HP has cut the entry cost for continuous feed digital printing with the introduction of the HP T235 HD. It uses HDNA print heads to give the highest quality that its technology allows, but the new machine has fewer of them than the T240 HD.
“The T235 HD is positioned as an option for print service providers who are new to the market,” says David Murphy, worldwide director of marketing for HP PageWide. “It is 25% slower than the T240 HD, running at a maximum of 125m/min rather than 150m/min. There will be a field upgrade to the T240 specification with extra performance from drying and the digital front end."
The upgrade path is a key part of the HP strategy. While it is not possible to upgrade to a wider machine, upgrades on the same mechanical platform are encouraged. It retains the value in the engineering while allowing users to extend their capacity or to keep up with the latest developments in quality without having to write off a previous investment.
And it is working. Two years ago at Hunkeler its introduced the concept of the High Definition Nozzle Architecture print head, beginning shipments last year. Now, says Murphy, around 25% of the user base has upgraded to the new specification.
It will be less practical to upgrade to a press with an inline priming unit to optimise paper for high volume applications. This gives quality an additional lift to print quality taking it into the area of offset replacement printing.
There have been key installations in Japan which are proving that this is possible says Murphy. “And it is starting to happen in Germany. Elanders, for example, is already printing marketing collateral on their HP web press. In the coming weeks and months we expect a series of announcements which will change perceptions in direct mail applications.”
HP announced the PageWide T235 at the Hunkeler Innovation Days as an entry level inkjet web press giving the company a machine at every point in the market. The press will be upgradeable within the T200 product family.