Jun 14, 2016
After digesting a week of meetings at drupa 2016 (May 31st to June 10th, Düsseldorf, Germany) along with plenty of good German food and beer, the InfoTrends analyst team believes the show can be characterized by five major themes:
- Inkjet 3.0 –After important advances in production inkjet printing at drupa 2008 and 2012, this drupa can be considered “inkjet drupa 3.0” because of new and improved print heads, higher quality levels, wide printhead arrays, improved performance on a range of substrates, and expansion across a range of document, packaging, and decorative applications. These developments have brought digital printing into the mainstream. All of the leading offset press manufacturers are now committed to a digital print strategy, and though for some there is an important component that is based on electrophotography, it is the high productivity levels of inkjet that have convinced them that there is a place for digital print in production environments.
- Digital printing of packaging – Though digital printing of packaging is certainly being influenced by inkjet, the major theme in this area is process automation. Digital printing, digital embellishment, and digital die-cutting were seen integrated across many production lines for labels, folding cartons, corrugated packaging, and even some direct-to-shape applications. Despite its commercial print heritage, drupa is morphing into a show with a significant package printing component. Meeting the needs of different segments of the packaging market is a challenge that requires effective software, workflow, and finishing if the true advantages of digital print for the entire supply chain are to be gained. It’s not clear today that digital printing system vendors have fully grasped the magnitude of this.
- B1 digital – Many commercial printers have an almost emotional attachment to the B1-format press platform that has served them so well for offset printing. The new generation of B1-format digital printing devices appeals to them because they can see how they would fit easily into their production lines with minimal disruption (despite the fact that smaller digital devices might be just as efficient and/or cost effective). drupa 2016 saw the arrival of larger format digital cut-sheet color printing systems as well as off-line systems for special effects such as spot gloss, dimensional effects, and metallic foils. The progress in B1 sheet-fed design is facilitated by wider inkjet arrays that benefit from the latest advances in inkjet head technology. The challenge for any of these larger format digital printing devices is to meet the production requirements for quality, consistency, substrate support, and color registration while performing at high speed. Also important is integration of finishing technologies that leverage the benefits of digital print. Therefore laser cutting and creasing, particularly for folding carton applications, is also advancing, and for some of these devices the focus is on a B1 sheet size. For the off-line digital devices used for special effects, the B1 sheet size opens up sizeable opportunities because these systems are capable of supporting conventional presses as well as digital printers.
- Special effects – Offset print processes have typically excelled at special effects beyond process color such as spot gloss, flood coats, foils, and corporate color matching. This kind of embellishment is now accelerating for digital print. Electrophotographic devices are using effects like printed metallic, dimensional, clear gloss, spot colors, fluorescent, security and other embellishments to differentiate the printed products and provide added value. Inkjet, particularly with ultraviolet (UV) curing inks, is extending this with some eye-popping results that leverage dimensional clear and metallic foil. The use of hybrid configurations, including those that leverage electrophotography and inkjet together, will have compelling applications in commercial and packaging markets. Many of the off-line special effect solutions, as noted above, are able to support larger format conventional sheet sizes, which opens their market impact significantly.
- Industry 4.0 – For many years, system providers have talked about how production data can be used to drive operational excellence and even facilitate predictive service calls. Cloud-enabled production data tracking is now making this type of data-driven production a reality, not only for commercial and packaging applications, but for decorative and industrial ones as well. Today these tend to focus on a single vendor platform (rather than a true heterogeneous ecosystem). Despite these limitations there are still many benefits, such as performance benchmarking across peers with similar equipment. This also elevates the importance of automated workflows that make it easy for production managers to assess and react to their production site(s) based on real-time data. Taking this even further, InfoTrends expects to see semi-autonomous print production and robotic automation culminate in what has been described as “Industry 4.0,” in other words the foundation of a fourth industrial revolution that is based upon automation and data exchange in manufacturing technologies, similar as what has happened in the car industry.
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Apr 27, 2016
I attended the recent Dscoop Americas event in San Antonio and was struck by a few trends:
- Value-added special effects – One of the fascinating things that HP did in its Dscoop exhibit floor space was to display some special effects that its R&D labs are working on which may or may not be implemented someday on the Indigo platform through the use of the fifth, sixth, or seventh imaging stations. The intent of showing these was to get feedback from attendees on the concepts, each of which provides some value-added feature. The concepts included fluorescents, phosphorescents (glow in the dark), thermochromic, silver, scented, adhesive, glitter, chameleon, lenticular, expanding, gloss, invisible, and taggant. Attendees could vote on which effects they were most interested in. For those who want something now, HP has recently introduced a new more opaque white for Indigo. This white will require fewer hits to get the desired opacity. Speaking of value-added special effects, Scodix showed some beautiful examples combining dimensional and foil. (For more on Scodix, see the InfoTrends blog entitled “Pre-drupa: Israel’s Scodix Rolls Out Speedy, B1-Sized Digital Enhancement System.” For more on HP’s Indigo news, see the InfoTrends blog entitled “HP at drupa 2016: Re-Imagining Production Digital Printing.”)
