03 May 2020 Digital Printing Technologies

HP inkjet aims to take commercial share

HP is introducing a new ink for its new PageWide T250, capable, the company says, of printing on coated and uncoated papers and taking a greater share of the commercial print market.

HP plans installations at the first customers for its T250 HD inkjet web press in the summer, ahead of general availability next year.

The new press sets a new bar in terms of print quality and media versatility, the company says, and is aimed at pages that commercial printers have printed on litho presses until now.

The company had intended to introduce the press at Drupa, having staged an open house preview in San Diego, home to the T200 series machines, in March. Instead, it explained the technology and outlined its plans using Zoom last week.

The press uses a new version of the HDNA print head which combines two nozzle sizes to offer up to 2400dpi printing, and a new ink, dubbed Brilliant Ink. This expands the colour gamut it is possible to print with, particularly into the reds and blues, according to HP.

"We have sourced the best pigments from around the word and put more pigment to deliver the wide gamut; this is 30-50% wider than Gracol or Fogra,” says Yale Goldis, worldwide manager of product marketing management at HP. HP does not specify which Fogra profile is referred to as the press will print on coated and uncoated media without the need for primer.

Instead, HP has reverted to the Optimizer idea that was used in the first T300 when an additional line of printheads were used to lay down a solution to optimise contact between the ink and the substrate beneath.

This side steps the need for an overall priming coat, which can damage the look and feel of the paper. The new inks achieve the same or higher levels of gloss than the paper itself. Says Farre: “The T250 HD can print on a wide variety of dated and uncoated papers, even those that were developed for offset inks and not intended to cope with waterbed inks.”

There is an option of fitting a Harris and Bruno post print coater, offering either aqueous coating only or a choice between aqueous and UV, both coatings supplied through the same fast change ExcelCoat ZRW unit. Likewise, flying splice changeover and a range of inline finishing are optional.

What is also included is Colour Vision and spectrophotometer to ensure consistency between jobs, between presses and on repeat jobs. HP provides six days of training on installation, split into a day of arrival, two initial days for the basics and three days of higher level training to take advantage of the improved colour quality and consistency the T250 HD is capable of.

This is needed for HP to tackle commercial print applications. As a 560mm wide machine, it will print the equivalent of a B2 sheet, double sided at the equivalent of 4,000 sheets an hour, running at 152m/minute. This is halved for high quality mode when the smaller nozzles of the HDNA head are deployed.

HP is not talking about ink coverage or area coverage for this style of work, though samples shown during the launch webinar show full coverage catalogue pages, printed on 115gsm UPM Finesse, one of the latest papers to achieve ColorPro status as an approved paper for the digital press.

This is the sort of work it is aiming at. It reckons that commercial print applications are growing 18% a year, faster than publishing (12%) and direct mail (14%), albeit from a lower starting point. Overall there has been a 60% increase in page volumes printed on HP presses since Drupa 2016.

The Brilliant Ink and adapted printhead should help that growth, the company believes. Users of the standard T200 series machines are able to upgrade to the T250 specification.

The combination of printhead and ink will also be made available on the T300 and T400 platforms at some point, perhaps after Drupa 2021.

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The new press uses a version of the HDNA printhead which can fire the new Brilliant Ink. HP says it will print on standard coated or uncoated papers and can take a growing volume of work for offset printing.

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