HP and Landa predict digital printing won’t ever kill offset

Above: Markus Weiss and Benny Landa

Indigo founder Benny Landa and HP global executive Markus Weiss, have both predicted that digital printing will complement offset printing, and may not ever replace it.

The claims were made over two consecutive, yet completely separate, hour-long presentations on separate days during the pre-drupa Press Conference at Messe Düsseldorf in Germany by Indigo founder and current owner of Landa Digital Printing, Benny Landa, and HP General Manager of Industrial Print for EMEA, Markus Weiss.

In their presentations, Landa and Weiss both shared their future predictions for the ongoing digital vs analogue debate in the printing industry and despite both executives confirming they are continuing to focus on improving the speed and quality of their digital presses, they also believe that offset analogue printing technology will always have a place in a ‘hybrid’ environment.

In his presentation, Benny Landa announced two new machines with the ability to print over 11,200 sheets per hour which rivals the speed of offset printing. But rather than labelling the machine as an ‘offset killer’, Landa was more relaxed about the supposed ‘war’ between the two formats and he believes both formats can live harmoniously.

“I think offset will be around for a very long time, and perhaps forever,” Landa told Sprinter in an exclusive interview.

“If you do an offset set up once and you create a printing plate once and your information doesn’t change – it can produce one million or two million or even three million times – in this instance there is no justification for a digital product. Offset will be the ‘niche’ in the future, because the mainstream market now requires much shorter runs and variable information. Long jobs of exactly the same image – that will be the niche and that’s where offset will continue to be strong,” Landa said.

“We have customers that have removed offset presses and installed our presses instead, but what happens is, not only do they become more profitable by using our press, their offset press becomes more profitable as well. This is because they have moved everything under 10,000 to our press and the offset press becomes much more reliable and profitable because there are now fewer changeovers and less wasted work.”

In his presentation titled ‘Welcome to the Next 20 Years’, HP’s Weiss said he believes there will be a hybrid environment in the future where digital and offset operate in a complementary environment.

“When we envision the future – we would like to see an HP press next to every offset press. We see this hybrid environment as the future environment as customers need that. Customers require flexibility and they are likely to always need analogue printing. Of course, we are continuously improving the breakeven point, but let’s be realistic, we will not improve this breakeven point in the next four to five years to a level where you will completely replace offset or analogue technology. I am a very realistic person and not a dreamer, even though I work for a digital printing company. Hybrid production for me is definitely not just the future, it is starting now and we have seen this very clearly in the market,” Weiss said.

To emphasise the importance of a hybrid printing environment, Weiss then referenced CMYKhub as a standout case study within his presentation.

“CMYKhub from Australia is a new customer that invested in an HP Indigo and increased their business with 60 per cent of incremental sales,” Weiss said.

The slide within the presentation included a quote from CMYKhub CEO Dayne Nankervis.

“CMYKhub transfers work from the offset machines to the HP Indigo 100K more freely than we ever have before. We are now more efficient, more versatile, we confidently take on work and we can take on more,” Nankervis said.

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