HP Unveils Extensive Updates and Introductions for drupa 2020

German Sacristan and Ron Gilboa
Mar 10, 2020

In anticipation of the drupa event that is scheduled to take place in Dusseldorf, Germany this June, HP kicked off its media event with a raft of announcements. These announcements include new additions to HP’s portfolio of commercial digital printing and labels & packaging solutions. With this newest range of updates, HP is clearly focusing on increasing overall productivity with significant improvements to the entire ecosystem, including inks and chemistry, substrates, workflow, finishing, and industry partnerships. These improvements will enable printers to meet current and future customer demands while also bringing value to their customers’ supply chains.

In what was perhaps the most significant announcement because it reveals HP Indigo’s future direction, the company introduced a new platform 6 V12 Digital Press with LEP Architecture. The HP Indigo V12 marks the first time that the firm has launched a new platform series that is not based on its common impression cylinder technology. Instead, this new technology is based on inline imaging systems using a transfer belt for intermediate image transfer. This 340 mm wide printer is targeted toward label applications and designed for mid- to high-volume converters. The new linear architecture for imaging unlocks faster print speeds of up to 120 meters per minute (400 ft/min).

Figure 1: HP Indigo’s V12 Digital Press with LEP Architecture

More information on the V12 Digital Press is provided in the “New Label & Packaging Portfolio” section.

New Commercial Digital Printing Fleet

The latest additions to the HP Indigo commercial press portfolio include 5 devices, which are further described below.

The B2 HP Indigo 100K Digital Press is the first press in HP Indigo’s Series 5. Designed to help commercial offset PSPs transition to on demand digital printing, the HP Indigo 100K is capable of delivering over 1 million B2 duplex sheets per month. This 4-color device produces up to 6,000 sheets per hour in enhanced productivity mode (EPM) 3/0 with what is reported to have the look and feel of offset. Advanced paper handling capabilities are incorporated via a gripper to gripper that is similar to offset architecture for paper transfer. The press also offers enhanced automation with the ability to calibrate and proof one job while printing the previous one. In addition to incorporating Artificial Intelligence (AI) for automatic error detection, the device makes it possible to stack and feed jobs from 5 different paper sources.

Figure 2: HP Indigo’s 100K Digital Press

Based on the HP Indigo 12000, the HP Indigo 15K Digital Press reportedly enables a wider range applications with enhancements in quality, automation, and robustness. Quality enhancements are primarily based on 2 parameters:

  • FM stochastic screening to achieve smoother skin tones, which benefits photo and catalog applications
  • Ripping at 1,600 dpi for more printing detail, which will benefit security printers and others

The 15K Digital Press accommodates a wider range of substrates as well as additional options up to 600 microns (24 pt.). New inks include ElectroInk Premium White and Invisible Yellow. To protect previous customer investments, the HP Indigo 12000 is upgradeable to accommodate the new features of the HP Indigo 15K.

To summarize these two introductions, the 100K is designed for heavier production PSP environments that must run nonstop while the 15K is more focused on premiere PSP environments seeking special capabilities like 7 colors and a larger variety of substrates (including plastics).

The HP Indigo 7K is a 19-inch (SRA3+) digital press that enables a broader range of digital applications with a media compatibility up to 550 microns. It also features special inks such as ElectroInk Silver, high opacity Premium White, Invisible Yellow for security or unique applications, and ElectroInk Easy Release ink for scratch-off applications. The HP Indigo 7000 series can be optionally upgraded to incorporate these new features. One of the key benefits of this device is that it can print heat transfer for textiles and other substrates. HP also emphasized the value of silver Electroink printing capabilities on this device.

The HP Indigo 7eco is an entry-level press with Indigo quality and productivity, offering an economical choice to PSPs that want to expand their digital printing capabilities. Although the 7eco will be able to print 5 colors, it will not be able to combine a 5th color with other specialty colors (e.g., silver with white). 

The HP Indigo 90K web-fed press supports simplex applications including banners, oversized B1 posters, and wallpaper. It also incorporates new and patented algorithms for continuous print.

HP PrintOSX extends HP’s cloud platform by adding educational content and pre-made assets to the Marketplace while also leveraging AI more extensively throughout. HP PrintOSX is using AI for predictive press maintenance through its Predictive Press Care module, but it is also leveraging Microsoft’s Xiaoice AI technology to generate “Mosaic-ready” seed designs that can be downloaded by customers to quickly start customization projects. The other software-related announcement of interest to label and packaging converters was the ability to control and validate spot colors (brand colors) using a closed-loop, in-line automated solution called Spot Master. According to Alon Bar-Shany, General Manager of HP Indigo, the solution uses technology from partner Esko and requires only 3 minutes and 3 meters of material to perform the calibration and validation.

HP also unveiled its PageWide T250 HD, which features HP Brilliant Ink and expanded media options for commercial, publishing, transaction, and direct mail applications. Also available as an upgrade to other devices, the HP PageWide T250HD offers the following advancements:

  • HP Brilliant Ink delivers quality print and eye-catching color with a glossy output. A new CMYK ink set offers an extended gamut that is specifically designed to print with high quality on coated and uncoated offset media with one press.
  • Expanded application range with the digitally printed HP Optimizer provides smooth color gradients and fills by compensating for batch-to-batch mill variation on coated media. For offset uncoated media, it delivers high optical density with reduced show-through.
  • Maintain quality and productivity via a built-in color vision system and color spectrophotometer. HP’s Quality Image Check vision system monitors print quality in real-time and provides performance insights while running the press at to 500 fpm (152 mpm).

