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Tel Aviv HP press conference – HP Indigo 7000 spearheads drupa campaign

Wednesday, 12 March 2008
By Print 21 Online Article

Next generation Indigo sheetfed and web presses boost HP aspirations to define the commercial digital graphic arts market in terms of quality and productivity.

The top-of-the-range presses took centre stage at this week’s pre-drupa press conference in Tel Aviv, emphasizing HP’s continuing commitment and development of the seminal electro-ink technology created over 15 years ago by Indigo founder, Benny Landa. In an emotional appearance at the Israel press event, Landa, who sold the company to HP in 2000 jokingly referred to himself as the ‘revered’ founder, said he was well pleased with the development of the HP Indigo line. There are now almost 5,000 presses in operation worldwide, while page volumes have grown in excess of 40 per cent every quarter since 2003 and are now a fairly impressive 15 billion impressions every year.

The new presses, part of a major graphic arts equipment rollout by HP, represent a new generation of the leading high-end digital press in technological, economic and performance benchmarks. The HP Indigo 7000, which will be commercially available at drupa in May, is a newly engineered digital press for the high-volume commercial printing market. With speeds of 120 four-colour pages per minute, its target market is commercial printers with volumes in excess of one million sheets per month. Duty cycle is listed as up to 3.5 million pages per month so it has plenty of extra capacity and moves the HP Indigo range up into a new, serious, production-printing bracket.

The professed aim of the new press is to lower the cost of ownership for printers with the necessary volumes, lifting the crossover point where digital remains competitive against offset printing. According to calculations by HP the point where it pays to use the Indigo 7000 to produce an 8-page brochure as opposed to moving the job onto an A3 offset press, is now up around 1,800 copies. This is almost double the crossover point of the popular HP Indigo 5500, which was released last year. (It must be emphasized that the figures refer to presses putting through at least one million copies per month and are calculated by HP’s own estimator.)

High volume web printing for direct mail and labels

Leveraging the new generation technology behind the latest release, HP is bringing out a faster label web press, the WS6000 and a high volume commercial web press, W7200. Again, the aim of the higher duty cycle on the label press is to lower the total cost of ownership (TCO) for those printers with higher volumes, in this case, 300,000 meters per month. It claims to be able to compete with conventional flexo label presses on jobs up to an average of 4,000 meters. Release date is early next year.

The W7200 is a big digital web press aimed at lifting HP Indigo into the direct marketing and utility document transpromo market. Rated to deliver up to seven million A4 colour or 30 million mono sheets per month, its market targets include on-demand and short-run book printing as well as high volume personalised direct mail campaigns. It has a wider imaging area of 317mm x 980 mm, allowing it to take on a variety of work such a folders and book jackets previously produced by offset processes. Expect to see the W7200 late 2009.

Driven by a new range of print servers from the HP SmartStream family, the three new HP Indigo presses present the industry with a significantly enhanced choice when deciding on the most appropriate technology. Press production at this level and at this quality continues to enhance digital print’s competitive position. The dialogue has shifted and the HP Indigo range of presses at drupa 2008 is likely to be seen as a watershed in the evolution of digital printing.

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