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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 Holds Up High-quality Canvas HP Indigo Print
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Sep 28, 2015
I’ve recorded eight short videos (each is between two and five minutes long) that highlight some interesting print samples from Graph Expo 2015:
I hope you enjoy these. I’ll be adding some more Read more »
Nov 24, 2014
HP’s Graphic Arts division demonstrated its ongoing commitment to the future of digital printing for packaging applications by announcing a partnership with Kama, a major manufacturer of finishing automation.. The announcement came a part of a recent open house that Kama held at its Dresden, Germany headquarters; also at that event, Kama, a 120-year-old manufacturer of automatic die cutters, hot foil stamping systems, and folder-gluers, revealed its collaboration with HP Indigo to launch a prototype of the FlexFold 52, a folder-gluer that will become commercially available in Q2 2015. During his introduction, Kama CEO Marcus Tralau proclaimed that “packaging is coming home” to Germany with this new technology introduction.
The FlexFold 52 offers automatic setup for rapid changeovers from one job to the next, making it ideal for producing short runs of folding cartons. Setup is handled via JDF and JMF commands, and the device can automatically adjust the length and width of the folding elements before gluing them together at a speed of 200 meters per minute with nearly whisper-quiet operation. Developed in collaboration with HP Indigo’s team, the system complements the capabilities of the HP Indigo 30000 printing system when producing folding carton applications.
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May 20, 2014
Hewlett Packard had a big stand at the May 2014 Interpack show in Germany, and used this once-every-three-years trade fair to highlight its far-ranging approach to the packaging market. HP’s exhibit had lots to offer, from production level color printing of flexible packaging, to corrugated displays and cartons, and even to monochrome inkjet package coding.
All this came in the midst of a German show where HP Indigo was something of an outlier exhibitor. Read more »
Dec 10, 2013
Though inkjet has been a hot topic since 2008 (remember the ‘inkjet’ drupa?), it is hard to underestimate the continuing impact inkjet is having across all areas of the graphic arts. I think 2013 marks an interesting turning point. Inkjet is everywhere from document printing to labels & packaging to decorative to functional and 3D printing.
Gartner Hype Cycle
3D printing had to be one of the most talked about topics of 2013 and jetting technologies are the key behind many 3D printing implementations (though in this case they are jetting materials rather than inks). That being said, in my opinion 3D printing has reached what Gartner likes to call the ‘Peak of Inflated Expectations’ and others have described as ‘Irrational Exuberance.’ The way some people talk about 3D printing you’d think that before long you’ll be 3D printing your beer complete with the bottle (with a label on the outside and a cap on top).
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Feb 18, 2013
This month InfoTrends’ on-line research will include an important addition – the Ultimate Guide to color digital label and packaging (CDLP) presses. The Ultimate Guide Online is a series of databases utilized by print and marketing service providers, as well as industry suppliers, to compare hardware and software solutions. The new Ultimate Guide to CDLP joins the established Ultimate Guides for Roll-Fed Devices, Cut-Sheet Devices, and various software guides, such as Enterprise TransPromo, Multi-Channel Communications, Variable Data Publishing, Web-to-Print solutions, and Print MIS.
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Oct 4, 2012
These are the three devices that replicate paper-based documents in quantity: copier, printer, and press.
The difference between a copier and a printer is that the copier requires a hard copy original and the printer requires an electronic file. My guess is that very few, if any, copiers are manufactured any more. The light lens system has been replaced with a scanning system connected to a printer. A Multi Function Printer (MFP) is called that because it can copy, scan, print, and fax. Old habits die hard so they are still called copiers; although, most are really MFPs.
Printers evolved from Read more »
Apr 18, 2012
I could be wrong. After all, the show doesn’t start forÂ two weeks, but I think these will be the top stories at drupa:
- Benny Landa — Whether Landa Labs shows market-ready products or early tech demos doesn’t really matter. This will be a drupa remembered for the show that Benny Landa put on. Is it ready for prime time? We won’t know until May. One mystery that should be solved by then is why their press releases refer to “ink ejectors” rather than inkjet heads (like every other inkjet system vendor does). Could it be that they are doing something different than using inkjet heads to apply ink to paper? Wait and see. Read more »