HP Announces the Latex R1000 – The Latest Addition to The Latex R Series

Steve Urmano
 Jul 12, 2018

On July 9th HP announced an expansion to its newly released R Series of latex printers, the R1000 Printer. Like the previously released R2000, the R1000 is designed for printing on a number of both rigid and flexible substrates including foamboards, PVC cardboard, fluted polypropylene, solid plastics, aluminum, wood, and glass. Like the R2000, which Keypoint Intelligence reported on when it was first announced, the R1000 is designed for a variety of applications within the sign & display and decorative printing industry segments.

HP Latex R1000 Printer

R1000 Key Specifications

While the HP Latex R2000 focuses on larger PSPs, HP explained in it’s latest press release that the R1000 is designed to be an ideal solution for smaller companies:

“The current portfolio includes the HP Latex R2000 Printer, designed for large-signage printer service providers (PSP’s) who require workflow efficiency and sustained production. With the debut of the HP Latex R1000 Printer, HP is adding depth to offer maximum value in one device. Designed for growing businesses with investment and space constraints, the versatile printer offers a single set of inks for a wide range of flexible and rigid media including applications for retail, outdoor signage, window graphics, events and exhibitions, and decorations.

The new printer comes with three liter-ink cartridges, compared to the larger model with five liters, and is designed to accommodate materials up to 1.64 meters/64 inches wide and up to 5 cm/2-inches thick while the R2000 prints up to 2.5-meters/98-inches wide and up to 5-cm/2-inches thick.”

Additional specifications for the R1000 have been released on HP’s website. Most notable are the smaller footprint (the R1000 measures in at 166 x 143 x 69 in), and productivity of up to 57 m² per hour (614 ft² per hour). The R1000 will also feature the HP Latex White Ink and Overcoat that are used on the R2000.

HP Latex R Series Print Samples (Taken at Print4All 2018)

Analyst Comments

While Latex grew very quickly in the Roll to Roll product segment drastically offsetting solvent sales mainly in NA and EMEA markets over the past several years, we’ll be keeping a keen eye on the impact it will have in the UV Hybrid arena. There are several market conditions that need to be overcome. HP has done well in the low end of the market due to both price point and marketing strength. The UV Hybrid and Roll Markets have already grown double digits the last several years and have already drastically offset and penetrated the solvent arena and this is a very crowded vendor space.

There is a very wide range of low-priced Chinese machines on the market priced below $100K. The Latex R1000 & R2000 1.6 – 3.2 M Wide Format Hybrids come in on the higher end of the price spectrum in a market that has become flooded with lower cost LED UV Hybrids & Flatbeds. In the US, Mimaki, Mutoh, CET, Vanguard, and others have been servicing this segment, so pricing and product performance will be a key issue for market entry.

Time will tell if HP’s marketing machine will be able to overcome these hurdles. However, Keypoint Intelligence sees the potential in Latex with the higher performance R ink-set. It appears to have a whiter white, and lay flatter than UV inks which tend to have a thicker ink deposition. The battle for the durables continues with the domination of ink technology playing a key role.

 

 

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 »

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.

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