28 March 2016 Digital Printing Technologies

Drupa: HP 'refreshes' Indigo technology across the range

There will be new Indigo presses, PrintOS to boost productivity and new inkjet web presses to mark HP's presence at Drupa.

HP Indigo will showcase its most productive press ever at Drupa as part of the largest stand at this year’s trade show. The Indigo 50000 will not ship for another 12 months, with trial sites targeted for January next year and commercial installations to follow in the summer of 2017.

It is just one of six new machines from the Israeli manufacturer as the company introduces new products at every part of its range. "We are refreshing the Indigo technology," says general manager Alon Bar-Shany. The Series 2 flagship press becomes the 5900, the 7900 replaces the 7800 in the Series 3 rangeand the B2 Indigo 10000 Series 4 machine is succeeded as the flagship sheetfed press by the Indigo 12000, though the 10000 will remain in the portfolio.

In the labels and packaging area, there are upgrades to the 6800 and a new twin-engined version which becomes the Indigo 8000 and takes digital into the heartland of UV flexo printing for labels thanks to a throughput of 80 metres a minute.

The wider Indigo 20000 enjoys a number of improvements, not least a pairing with a laminating technology that brings the speed of digital printing to lamination. Print and finishing can be coupled to give a turnaround time unknown in flexo printing. Indigo has designed the thermal laminator as the first element in a Pack Ready family of equipment. It will outsource the engineering and will licence film suppliers to produce the special films that are needed.

The 20000 webfed engine is at the heart of the Indigo 50000. This is a twin-engined web press printing an extended B1 format (746x1,120mm) for photo and other books, direct mail and commercial applications, including catalogues, brochures and manuals. It will cope with papers from 40-350gsm and has a priming unit to enable it to print on papers other than those pre qualified for Indigo. This is a development of the electro-ink rather than equivalent to the Sapphire coating used previously.

The 30000 carton press also enjoys upgrades to enhance colour quality and consistency and is matched with a Tresu coater for aqueous or UV coating.

Developments on the Indigo part of the HP portfolio will be matched by innovation in the PageWide web inkjet press arm. The high definition nozzle architecture print head, announced more than a year ago, is integral to the PageWide T490M HD and T490 HD. The former is a mono only press for book work, the latter setting new standards for quality from an inkjet press according to HP's David Murphy. "This is a new class of inkjet printing that has the capabilities of offset with the value of digital," he says.

The addition of the new heads provides the option of higher quality at the same throughput speeds, or higher throughput at the same quality levels. Top speed is now 300m/minute

The PageWide T240 is new version of the 520mm wide web press and also offers high quality or a 25% speed increase to 150m/min at the same quality levels.

The HDNA nozzles improve the addressability of any point on the page thanks to a smaller nozzle compared to the standard sizes. This delivers a smoother finish on colour gradations, removing jumps in colour that may be perceived by the eye.

The Indigo operation is introducing a similar technology, HDLA, increasing the resolution of the laser head used in the Series 4 presses from 800dpi to 1600dpi. It does not alter the resolution of printing as this is set by toner particle size, but does improve the addressability of any point in an image.

It is a key feature of the new Indigo 12000 along with a new photo drum and ink set that matches the productivity of the print engine. While HP Indigo has shipped more than 200 of the 10000 model since introduction at Drupa 2012, these account for more than 10% of pages printed on Indigo presses, and print in Enhanced Productivity Mode for 25% of the time.

The Indigo 8000 twins two 6800 print units under a single control system. The first unit prints a full image then skips the entire print length. This will be printed on the second engine, in precise register to the first unit to give a continuums flow of labels, the first print unit printing odd numbered frames, the second the even numbers.

These progress to an AB Graphics finishing line incorporating a new semi-rotary die cutter that is specified to run at 150m/min, well within the capabilities of the press.

The opaque white, which with a single hit achieves the density of gravure white and with four hits can match 81% of a screen applied white, is now shipping for these presses. A fluorescent pink is also available across the Series 3 engines with further inks to come this year. There is work underway on a silver ink, even though silver is anathema to the concept of electro ink. “We think we can do it,” says a spokesman.

There is plenty to look for on the software side; the already announced PrintOS will be key; colour management will guarantee a perfect match across sites, across print engines; Mosaic delivers every page different customisation.

It has been a huge commitment which for a business with undisclosed revenues, thought to be around $2 billion a year, is arguably the largest in the industry and not just with the largest stand at Drupa.

“We have more than 4,000 customers,” says Bar-Shany. “And we have a double digit growth in pages, which is not something that can be said for the industry at large.

“We are offering a lot more than a press.” This includes working with brands to drive demand for digital printing, packaging in particular. “We see packaging as a much bigger part of our future. It is a growth opportunity for us.

“We are also seeing our commercial print customers come into packaging, either with a label press or to dabble in carton printing.”

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Indigo 50000

Indigo 50000

The HP Indigo 50000 will be introduced at Drupa as the most powerful Indigo to date, delivering an extended B1 sheet printed on both sides for high volume commercial print work on a huge range of papers. The press is just one of a handful of new machines to be launched at the show as part of a refresh of the technology.

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