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DIGITAL digest

June 2007
When in Rome. . .Do as the Printers

ROME—There’s been a marked increase in the number of vendor-specific industry events—mini trade shows, open houses and road shows—held in recent years. They provide stages (some even international) for new product introductions and briefings on how these companies see the state of affairs.

HP recently brought hundreds of customers, press people and analysts from around the world to Rome during the run of its 2007 Graphic Arts Summit. Highlights included the introduction of two new seven-color HP Indigo press models (5500 and 3500), a near-line UV coater and a large-format printer targeted to print service providers (PSPs).

The company is bringing together all of its assets—including IT and printing expertise—to drive the digital printing market, reported Stephen Nigro, senior vice president of HP’s IPG Graphics and Imaging Business. It is projecting the volume of pages printed on HP Indigo presses to grow by 40 percent in 2007, he added.

Among the formal presentations was a customer panel that included representatives from three shops that beta tested the HP Indigo press 5500. The panelists agreed that the new model’s enhanced print quality, including the light cyan and light magenta printing (CMYKcm) mode, can be a selling point with clients. All reported achieving digital sales growth rates of 20 percent or better this year.

Digital press life cylces was an interesting point that came up during the discussion. Kevin Despain, CEO of Rastar in Salt Lake City, noted that the company ended up running the original Indigo presses it purchased for nearly 10 years before replacing them. Jon Bailey, sales director at U.K.-based ProCo Print, added that his shop had expected to replace its model 3000s after two or three years, but they are still running like new after five years.

In Pursuit of Productivity

HP sought to increase the quality, productivity and profitability of its flagship model by introducing the 5500 as replacement for the 5000, according to Alon Bar-Shany, vice president and general manager of HP’s Indigo Division.

High-definition dot placement technology increases the maximum output resolution to 1,200 dpi (with 2,400 dpi addressability), and a linework thinning function improves the reproduction of micro text and barcodes. Color quality is enhanced by the introduction of CMYKcm printing (and optional Photo Enhancement Server) and DreamColor color control.

Productivity enhancements include a new four-drawer (up from three) feeder, which handles 13x19˝ sheets in a wider range of substrates, and fast ink replacement system that enables extra ink colors to be changed while the press continues to print in CMYK mode. Along with coated media from 55-lb. text to 130-lb. cover, the HP Indigo press 5500 can run many standard (untreated) offset uncoated papers in weights from 40-lb. text to 120-lb. cover.
 

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