HP at drupa 2016: Re-Imagining Production Digital Printing

Ron Gilboa
Mar 29, 2016

During a pre-drupa event last week in Israel the HP Indigo and PageWide Web Press production teams announced a range of new products and product improvements. Headlines among this news are:

  • A new B1-format device called the HP Indigo 50000
  • A twin-engine, 197 feet-per-minute, roll-fed, label print called the HP Indigo 8000
  • A new Indigo high-definition laser array capable of 1,600 dot-per-inch resolution
  • Spectrophotometers, scanners, sensors, and vision systems for the Indigo product line that enable improved productivity, consistency, and image quality
  • Expansion of HP’s PageWide Web Press HD platform to include a monochrome offering called the T490 M HD
  • Ongoing development of PrintOS

HP’s event was hosted at the HP Indigo facilities in Kiryat Gat and Ness Ziona and was informative as well as very telling about the company’s ongoing commitment to the future of digital printing not only from a technology perspective but taking into consideration social responsibility related to environmental impact as well as the profitability of their community of customers.

In his welcoming comments Alon Bar-Shani, General Manager, Indigo Division at HP Inc. mentioned the team’s commitment to the success of their clients, pointing out page growth of over 50% that has occurred in the Indigo installed base since last drupa, that is expected to produce an estimated 30 Billion A4 pages by the end of 2016. According to Bar Shani, this growth can be attributed to the dedication of HP Indigo’s team to print quality, the versatility of their solutions, and a line of products that is built to last. This sentiment was echoed also by David Murphy, Worldwide Director of Marketing & Business Development, HP PageWide Web Press division, HP Inc., who cited productivity, quality, versatility and economics as the key drivers in the estimated 50 Billion A4 pages printed on HP’s PageWide Web Press installed base in 2015.

Alon Bar-Shani holding up new canvas high quality HP Indigo print

Alon Bar-Shani Holds Up High-quality Canvas HP Indigo Print

To maintain its significant presence in the industry HP announced a series of solutions, products, and upgrades that will be made available for customers in the next year or two. This blog will cover these key announcements briefly. A full analysis wills be available to InfoTrends clients at a later date.

HP Indigo Announcements

Keys to a successful print business include consistency, predictability, on-time delivery, and cost effectiveness. Several items described at this event are key to a print service provider’s success. These include cross-platform features such as:

  • An in-line spectrophotometer used for substrate and color management profiling and for in-line device calibration for consistency. This includes Pantone color matching as well as continuously monitoring printing consistency in the device and across distributed print operations. HP Indigo positioned this closed loop solution as able to maintain a press calibrated to very tight tolerances (2.0 Delta E or less), which is a critical need for many packaging and commercial print applications.
  • An in-line scanner (ILS) unit to detect and alert users to print defects while jobs are being printed
  • Media tracking sensors that aid in maintain print consistency for flexible packaging applications on the HP Indigo 20000
  • An AVT-based machine-vision solution to ensure job consistency based on dynamic in-line validation that compares the printed page to the digital original
  • A high definition laser array (HDLA) writing system that supports an imaging resolution of 1,600 dpi. The first product to implement this will be the HP Indigo 12000.
  • Expanded media range including synthetic, metalized, canvas, black, colored substrates, as well as thicknesses up to 550 microns
  • An HP Indigo ElectroInk Digital Primer that uses the imaging unit in-line to apply primer selectively as needed
  • Increased productivity and automation through HP’s SmartStream Production Pro 6.0 software, which HP says has the potential to increase print throughput by up to 40 % per shift with its HP Indigo Optimizer, supporting continuous printing with on-press job sequencing and proofing during production.
HP PrintOS Print Beat Dashboard

HP PrintOS Print Beat Dashboard

The tools mentioned above, particularly when combined with HP’s newly announced PrintOS cloud workflow offering, should allow print service providers to take full advantage of the benefits inherent in production digital printing, all the way from short runs and quick turnaround to just-in-time manufacturing and mass customization.

HP Indigo 50000 Digital Press

HP Indigo 50000 Digital Press

The following figure provides an overview of the new product specifics (click for full size image).

Figure 1: HP Indigo 2016 New Product Portfolio

Figure 1: HP Indigo 2016 New Product Portfolio

HP Indigo also announced:

  • Upgrades to existing product including the HP Indigo WS6800, 20000, and 30000
  • Three lines of refurbished presses: HP Indigo 5r (based on the Indigo 5000 series), 6r (based on the Indigo WS 6000 series), and 7r (based on the Indigo 7000 series)
  • Availability of PrintOS for all entry level HP Indigo units that have been upgraded to Production Pro 6.0
  • HP Indigo PackReady – PackReady is an innovation in film coating that is aimed at the flexible packaging market. This laminate film bonds with HP Indigo output such as that of the HP Indigo 20000 to form a food-safe barrier. The film is laminated to the printed output using a process that leverages low-temperature and pressure. This eliminates the wait typically needed in conventional lamination processes allowing brand owners to move quickly from print to final packaging.
HP Indigo 8000 Digital Press

HP Indigo 8000 Digital Press

HP PageWide Web Press Announcements

The HP PageWide Web Press team announced the expansion of the High Definition Nozzle Architecture (HDNA) web press portfolio to include new HP PageWide Web Presses called the T490 HD, T490M HD, and T240 HD. These units provide increased print quality and higher productivity than previously possible.

HP PageWide Web Press T490 HD

HP PageWide Web Press T490 HD

New HP PageWide Web Press HD systems to be introduced at drupa 2016 (click for full image view)

Table 2: New HP PageWide Web Press HD systems to be introduced at drupa 2016

Table 2: New HP PageWide Web Press HD systems to be introduced at drupa 2016

InfoTrends’ Opinion

These sweeping announcements in core technology, print quality, and consistency are critical components in enabling print service providers to compete effectively in a changing industry landscape. For many years the promise of digital printing was its ability to produce customized print, short print runs, and enable print providers to benefit due to improved operational efficiency and customer satisfaction. However for many years these promises became hurdles as some print providers struggled to maintain print quality and up-time while meeting industry standards for consistency and, in the case of packaging, food safety.

These latest announcements from HP go a long way toward enabling a fundamental change in the supply chain in many markets as they move towards mass customization. Critical system tools such as an optimized cloud-based workflow, automated consistent color quality, and machine vision tracking are important building blocks for success. In addition, the range of new highly productive presses in the 40”-plus category, both in inkjet and liquid electrophotography, with speeds ranging from over 250 feet per minute and up to as fast as 1000 feet per minute, positions HP as a market leader at drupa.

Francois Martin, Worldwide Marketing Director of the Graphics Solutions Business at HP Inc., revealed that the company will have 56 presses on display at drupa 2016 in a booth that is 6,200 square meters. This is as big as a soccer field, and the largest of any drupa exhibitor. HP has been hard at work turning its vision into reality. The announcements of these new productive presses will usher in a next generation of HP products that will begin to be available through 2016 and early 2017.

Since drupa is traditionally a show where products, as well as breaking new innovations, are announced, one can only wonder what else HP has up its sleeve…We’ll see you soon in Düsseldorf!

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