Posts tagged: Digital

HP Latex R Series: First to Print Rigid Media for HP Latex, and First White Ink

India Tatro
 Mar 27, 2018

Ten years since the introduction of HP Latex Printing Technologies in 2008, HP unveiled the latest addition to that series of wide format printers recently at ISA Sign Expo in Orlando. The new “HP Latex R Series” builds on existing HP Latex technology but is the first HP Latex printer to print on rigid media. HP Latex R, which also prints flexible media, is designed to print a wide variety of rigid substrates including foamboards, PVC cardboard, fluted polypropylene, solid plastics, aluminum, wood, and glass.  The Latex R Series is also notable because it marks the introduction of HP Latex White Ink. Like its other water-based Latex inks, HP says the Latex R’s  white ink will maintain the appearance and texture of the substrate, a desirable quality when printing on materials like aluminum or wood. HP also claims that their new white ink—the first for the HP Latex line– will not yellow over time, which can be a problem with some white UV inks.

HP has also included fluid management technology in the R series  to combat  problems typically associated with white ink. Pigments in white inks are prone to settling due to the larger particle sizes of white pigments; their larger particle sizes can make such inks a problem for print heads, causing clogs or blockages during printing or while the printer is idle. To counteract possible problems with settling and clogging,  HP has added an ink recirculation system to keep ink moving both within the ink delivery system and at the printhead. The ink storage system will also feature an automatic ink agitator to prevent settling over time.

 

HP has not yet released photos of the new R Series, though a teaser video can be found on their website

 

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Highcon Releases the Euclid IIIC

India Tatro
 Mar 5, 2018

Highcon, developer of the revolutionary “Euclid” digital cutting and creasing technology for paperboard, recently announced the commercial release of a new machine, Euclid IIIC, which can cut and crease thicker media, in particular several grades of corrugated. The new machine features can work with single ply paperboard, laminated stocks, and N, F, G, E, and B-flute corrugated from 1mm to 3mm in thickness (40-120 points). The Euclid IIIC thus allows the Euclid series to expand further, thanks to the new printer’s ability to finish thin to medium grade corrugated media. That media category has grown quickly in the past few years because of is use in packaging, in particular for primary packaging such as small but sturdy boxes for cosmetics, consumer electronics, and home furnishings.  Read more »

Xeikon Update: Notes From Q1 Analyst Call

India Tatro
 

Xeikon, much in the news in 2017 for its “Xeikon Café” events and its debut as an inkjet technology vendor, held a first-ever quarterly briefing for press and analysts in all regions. On hand were top managers: Filip Weymans and Jeroen Van Bauwel, both from Xeikon’s headquarters in Belgium, and Dave Wilkins and Donna Cavannon, marketing and sales leaders for Xeikon North America, based in Illinois.

 

The Xeikon “Blueprint”

Filip Weymans, Xeikon’s VP of Global Marketing kicked off the presentation with an overview of the strategy or “blueprint” for the company. The key point was that Xeikon will now continue product development based on both dry toner electrophotographic and inkjet printing technologies, also that Xeikon will continue to expand finishing and workflow offerings for Xeikon’s commercial print and industrial printers. Xeikon will have a particular emphasis on folding carton printing on the industrial side and on high-value graphic arts applications like direct mail and educational books on the commercial print side. At the same time, Weymans noted that Xeikon has a long-term goal of moving into the corrugated market. In the meantime, though, Xeikon will focus on the label printing applications that today are the core of its industrial printer business. Read more »

Moms Provide Insight Into Print’s Advantages

Christine Dunne Dunne
 Feb 22, 2018

My local online moms group recently got into a discussion about whether paper or digital invitations are preferable for kids’ party invites. While they were discussing consumer printing (and in many instances production printing for consumers), it got me thinking about how many of their comments are also relevant to the world of business printing.

First, let me show you the main points addressed by these moms. In summary, they cited the following advantages of printed versus digital invitations.

Advantages of printed vs. digital invitations cited by local moms

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HP Indigo Lands Big Deal for HP Indigo 20000

India Tatro
 Feb 21, 2018

HP Indigo announced this month that a current user of HP Indigo 20000, ePac Flexible Packaging, has agreed to purchase 10 additional HP Indigo 20000s. ePac, based in Madison, Wisconsin, is a young, all-digital converter of flexible packaging and is already operating three HP Indigo 20000s sited in Madison and in Boulder, Colorado. The company, which started operations only in 2016, working with just one HP Indigo 20000, will add the new units to its existing sites this year and next at new facilities in Los Angeles, Houston, Chicago, and Miami.

