HP T-Series for Corrugated: Up to 6 Colors & 1,000 FPM Speed Options

Bob Leahey
Jun 5, 2018

In the crush of news from last month’s FESPA in Berlin is one corrugated story that merits extra attention: HP’s PageWide Industrial division, which pioneered the high-speed CMYK pre-printing of corrugated liner media with HP PageWideT400S and 1100S in 2014, announced at the show the introduction of two new versions of the 110”/2.8m wide press, the HP PageWide T1170 and T1190. Each prints six colors (CMYK plus Orange and Violet), extending the color gamut to meet brand colors, and also feature HP ColorBoost technology. The presses feature HP A30 water-based inks do not use UV-reactive chemistry, so the products printed are food safe. The T1190 also offers a big increase in productivity to 1000 fpm/305 mpm, up from the 600 fpm/183 fpm of HP T1100S. Both the T1170 and T1190 presses are suitable for both coated and uncoated media, from 80 gsm to 350 gsm. They are available now, either as new installations or as on-site upgrades to the twelve T1100S installations that exist today worldwide.

 

HP PageWide T-Series

For observers of color digital printing for corrugated, the short version of the news is that HP PageWide has taken a color print system that was already startling in terms of productivity and offered a much faster version of it (HP T1190), while also upping color matching via an expanded gamut (both HP T1190 and HP T1170).

HP PageWide T-Series printers to date have a unique position in single pass color digital printing for corrugated because they are the only digital systems available so far that are designed to print liner media before corrugation (“pre-printing”). All other options in the still young single pass digital corrugated printer market print fully formed board stock (“post-printing”), and the same is true for all the multi-pass inkjet flatbeds for corrugate. In aiming the T-Series as it has, HP PageWide has given digital printing a chance to disrupt the hold of pre-print flexo and other analog print early in full-service corrugated manufacturers.

Meanwhile, HP PageWide has a leading role in post-print for corrugated. The best-known products are long established, the HP Scitex flatbeds, a UV inkjet line that most recently includes HP Scitex 15500 and 17000, both dedicated to corrugated. Just this year, though, HP PageWide launched HP C500, a 1.3-meter wide single pass printer for corrugated board. Like the HP T-Series printers, HP C500 is based on HP thermal inkjet; HP “TIJ” inks are aqueous, and thus they have none of the toxic photoinitiators of UV inkjet. HP says that they are well qualified in terms of food safety, a vital consideration given the importance of the food industry to the corrugated market.

Examples of corrugated packaging printed with T-Series

 

The news on the new T-Series printers includes some customers that are already upgrading to the new versions. Italy’s Ghelfi Ondulati S.p.A. installed a PageWide T1100S in the summer of 2016 and is now upgrading to the PageWide T1170. The first PageWide T1190 Press will be a field upgrade to the T1100S that DS Smith is installing in its Fulda, Germany plant.

Workflow Challenge & Response

Given the productivity of the HP T-Series, a user inevitably will need to occupy the system with many, possibly hundreds of jobs per week. In response that challenge, HP PageWide provides imposition using HP Multi-lane Print Architecture (MLPA) which was introduced with the T1100S in 2015. While the entire web can be printed as a whole, the option to split the web into individual lanes to accommodate faster production or diverse product sets across the web means that a converter can accommodate discrete long and short run jobs during the same press run by ganging jobs into lanes.

Learning to take advantage of the capability might take some workflow re-engineering. Print Manufacturing Execution Systems and workflow management systems designed for managing high volumes of similar jobs may be missing the components needed to manage large numbers of variable job, which is where this equipment is well-suited. Adopters will need to review their current workflows to identify where new job onboarding, color management, and digital workflow management will be needed to ensure smooth throughput.

 

 

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