HP Launches 10 New Systems at Israel Event
With drupa 2012 just around the corner, Hewlett-Packard was looking for an intriguing way to introduce its next generation of digital printing systems—something that would stand out a bit from what other vendors were doing. So last month, the Palo Alto, Calif.-based company brought more than 100 graphic arts journalists from all over the world to Israel, home of its Indigo and Scitex divisions. Against this fascinating backdrop of history and diversity, HP unveiled 10 new digital systems, hoping to make some history of its own.
But HP didn't just talk about the equipment, it transported the journalists to its manufacturing and testing facilities for close-up looks at the technology and chats with the product managers. Journalists examined innovative printed pieces, heard from customers and watched the new machines in action. Then, to make sure the three-day event was memorable for years to come, HP led attendees on a fascinating tour of Jerusalem's ancient sites.
Though the timing of the event, in the midst of a tense standoff between Israel and Iran, was less than ideal, the tours and press conferences went off smoothly—despite Palestinian rocket attacks on Gaza that forced the postponement of a tour of the Kiryat Gat HP Indigo manufacturing facility. Still, HP packed a lot of activities into the three-day event.
HP kicked off the event (which it titled "Making History. Now.") with a press conference in Tel Aviv. There, Chris Morgan, senior vice president of HP's Graphics Solutions Business, announced the next-generation Indigo platform, featuring 33 percent higher productivity, as well as significant productivity improvements on HP inkjet web presses. He noted that printers who have already invested in digital equipment will move far ahead of their competitors.
"We see digital becoming an imperative to the print service provider community," he declared.
HP, Morgan stressed, has a philosophy of never introducing products at shows unless they are ready for the market, so the 10 new systems will all be ready for sale within months of their launch at drupa. They are:
- The HP Indigo 5600 (an enhanced version of the 5500), which has a 90-ppm speed in Enhanced Productivity Mode (EPM), uses invisible ink for security applications, and features an optional "one-shot" mode for printing on synthetic substrates. EPM is a new HP process that uses only cyan, magenta and yellow to produce results that look like four-color printing at speeds that are reportedly 33 percent faster.
- The HP Indigo 7600 (replacing the 7500), which prints 160 ppm in EPM and allows on-press effects like digital watermarking for document security, raised print and a textured effect that simulates embossing.
- The HP Indigo W7250 (replacing the W7200), with speeds up to 320 ppm in EPM for dedicated high-volume publishing applications. (HP noted that the enhancements on these three presses are field upgradable for existing HP Indigo 5500, 7500 and 7000 presses, to protect customers' investments.)
- The HP Indigo 10000, reportedly the first offset-quality digital press in a B2-size format (29.5x20.9˝). Probably the biggest news of the event, the seven-color digital press prints 3,450 sheets per hour (4,600 sph in EPM) and features auto duplexing, registration cameras and an inline spectrophotometer.
- The HP Indigo 20000 Digital Press, a continuous-feed press designed for flexible packaging; and the 30000 Digital Press, a sheetfed press designed for folding cartons.
- The new HP T410 and T360 Inkjet Web Press systems, which boast increased print speeds of up to 800 feet per minute in monochrome (25 percent faster than previous models) and color print speeds of up to 600 fpm. Advanced inkjet print head technology and nanotechnology pigment inks support these higher speeds.
- The HP T230 Inkjet Web Press, using new print heads and inks to increase print speeds up to 400 fpm for both color and monochrome.
- HP Print Module Solutions, for adding color images, graphics and variable data to preprinted documents at 800 fpm.
B2 Format Causes a Stir
The B2 format of the HP Indigo 10000 drew lots of attention from journalists, several of whom applauded and rushed forward to snap photos of a sample sheet held up by Alon Bar-Shany, VP and GM of HP's Indigo Division.
"B2 opens up a lot of applications," said Bar-Shany to the crowd of journalists. "It enables pocket folders and posters, and book covers and a lot of applications that today you cannot do on digital."
Journalists spent two days visiting the HP Indigo facility in Nes Ziona for a close-up look at some of the newly announced machines, now in the final stages of development. Product managers demonstrated the presses for groups of journalists and showed off applications.
Available next year, the HP Indigo 10000 supports monthly production volumes of up to two million sheets. It can handle media in the 75-450 micron/3-18 points thickness range. For finishing, HP has partnered with Horizon, which developed SmartStacker, a B2-format cutter/slitter/stacker system that can work in-line or near-line, and MBO, which integrated its K-800 signature folder with the 10000 for in-line and near-line operation.
At the plant, product manager Lilach Aviad pointed out several less technical enhancements on the 10000, like a new platform at the base of the machine allowing operators of all heights to more easily reach the press components, and the increased size of ink canisters, as well as an increased concentration of ink inside them.
"All the new consumables—the cartridge, the packages—are all designed from 100 percent recyclable material," she noted.
Advancements to 5500 Press
The new HP Indigo 5600 builds on the strengths of Indigo's best-selling 5500 press, which has certainly been a hit among in-plants. A new red-fluorescing invisible ink lets printers pursue security-printing applications, such as ID cards, tickets and high-value coupons. A white ink option and upgraded media sensors allow full-color printing on black and transparent substrates. And the optional "One Shot" printing mode opens new markets in split-core cards, graphic overlays and other applications printed on Teslin, PVC, PET and other synthetic substrates.
On the last day of the event, journalists visited the HP Scitex plant in Netanya to hear about new developments in large-format industrial presses. Visitors watched the new HP Scitex FB7600 White Ink Kit in action, printing on a clear substrate, and got a demo of the cloud-based HP SmartStream Production Analyzer, which monitors, tracks and benchmarks production performance. IPG
Bob has served as editor of In-plant Graphics since October of 1994. Prior to that he served for three years as managing editor of Printing Impressions, a commercial printing publication. Mr. Neubauer is very active in the U.S. in-plant industry. He attends all the major in-plant conferences and has visited more than 130 in-plant operations around the world. He has given presentations to numerous in-plant groups in the U.S., Canada and Australia, including the Association of College and University Printers and the In-plant Printing and Mailing Association. He also coordinates the annual In-Print contest, cosponsored by IPMA and In-plant Graphics.