HP Indigo 20000 30″ digital web press

Among color digital printers for packaging and labels, HP Indigo 20000 is rare indeed. As of today, it is the only fully commercialized production level digital printer designed to print flexible packaging. Meanwhile, it was only in 2014 that HP Indigo launched the printer, so this seven color, 30” (760 mm) EP web is off to a fast start. At the time of the recent ePac announcement, HP Indigo also revealed that the current global installed base of this printer is 115 units. Given this model’s high purchase price, HP Indigo has likely achieved nearly $200 million in sales of HP Indigo 20000, not including the recent ePac deal.

A Brief History of the HP Indigo 20000

HP Indigo 20000 has predecessors, but they are all HP Indigo printers, namely the HP Indigo ‘Series 3’ label webs, especially HP Indigo WS6000 and WS6800. Starting around 2009, HP Indigo began developing flexible packaging as an extra application of WS6000, enlisting partners such as Karlville and Avery Dennison for finishing and media. As HP Indigo expanded further into flexible packaging, the company began to work with narrow-web label converters to help them start printing this application. In addition, HP Indigo even equipped rare flexible packaging converters with the Series 3 printers. Today, the HP Indigo 20000, an HP Indigo ‘Series 4’ printer, is the pinnacle of the HP Indigo’s efforts to develop digital printing for flexible packaging. With a web width equal to that of many flexo presses, and a powerful print engine based on the HP Indigo 10000, the Indigo 20000 is a practical digital option for flexible packaging.

Labels, Other Applications Also

Since HP Indigo 20000 is a roll-fed printer with a substantial web width, it is well suited for the production of both flexible packaging and labels. About 75% of the printing done on the Indigo 20000 is flexible packaging, with the remaining 25% being labels, or a mix of label and flexible packaging, or other applications. Keypoint Intelligence estimates that gross billings from the current base of HP Indigo 20000s for all uses is over $300 million annually. Those billings will grow as the base does, and as converters gain skill both in using the printer and in selling its services.

HP Pack Ready

While there are no new HP Indigo flexible packaging printers in sight at this point, a key finishing addition to the Indigo 20000 will be commercialized this year. This is HP’s new Pack Ready Lamination system which will dramatically decrease the time spent waiting for printed and laminated rolls to cure. While flexo converters must wait up to a week for their laminated rolls to cure, users of Pack Ready can expect curing to be almost immediate.

HP Pack Ready system with specially designed hardware form Karlville

The first component of Pack Ready is proprietary chemistry: HP Indigo licenses film manufacturers to use its patented coating technology to coat film for use in HP Indigo 20000 (several film companies in different regions have been licensed). After printing in HP Indigo 20000, that pre-coated film goes into a specially designed laminator by Karlville, HP’s partner for FP finishing. The laminator uses thermal energy to join the printed film with another film layers, and the lamination is fully cured in only a few minutes.

Pack Ready coating structure with HP’s proprietary heat-activated coating (in yellow)

Not Alone Forever

While the Indigo 20000 continues to be the industry leader for digital printing of flexible packaging, there are at least a few new digital entrants. These new machines are from Japanese companies Think Lab and Fujifilm, as well as Uteco Converting from Italy; Think Lab and Uteco are experienced suppliers for gravure and flexo in the flexible packaging industry, and Fujifilm is a giant in industrial inkjet. The new machines from these companies have only a handful of beta installations, mostly in Japan, but more will come, possibly also from competitors that are not evident today. As in all industrial printing, inkjet has high potential to contribute to flexible packaging printing. That said, EP printing from HP Indigo 20000 has a big lead, as exemplified by the recent deal with ePac.

Take the 15 Page a Day Challenge!

Eve Padula
 Oct 2, 2017

The proliferation of social media makes it possible for consumers and businesses to spread the word about events, causes, and pretty much anything faster than ever before. Over the past few years, we’ve seen quite a few social media challenges. Back In 2014, the Ice Bucket Challenge increased awareness about ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease) while also raising $109 million for the charity. During 2016, the Mannequin Challenge became a social media sensation. Not to be outdone, the Paper and Packaging Board issued its own How Life Unfolds challenge of its own over the summer. This 15 Pages a Day Challenge is a paper-based reading program that’s great for people of all ages and literacy levels.

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Around the World in 50 Billion Customer Communications

Will Morgan
 Jun 26, 2017

Some might call it overkill. We just call it being thorough.

When we set out to interview 50 key stakeholders in the customer communications space, most of our peers thought we were being too ambitious. Well, 60 interviews (and 250+ pages of notes) later, we had managed to gather insight from customer communications service providers and other stakeholders who represented over 50 billion printed, electronic, and mobile communications delivered in 2016.

