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DIGITAL digest 8-01

August 2001

Printer Company Presses Forward

PALO ALTO, CA—Hewlett-Packard Co. recently marked its entry into the commercial printing market with the launch of its HP Digital Press 6600. The four-color (expandable to six) digital sheetfed press is the first fruit borne of HP's $100 million investment in Indigo N.V. and is based on Indigo's first-series print engine.

The HP 6600 employs a liquid electrophotographic offset printing process to produce up to 4,000 iph in four-color. It prints a two-up (12.6x18.2˝) sheet format at a 800x800 dpi resolution, which is upgradeable to 800x2,400 dpi.

One of the ways HP is adding value to the press is by re-engineering the inking system, including boosting the capacity by 20 percent, notes Kennard S. Cloud, director of product marketing for Commercial Print Products. Users will be able to get ink directly from HP, which initially will offer 10 special colors in addition to CMYK. The company also will offer its own branded transparency material. For other applications, substrates qualified for the Indigo press should be suitable for this machine, as well, but HP is putting together its own list.

The printer manufacturer is further adding value by extending the capabilities of the embedded front end, which currently is being offered in one standard configuration, according to Cloud. Web Submission Manager, for example, is a PDF-based solution for submitting/accepting jobs via the Internet. Prepress Designer is a tool for creating variable-data jobs. The front end has also been enhanced to facilitate processing of Microsoft application files, such as PowerPoint and Word documents.

The Digital Press 6600 is being integrated into the manufacturer's printer family and capitalizes on its color expertise to enable output consistency across products. This is accomplished by implementing the SRGB color space, but in such a way as not to restrict the color gamut of a given device. The goal is to drive each engine at its full imaging potential, Cloud says.

The base model's estimated price is said to be under $200,000. HP is developing a direct sales force to market the press to the print-for-pay industry segment. It also plans to offer consulting services to help users capitalize on the technology. (www.hp.com)
 

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