Wider, Faster, Better...HP Rolls Out New Inkjet Domination Tool
I’ve been looking at all the vendors’ inkjet print samples fairly often over the past few years. Some keep getting better, others seem to have hit a wall. HP is among the ones that keep getting better. There’s no doubt that squirting water-based ink onto an absorbent surface presents all kinds of challenges. “Spraying water onto a sponge,” is how some at HP describe the process.
HP uses a “bonding agent” that is applied to wherever ink will hit the page, a process that limits the effects of dot gain as ink droplets spread on the paper surface. According to ODS, the bonding agent lets it use regular offset papers on the inkjet presses, which helps control print costs and simplifies inventory supply management. Some pre-treated papers are also available for T-series presses, including coated stocks that are in regular use by textbook publishers.
Image quality on the T-series presses is not offset or photo quality, but there’s still not much to complain about. Text is sufficiently sharp, photos generally look good and illustrations seem fine. Comparing offset and inkjet versions of a textbook or cookbook printed on a T-series press show differences, but as a practical matter they don’t seem to be of significance for the present mix of applications.
It’s a matter of the quality being acceptable or “good enough.” HP has enough experience printing images and text to figure out how to do that and the T-series does fine. And somehow it will probably keep improving. There’s demand, money to be made, other players with their own toys, and drupa is just 15 months away, so the bar will keep getting higher.
To see the T400 in action and view highlights from the event, check out this video featuring commentary by Jim Hamilton, group director at InfoTrends, on his trip to O’Neil Data Systems for the inkjet press introduction.