Landa has won the unofficial race to be the first with a true sheetfed B1 digital press in the UK. It was always likely to be – the Landa having been prologued at Drupa 2012 and demonstrated in prototype form four years later. The first Landas are running elsewhere, so too the first of Heidelberg’s Primefire 106 inkjet presses. But there is no sign of a UK installation of this digital giant Nor anything as yet of an announced project from KBA.
Meanwhile in the B2 inkjet format, Fuji is comfortably ahead with a handful of UK users of its Jetpress 720 in all its flavours – and is enjoying a drip-drip of orders. Screen has all but given up in sheetfed while Konica Minolta is still trying to sign that elusive first UK user. The Komori version of the same machine has notched a single sale while there are strong hints that Fuji and KM will not be alone for long. All have a long way to catch up with HP Indigo in B2 digital.
Yet if the first toehold in the market that is crucial, the second sale can be trickier still. Like a younger brother, the attention has been lavished on the first customer, with every service call dealt with with alacrity. The deals that are on offer for the debut user may not be around for the next user. Or else the first experience is so poor that the rest of the market is spooked. Printers can be nervous about new technology that challenges the status quo. It is only when sales begin to mount, as Fuji is finding, that the non committed take a longer look, that the race is truly on, even if one runner is already a lap in front.