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.
The new entry-level HP Indigo press 3500 features adjustment-free paper handling and enhanced color management, including Pantone emulations and ICC profiling. It can be driven by the built-in Production Manager DFE or the new Production Stream Server Version 1.2, powered by Creo, that also can drive the 5500.
On the finishing end, HP is looking to step into the market only where it can “create competitive advantage,” Bar-Shany said, and not to replace third-party solutions. Its first branded product, the HP Indigo UV Coater, is set for release this fall. The machine is designed for flood coating of gloss, matte and satin finishes in a near-line operation to enable support of multiple presses.
The HP Designjet Z6100 large-format (42˝ and 60˝ models) printer is an eight-color, thermal ink-jet unit that uses HP Vivera pigment inks to support indoor and short term outdoor applications. An embedded spectrophotometer and optical media sensor maintain image quality at the device’s higher maximum print speed—720 square feet per hour on coated paper. The printer has a 2,400x1,200 dpi maximum resolution and incorporates DreamColor color management technology for printing consistency.
DreamColor is said to make the output from HP printing systems look alike, but not “match” because their color gamuts are different, explained Johan Lammens, HP’s senior color scientist. Matching requires printing to the lowest common denominator and sacrificing color gamut in some cases, he said. This technology is designed to improve color accuracy and predictability by “re-rendering” it to take full advantage of the color capability of a given device.
Also worth noting is the new HP mPrinter 1700c thermal ink-jet head introduced for the OEM market. The company says this is its first process color (CMY) ink-jet offering, capable of outputting variable text and graphics at up to 300 fpm with a 600 dpi maximum resolution.
PODi Rolls Out Seminars, New Applications Collection
ROCHESTER, NY—PODi, the Digital Printing Initiative, has launched a series of Solution Selling seminars and released the 2007 edition of its “Best Practices in Digital Print” case studies collection.
Each day-long event features two sessions presented by Kate Dunn of the Digital Innovations Group, which specializes in targeted sales campaigns and collateral.
The morning program—“Selling Digital Printing: Transitioning from Order Taker to Solution Provider”—is targeted to all levels of sales experience. Topics of discussion will include how to reach decision makers, conduct effective meetings with C-level decision makers and close more sales opportunities.
“Hiring, Compensating and Managing a Digital Sales Force,” the afternoon session, is geared to owners, top executives and sales managers. Attendees will learn the characteristics of a successful sales professional, how to find and attract the best sales people, and strategies for transitioning a sales force to solution selling. The agenda also includes an in-depth review of actual sales compensation models.
Seminar sponsors include Hewlett-Packard, Adobe Systems, IKON, Ricoh Americas, Mohawk Fine Papers, Bitstream Inc. (Pageflex) and Printing Impressions magazine.
The remaining eight stops on the schedule include Dallas (June 12); San Francisco (June 13); Long Beach, CA (September 18); Minneapolis (September 20); Atlanta (October 2); Philadelphia (October 3); Boston (October 4); and New York City (November 7). Registration for each half-day seminar is $125 for PODi or PIA/GATF members and $200 for all others. To register, or for more information, visit www.podi.org.
PODi’s “2007 Best Practices in Digital Print” applications collection includes 52 new case studies and covers 11 vertical markets. Each report outlines the objectives and results of the program, and details about the implementations.
ROCHESTER, NY—To complement its HP Indigo press digital printing capabilities, Express Press has installed a Duplo DSF-2000 sheet feeder and a Morgana Digifold creasing and folding system.
PITTSBURGH—Brad Lena has joined PIA/GATF as its primary consultant for digital and variable data printing. He is available to advise printers on issues from developing a business strategy and client development to print production and mailing issues. Lena has more than 25 years of experience in the graphic arts and advertising industries, most recently having been director of new business development for Daniels Graphics.