Wider, Faster, Better...HP Rolls Out New Inkjet Domination Tool
O’Neil on the technology curve
O’Neil Data Systems publishes a wide range of financial information as well as a host of member support materials for health insurers and other organizations. Jim Lucanish, president, sees the new machines as almost tailor-made for the volume of print the company sees. A few years ago, as he tells it, this work was done on a farm of 34 cut-sheet EP printers. They gave way to continuous-feed EP systems, which still had trouble keeping up with the burgeoning demand for printed pages from ODS’ customers. Enter inkjet.
Lucanish is a visionary who sees ink jet technology as the key to his company’s future success and growth. His vision has led to a unique partnership with HP in which O’Neil works with HP on the development of inkjet presses. This gives HP day-to-day, real-world experience with live jobs on the T-series machines while giving ODS an advantage in the market with better access to emerging technologies.
Something over two years into the relationship, Lucanish sees a day when inkjet will be how most documents his company produces are printed. In fact, the company is opening a new, entirely digital facility in Plano, TX. The flagship presses there will be HP T400s to meet the high-volume demands of ODS’ customers.
This relationship has given both HP and O’Neil deep experience with the technology. One of the big questions with high-speed inkjet performance is print head life. Even HP admits having some uncertainty about how well its thermal heads would hold up in the production environment of real jobs, SLAs and narrow print windows.
It turns out, the heads do just fine. Of the 140 heads on the first T300 press installed at ODS in mid-2009, half the heads were still working a year later. Eighteen months out, 44 heads were still going and now—some two years out—41 of the original heads are still firing. In practical terms, according to ODS press operators, it works out to about one head being replaced each day in O’Neil’s three-shift operation. Replacement takes less than five minutes and the head is automatically calibrated to ensure proper alignment. Heads it seems, have turned out to be a non-issue.