Getting B2-Format Digital Right

Jim Hamilton
Mar 13, 2012

There are more and more indications that drupa 2012 may be the “B2 Digital” drupa. The announcement today of the HP Indigo 10000 Digital Press supports this contention. It’s the first B2-format digital device that I have seen up close that meets three key requirements:

  • Duplex printing
  • Multiple paper sources
  • In-line finishing
HP Indigo 10000

HP Indigo 10000

The HP Indigo 10000 duplexes, it has three paper sources (a sizeable palette and two 7,500-sheet paper drawers), and it can be connected to in-line finishing. At an estimated base price of around $1.5 million it’s a little pricey, but HP has definitely done its homework. The few currently available B2-format digital printers look too much like offset presses and lack two or more of these key features, which are typical of all successful cut-sheet digital print devices to date.

The maximum sheet size of the HP Indigo 10000 is 750 by 530 millimeters (29.5” by 20.9”). It runs at 3,450 four-color sheets per hour in standard production mode and can support monthly production volumes of up to two million sheets. It supports media from 75 to 450 microns in thickness (3 to 18 points). It can print up to seven colors and has automated features for replacing blankets and photo imaging plates (PIPs). Sheets are fed long-edge first through the device. Duplexing is automatic and does not slow down overall productivity. The device has an offset stacker and a proof tray. Finishing partners have been lined up to provide slitting/stacking (Horizon’s SmartStacker) and signature creation (MBO’s signature folder). The 10000 and finishing options are expected to be available next year.

The press and analysts gathered at this event in Tel Aviv actually cheered when the news was made public. They crowded around to take pictures of a B2-format sheet as it was shown on stage. They applauded when the presentation was done. This has been a long time coming. Many of the press and analysts recall 2000 when Indigo (prior to its acquisition by HP) showed a B2-format product concept. They’ve been asking about what happened to it ever since. Now it’s back, though I think the 10000 bears little resemblance to that long-ago product concept.

Two other new HP Indigo devices are part of the 10000’s fourth generation Indigo family:

  • The HP Indigo 20000 — A 30” (762 millimeter) wide web-fed digital printer for flexible packaging, the 20000 has a 44” (1,100 millimeter) repeat length. In five color mode (CMYK plus white) the device runs at 88.6 linear feet per minute (27 meters per minute). Alternately, in HP Indigo’s “Enhanced Productivity Mode” (CMY) it runs at 147.6 linear feet per minute (45 meters per minute). It supports substrates from 10 to 250 microns (0.4 to 10 points) in thickness.
  • The HP Indigo 30000 — A cut-sheet device for folding cartons, the 30000 has the same format size and speed as the 10000.

The HP Indigo 20000 and 30000 will have in-line priming and will follow the 10000 to market. Their availability is expect to be late in 2013.

For all of the HP news, check out the HP pre-drupa 2012 event site and follow me on Twitter at jrhinfotrends.

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