I was among several dozen trade journalists and analysts from around the world who arrived last Monday in Tel Aviv, Israel for HP Pre-Drupa 2012. Despite varying degrees of jet lag, most of us were keen on finding out just what HP had up its sleeve for Dusseldorf. There was great interest in...
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It's been a long time since I've heard spontaneous applause from a group of analysts and journalists, but I heard it with the long-awaited announcement of the new seven-color B2-size HP Indigo press. It's not that the news was unexpected. Word had been out that it was on its way since the last drupa, but now it is a reality and will be available to ship in 2013. Aimed at "the heart of the offset market", the 20x20.9-inch HP Indigo 10000 will fit into existing offset operations allowing printers to impose four-up A4 sizes. That will enable them to produce pocket folders, posters, brochures, book covers and jackets, and any number of other jobs. The HP Indigo 10000 features an automatic blanket change system and can be ganged with a Horizon Smart Stacker and an MBO Signature Folder. It is compatible with other standard finishing equipment found in commercial printing operations. The HP Indigo 10000 will be available commercially in 2013.
Soon to follow the HP Indigo 10000 will be the HP Indigo 20000 roll-fed version for flexible packaging and labels and the sheet-fed HP Indigo 30000 for folding cartons, both based on the HP Indigo 10000 platform, both of which were demonstrated during the press tour.
Following a Wednesday morning return the the HP Indigo labs for a more detailed look at the new offerings, attendees were driven to Jerusalem for an optional tours of either holy sites in the old city or a visit to the historic village of Ein Kaeem and the Machane Yehuda open air market. The day ended with a reception and dinner in King Solomon's Quarries, a 1,000-foot long cavern underneath the wall of the Old City that covers some 2.5 acres and is the longest man-made cave in Israel.
Thursday began with a visit to HP Scitex in Natanya. During the initial briefing we had been told that HP Scitex was determined to make inroads into the screen printing, XXL offset, and packaging arenas. It also has moved from solvent to latex in order to penetrate the textile, traffic signage, decoration, and corrugated packaging markets.
The highlight of the visit was the new HP Scitex FB7600 flatbed industrial press, which won a 2012 Wide-Format Imaging Top Product Award. The 7600 is a follow on from the HP Scitex 7500 and offers a white ink kit, Hostert automatic loader, and a new version of HP SmartStream Production Analyzer for automatic monitoring of HP Scitex industrial wide-format presses. With some 57 percent of new 7500/7600 installations in screen printing operations, the presses are part of the HP effort to move wide-format from analog to digital. With six colors plus white, the FB 7600 upgrades can be retrofitted to the installed base.
From Natanya, the tour moved on to the Scitex manufacturing facility in Caesarea, where the HP Scitex 7600, the TJ8600, the TJ835, the XP 2500, the XP5100, and the XP550 industrial presses are built. All the units due to be on display at drupa were being broken down and crated for shipment to Dusseldorf.
With so much information to absorb in such a short time, it is difficult to wrap everything up into a tidy little package. The Indigo upgrades and new introductions are certainly significant and the idea of getting faster production speeds by simulating black is interesting. The white ink option is a very good addition and the fact that most HP Indigo improvements are available as field upgrades is important. For my money, the new HP Indigo 10000 B2-size press can be a game changer since it is a comfortable fit in many print service provider (PSP) operations. The roll-fed and sheet-fed presses based on the 10000 platform also should allow PSPs to move into more folding carton and flexible packaging areas. As far as Scitex, the FB7600 is a major step forward with the white ink option, autoloader, and SmartStreamr but I think the real takeaway here is the effort to move wide-format from analog to digital and the transition to latex in order to penetrate the textile, decorative, and corrugated markets. We'll just have to wait and see how all of this is received in Dusseldorf.