Highlighted in a press release today to announce its publication, the resulting report, entitled Enterprise Customer Communications—Trends and Strategies from Around the Globe, includes perspective from some of the largest players in the customer communications market, as well as important smaller providers with deep vertical and regional insights.

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This 43-page analysis examines in detail the top ten trends driving enterprise expectations and aspirations for customer communications. Here is some insight into three of them:

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Next Up for Vendor Shows: Xeikon Café in Belgium

Bob Leahey
 Mar 8, 2017

At this time of year vendors and users of digital print technology have a spate of events that qualify as vendor-specific tradeshows, ones hosted or sponsored by individual equipment suppliers. Among the best known are two that just took place, namely Hunkeler Innovation Days (February 20-23 in Lucerne) and Dscoop (March 1-4 in Phoenix, Arizona, for HP users). A third event, coming soon, is a pure play in digitally printed packaging and well worth visiting—the Xeikon Café that will take place in Belgium on March 27-30.

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Rediscovering Real Books in Today’s Electronic Age

Eve Padula
 Aug 16, 2016

Earlier this month, I read a great article in The New York Times about the benefits of reading real books to your children. I’ve been an avid reader all of my life and a mom for nearly three years, so this article piqued my interest. It also got me thinking about how my own reading habits have changed over time.

As a child, I grew up using physical books. Pretty much everything that I read for education or enjoyment was some form of ink on paper. I also grew up using screens—my family had a home computer and TVs, but e-Readers were a long way off at that point. The books that I read were “book books.”

I bought my first iPad about 5 years ago, and my personal reading habits began to change. Although I still have shelves of physical books, most of the books that I purchase these days are in electronic form. My iPad became my library, and although there was still something appealing about ink-and-paper books, I became fully entrenched in electronic reading. I didn’t think I’d ever go back.

Then I became a mom.

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Color Plus Personalization: Selling the Value of Inkjet

Barb Pellow
 Aug 1, 2016

In today’s market, making a good first impression is everything. With information overload at every turn, people will now only glance at a website, mailpiece, or video before deciding whether it’s worth their time. Marketers are seeking strategies to create better pieces with strong visual appeal that prompt the consumer to read further or take action. For many marketers, this means turning to color and personalization.

An Infographic from Kissmetrics on how color can affect conversions highlighted the psychological impact of color on the human brain. Key statistics are as follows:

  • 93% of people say that the visual dimension is the #1 influencing sense that affects their purchasing decision (over taste, smell, etc.).
  • Studies suggest that people make a subconscious judgment about a product within 90 seconds of initially viewing it. Up to 90% of this assessment is based on color alone.
  • Magazine readers recognize full-color ads 26% more often than black & white ads.

It is no wonder that today’s marketers are focused on adding more and more color to communications. According to InfoTrends’ 2016 State of the Market Study on Customer Engagement Technologies, over 80% of enterprises stated that full-color printing for promotional and transactional communications is important.

Figure 1: How important do you think it is to switch printed communications from black & white to full color?

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According to InfoTrends’ study entitled Direct Marketing Production Printing & Value-Added Services: A Strategy for Growth, the intelligent use of color in direct mail often generates improved response rates. Full-color images can capture a consumer’s attention with realistic depictions of advertised products. Color can also be used to personalize messages by matching pictures or text to items that the customer has purchased in the past. Furthermore, nearly 49% of consumers reported that seeing color on an envelope had a moderate or major effect on their likelihood of opening it.

The use of color in customer communications is not a new phenomenon. Historically, direct mailers and transactional communication service bureaus have digitally printed in black & white and relied on offset-printed shells to provide color design elements such as logos, highlighted text, and tints. Today, however, digital technologies can deliver near-offset quality and high speeds, all while meeting today’s marketing requirements for 100% variable content and envelope messaging.

For marketers, the inkjet value proposition transcends far beyond cost per print. It offers the ability to deliver color that gets noticed with a completely new approach to communications. Service providers must educate customers about how inkjet technology blends full color with individualized messaging to drive business growth. Print/marketing service providers must articulate how they can support enterprises in delivering communications efficiently and effectively.

The investment in inkjet is about delivering new levels of value to your customer base. Today’s print engines, finishing technologies, and workflow solutions have the flexibility to deliver on the age-old promise of one-to-one personalized messaging in full color. Marketing executives are seeking techniques to improve customer loyalty and grow their businesses with more engaging and dynamic communications. It’s time for service providers to have the right conversations with customers and help them get noticed!


For more information on InfoTrends’ 2016 State of the Market Study on Customer Engagement Technologies or InfoTrends’ Direct Marketing Production Printing & Value-Added Services study, please contact Keith LaVangie at (781)616-2132 or keith.lavangie@infotrends.com.

2016 InfoTrends, Inc.

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