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B2-Format HP Indigo Steals the Show

April 2012
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(This article is a greatly expanded verion of the Digital Digest item that appeared on page 36 of the April 2012 edition of Printing Impressions magazine.)

TEL AVIV, ISRAEL—When the Indigo E-Print 1000 was introduced almost two decades ago as a new digital printing platform, the first question asked by most people was, “When is a larger version going to be available?” If for no other reason, it’s impossible not to see the introduction of the 29˝ HP Indigo 10000 digital press as the big news from HP’s recent pre-drupa briefing, even though by its count the company launched 10 “new” digital printing systems.

One of the development goals reportedly was to make this digital press offset-like in production, which is part of the reason why the long side of the 29.5x20.9˝ maximum sheet size is fed into the imaging unit. Another factor was that the wider imaging system provides a platform to address other markets, starting with the HP Indigo 20000 continuous-feed (29˝ wide with 21.6˝ to 44˝ repeats) model designed for flexible packaging and the HP Indigo 30000 sheetfed (29.5x20.9˝) press for folding cartons, supporting substrates up to 24 pt.

Set for commercial release in 2013 with a likely price range of $1.2 to $1.5 million, the up to seven-color HP Indigo 10000 has a maximum 1,219-dpi resolution and handles coated and uncoated stocks from 45-lb. text up to 150-lb. cover. It prints in four-color at 3,450 sph, or 1,725 sph with the built-in duplexing, and Enhanced Productivity Mode (EPM) boosts its maximum output to 4,600 sph.

EPM, which is also the cornerstone of the HP Indigo 5600, 7600 and W7250 press model updates, uses just the cyan, magenta and yellow IndiChrome inks to simulate four-color printing. HP contends that its three-color printing can be “good enough” for a large portion of color work because of the presses’ ability to precisely control dot placement. That is said to even produce crisp black text, while reducing clicks per sheet by 25 percent and boosting productivity by 33 percent.

If four-color pages are being printed at 120 pages/minute, for example, that means the press is actually completing 480 impressions (4 x 120). Since EPM only uses three colors, that means a total of 160 color pages (480 ÷ 3) can be output per minute, or 33 percent more (160 − 120 = 40; 40 ÷ 120 = 33 percent).

Another offset-like feature of the HP Indigo 10000 is a pallet feeder supporting a 33.4˝ pile height, supplemented by two media drawers that come standard and two more that can be added as an option. The grippers are said to be more sophisticated that their offset press equivalent to support the different prints speeds required for printing in various numbers of colors. “Tornado” vacuum systems separate the sheets, with a double-sheet sensor backing them up.

The print engine has the same basic architecture as existing models, but the drums were made proportionally larger and replacement of both the blanket and Photo Imaging Plate (PIP) are automated operations with these three larger models. Using an embedded spectrophotometer, registration cameras and vision system, the Quality Automation Suite is said to make it easier to maintain maximum print quality.

HP solution partners Horizon (SmartStacker B2-format cutter/slitter/stacker system) and MBO (K-800 signature folder) will be among those vendors providing new solutions for in- and near-line finishing with the HP Indigo 10000. New workflow solutions include HP SmartStream Production Center for managing large job volumes and updated versions of HP SmartStream Production Pro DFE and HP SmartStream Director.

HP Indigo Press Model Upgrades

The new flagship HP Indigo 7600 model offers a top speed of 160 ppm in EPM, along with innovations such as automated print defect detection in real time, light black ink for improved monochrome photo images, and on-press special effects—including watermarking, raised print and dimensional printing that simulates embossing. Those effects require additional impressions (which reduces the print speed) and monochrome clicks (up to 50 layers/revolutions for dimensional printing). The HP Indigo will be commercially available at drupa.

An enhanced version of the HP Indigo 5500, the HP Indigo 5600 has a higher top speed of 90 ppm in EPM, features “one-shot” mode for printing on synthetic substrates, introduces UV red invisible ink for security-printing applications, and offers a white ink option. It is already commercially available

The HP Indigo W7250 is intended for high-volume publishing applications with a top speed of 320 ppm in EPM and 960 ppm for monochrome printing. It is based on the W7000 but features a new print engine that is said to be more reliable and offer enhanced color consistency. It will be available at drupa.

Most of the new features of these models will be available as upgrades for the installed base of existing HP Indigo models and they replace the HP Indigo 7500, 5500 and W7000 models.

Three New Inkjet Web Press Models

Among the other product launches were three higher speed HP Inkjet Web Press models—T230, T360 and T410—featuring advanced ink and printhead technology that produces a rounder dot and more consistent quality.

The 42˝ HP T410 and 30˝ T360 print in monochrome at a top speed of 800 fpm, up to 25 percent faster than previous models, and retain the 600-fpm maximum color print speed.  They are expected to be available this fall as new systems or as upgrades from the HP T400 and HP T350, respectively.

The HP T230 offers an increased print speed of up to 400 fpm in color (and monochrome). It is expected to be available by the end of 2012, and will be offered as an upgrade from the HP T200 press.   

Solution partners also introduced new media for the HP Inkjet Web Press models, such as Utopia Inkjet gloss media from Appleton Coated, and ColorPRO papers will now include inkjet coated papers from Sappi and Appleton. Muller Martini will demonstrate a new 42˝ SigmaLine inline digital book production system at drupa, featuring increased operating speed to match the higher speed of the new HP Inkjet Web Press models. Other introductions include new in-line finishing solutions, such as the first aqueous and UV coater for the HP T300 series from Epic Products, the DocuVision 8600 web inspection system from Videk Inc., the Chameleon DP 42 dynamic perforation system from EMT International, a zero-speed splicer and turret rewinder from MEGTEC Systems and the RFDi Web Moisturizer from WEKO.
Finally, the color or monochrome inkjet imprinting HP Print Module Solutions image at up to 800 fpm and 600 dpi. From one up to five of the thermal print heads can be stitched together for a maximum 20˝ print width. The modules support simplex or duplex printing.

In addition, the company introduced the HP Scitex FB7500/FB7600 White Ink Kit for the wide-format flatbed inkjet printers and the HP SmartStream Production Analyzer, a cloud-based solution for data analysis and operations monitoring of large-format printers.

Summing up its success to date in the worldwide market, HP reported it has now installed more than 60 HP Inkjet Web presses, more than 6,000 HP Indigo presses and more than 10,000 HP Latex systems. PI

Bob Neubauer, editor of PI’s sister publication In-plant Graphics, also attended the HP pre-drupa briefing and shot video of the event and Jerusalem tour. Here’s the first installment of the video he shot:


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