Wide-format Output--The Bigger Picture
Hewlett-Packard's timeline on wide-format stretches back to 1991, when HP introduced its first large-format plotter based on ink-jet technology. The HP DesignJet line of ink-jet plotters experienced success in the CAD industry—paving the way for new large-format printing movements for Hewlett-Packard in other markets. In September of 1995, Hewlett-Packard introduced DesignJet 2500CP/2000CP, suited for design professionals, offering output at 600 dpi.
In April of 1997, the 54˝ DesignJet 3500CP/3000CP, featuring HP's large-capacity system, PostScript Level 3 and dye-based or UV-resistant pigmented inks, hit the graphic arts market. The DesignJet 3000CP ships ready to be integrated with an external RIP. It has 12MB of RAM, upgradeable to 68MB, and can be used with HP-developed drivers for auto-CAD and Microsoft Windows. The HP DesignJet 3500CP offers a plug-and-play solution, with built-in Adobe PostScript 3 RIP, PostScript drivers for Windows and Macintosh, as well as a pre-installed HP Jet-Direct card for easy connection to a network, PC or Macintosh. The device features 36MB of standard RAM, which is upgradeable to 68MB. The DesignJet 3500CP can also be used with a third-party RIP as needed.
New from Xerox ColorgrafX is the ColorgrafX 54e digital color large-format printer, enhanced with a full-screen graphic user interface (GUI) to enable ease-of-use and print consistency. Xerox pioneered the large-format digital color printing market with the introduction of the first series of large-format color printers in 1983.
Announced in March, the ColorgrafX 54e is 50 percent faster than previous Xerox models and produces large or multiple 54˝ print jobs at 300 dpi, at speeds as fast as 600 square feet per hour. The intuitive GUI lets operators check, at a glance, critical printer conditions and supplies levels, as well as easily change performance settings with a standard computer mouse.
ColorgrafX 54e uses a four-color, multi-pass electrostatic printing process, relying on a data interface that is anchored on Ethernet 100BaseT. The device includes an automatic sensing system that replenishes inks as needed with clear liquid dispersant and ink concentrate. Automatic stirrers maintain an even mixture of ink components.