process for LDP that began last year, which involves raising circa $200m (£124.6m) from private investors, would be finalised “by the end of this year”.
The progress update was subject to a press embargo that expired at 1pm today (23 September).