New Labels & Packaging Portfolio

In an effort to further facilitate the analog-to-digital conversion, HP has also unveiled its Indigo V12 Digital Press, which is built on HP Indigo LEP architecture. The first of Indigo’s Series 6 platform, this narrow-web label press can print up to 120 linear meters per minute (400 ft/minute). During drupa, the company plans to display 2 units printing 6 colors with 6 online imaging engines running simultaneously.

Other features of the HP Indigo V12 include:

  • An HD Imaging System on press to offer 1,600 dpi resolution
  • The ability to change inks on the fly and create any combination with up to 12 colors on press
  • Label printing of a broad range of substrates, from 12 micron film to 450 micron (18pt) board, as well as support for pressure-sensitive, sleeves, flexible packaging, tubes, IMLs, and more
  • One-pass finishing capabilities from AB Graphic International

Figure 3: New Architecture of HP Indigo’s V12 Label Printer

Whereas the other solutions that HP will be displaying at drupa will be available for purchase sometime this year, the V12 is not expected to become commercially available until 2022.

The drupa portfolio also introduces the new narrow-web HP Indigo 6K and HP Indigo 8K digital presses for labels. TheHP Indigo 6K Digital Press is the new model of the HP Indigo 6000 series. It can deliver more applications using higher opacity white for shrink sleeves, new inks (including silver, fluorescents, and invisible red and green for brand protection applications), and new varnishes from partners for higher durability. The HP Indigo 8K offers increased productivity, reduced waste, and easier transitioning between media types and jobs.

Additionally, the drupa 2020 portfolio significantly extends HP Indigo’s folding carton capabilities, offering enhanced productivity, wider application range and expanded color capabilities. This portfolio includes:

  • The new sheetfed B2 HP Indigo 35K can be used to create high-value folding cartons. It offers Spot Master color automation, faster job changeover, the ability to print on a wider variety of substrates, and new HD printing with 1,600 dpi.
  • The sheetfed B2 HP Indigo 25K Digital Press is designed for flexible packaging and labels. A new slitter for labels supports high-capacity label production and flexible packaging, enabling the creation of a range of new applications. The device features Spot Master color automation, optimized lamination solutions, two white ink stations, frame expansion from 729 mm to 737 mm, and a variety of environmental sustainability credentials.
  • The sheetfed B2 HP Indigo 15K is intended for mixed commercial print and packaging production.
  • The new B1 HP Indigo 90K roll-to-sheet solution features an inline water-based/UV coater and sheeter.

With HP Indigo Secure and partner solutions, converters can provide brand protection solutions using special inks, anti-counterfeiting marks, micro-text fonts, and protected track and trace solutions. Digital embellishment solutions from HP Indigo and partners offer ways to stand out, including the inline KURZ DM-JETLINER digital metallization solution, HP Indigo ElectroInk Silver for metalizing the color gamut, and HP Indigo GEM, a digital print-and-embellish, one-pass solution integrated with the HP Indigo 6K Digital Press.

Spot Master, a new color automation solution, enables converters to reach brand colors within minutes. Spot Master enables converters to deliver high color consistency and uniformity across the entire print frame using a new patented algorithm for accurate color matching. Spot Master will be available for the HP Indigo 35K, HP Indigo 25K, HP Indigo 6K, and HP Indigo 8K presses.

Brand Beat, a new application offered in HP PrintOS, delivers real time color reports directly to converters and brands. PrintOS Production Pro for Indigo Labels and Packaging, featuring HP Indigo’s fastest HP Indigo Raster Image Processor (RIP), is seamlessly integrated with the new Esko Automation Engine for HP Indigo, allowing converters to process more jobs per day.

Availability

The B2 HP Indigo 100 and HP Indigo 15K, HP Indigo 7K, and HP Indigo 7eco for commercial will all be available at drupa or by late summer 2020. Value packs with various upgrade options will enable HP’s existing customer base to obtain these new features and capabilities. The HP PageWide T250 HD will be demonstrated at drupa and will become available later in 2020.

The HP Indigo 6K, HP Indigo 8K, HP Indigo 25K, HP Indigo 35K, and HP Indigo 90K digital presses will be commercially available at drupa or by late summer 2020. As noted earlier, the HP Indigo V12 will be demonstrated at drupa but will not be commercially available until 2022.

The Bottom Line

Once again, HP is establishing its dominance in the graphic arts industry with innovative products that specifically designed to address the needs of PSPs in a variety of industry segments. These new devices will address pressing needs for automation, production efficiency, and increased environmental friendliness.

From a technology perspective, HP is amortizing its investments in inkjet and LEP to further broaden its horizons. These investments will enable the company to effectively compete with emerging competitive technologies and continue innovations in product platforms that facilitate the conversion from analog to digital printing. In the past, HP assisted with this transition in the commercial print, publishing transaction, sign & display, textile, and technical printing markets, Now, the introduction of the HP Indigo V12 will enable the firm to better deliver high speeds, high volumes, and high-quality output. Keypoint Intelligence – InfoTrends will continue to track these announcements and will provide more information as it becomes available, but 2020 is expected to be a big year for HP!

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