HP has announced new solutions for professional portrait and consumer photo prints using HP Indigo Digital Press technology as a replacement for traditional silver halide (AgX).
Demonstrated at photokina 2012 in the HP stand (Hall 4.1), the new end-to-end solutions offer photo labs a high-quality, economical alternative to AgX technology for low- to high-volume photo prints. Also on display are HP’s market-leading digital printing technologies for the photo market and a full range of photo applications, including sample output from the HP Indigo 10000 Digital Press, the industry’s largest-format, most productive sheet-fed digital press.
Today, 70 percent of all photo specialty products, including photo books, calendars, photo cards, are printed using HP Indigo technology.
“As the photo market leader, HP provides solutions that respond to today’s market needs, allowing photo labs to print both high-quality photo prints and merchandise,” said Alon Bar-Shany, vice president and general manager, Indigo Division, Graphics Solutions Business, HP. “The new silver halide replacement offerings create a unique opportunity for photo labs to provide photo prints at a lower cost than traditional silver halide and with a clear environmental advantage.”
In addition to new solutions for photo lab environments, HP also announced new photo creation software and same-day creative output products that will help retailers capitalize on the growing photo merchandise market.
A digital alternative to silver halide
The new HP Indigo photo prints solution brings HP’s high-quality liquid electrophotographic printing technology to the professional portrait and 4 x 6-inch (10 x 15-centimeter) consumer prints markets with the same quality as silver-halide.
For high-volume production, the HP Indigo photo prints solution is available with the HP Indigo WS6000p Digital Press, which is already used by leading photofinishers to produce high-quality prints. The new solution includes an optional in-line GMP LAMIMASTER 34 and in-line cutting and stacking solutions from Tecnau and Hunkeler.
For low- to mid-volume printing, the solution is also available with HP’s sheet-fed digital presses, including the new HP Indigo 5600 and 7600 Digital Presses. It can be configured with an optional GMP PROTOPIC PLUS-540 laminator for professional portrait quality with luster effect or glossy finish for consumer prints and a cutting and stacking solution from Rollem.
The HP Indigo photo prints solutions support a range of HP Indigo-certified photo media, including photo paper from leading vendors, including Mohawk, Mitsubishi and Felix Schoeller.
Norway-based Fovea, a market-leading school lab company, adopted the HP Indigo WS6000p Digital Press as a replacement for its silver halide printers to combat rising costs of photo paper and improve its reputation as an environmentally responsible company. The company also wanted to expand its capacity and reduce turnaround time from photo shoot to shipment of printed photos. Fovea’s paramount concern was that the new solution had to match or exceed silver halide quality.
“We feel the quality is better with the WS6000p,” said Morten Øyås, chief executive officer, Fovea. “We get a wider color range, and we are getting better results with six-color printing compared to the silver halide machines. Plus, our costs are approximately 60 percent lower when producing pictures with the WS6000p, mainly as a result of the paper and the printing process itself.”
ORWO, one of Germany’s largest photo labs, recently purchased the HP Indigo WS6000p Digital Press – its fifth HP Indigo system – to keep up with the growing demand for photo books, calendars and greeting cards.
“HP Indigo Digital Presses allow us to produce and deliver digital photo products, such as photo calendars and photo books, in high volumes, swiftly and without compromising on quality,” said Peter Ulbricht, managing director, ORWO Net GmbH. “Now with the WS6000p, we’re able to produce high-gloss photo calendars with comparable quality to calendars printed on photographic silver halide machines.”
In May, Digipix, a leading internet-based photo service in Brazil, launched the first digital solution for producing commercial cut photo prints using the HP Indigo Digital Press technology. Digipix’s Ecopix offering produces high-quality prints with a fast response time.
“Our goal is to migrate production of our entire cut print business to digital, and provide our customers this high-quality product with the added benefit of an environmentally friendly production process,” said Marco Perlman, founder and chief executive officer, Digipix.
Expanded portfolio offers quality, productivity and versatility
At photokina, HP will display its broad range of digital printing systems for the photo market.
- HP Indigo 7600 Digital Press, which features new unique effects for creating high-value photo specialty applications.
- HP Designjet L26500 Printer, a 1.55m (61in) large-format printer using HP Latex Inks for the production of indoor and outdoor graphics.
- HP Designjet Z6200 Photo Printer, designed specifically for Pro Labs and Photolabs to deliver photo-quality prints at the highest print speed in its class(1) with breakthrough color consistency and accuracy across a wide range of media.
- HP Designjet Z3200 Photo Printer, an easy-to-use wide format inkjet printer with a 12-ink printing system for professional photographers with built-in spectrophotometer.
HP also will feature applications demonstrating the latest techniques available using HP inks, substrates and technologies, including sample output from the HP Indigo 10000 Digital Press. The B2 size format press (740 x 530 millimeters [mm] / 29.5 x 20.9 inches) enables new oversize photo applications such as photo books, book covers, calendars, and posters, and efficient production of standard-size photo products. As an example, visitors will see the world’s largest lay-flat photo book, which measures nearly one meter (39.37 inches) wide when opened. The hardcover, leather-bound book, which was designed by MediaClip, printed on the HP Indigo 10000 and finished by Loxley Colour.
“With the HP Indigo 10000 Digital Press we can offer our customers on-demand photo applications that we could not have produced before,” said Gary Peeling, managing director of Precision Printing and HP Indigo 10000 beta user. “We will use the higher imposition efficiency of the press to boost our productivity for printing 5x7” postcards and desk calendars. Additionally, and perhaps most significant, is that the new larger sheet size enables gift packaging for a whole range products that provides an engaging up-sell for our clients."
Helping retailers achieve growth and meet customer needs
The HP Photo Center 7 software upgrade helps retailers drive growth by unlocking the billions of photos stored on social networks and mobile devices, making them available for in-store photo and photo creative merchandise purchase. HP kiosks running Photo Center 7 will offer direct access to photos stored on Facebook, as well as plug-in connectivity that allows shoppers to immediately download photos from their iPhone or Android smartphone.
HP Photo Center 7 software also allows retailers to compete with online photo publishing services by offering an expansive portfolio of photo creative merchandise including photo books, greeting cards, posters and calendars, as well as new products such as HP Canvas, HP Faux Canvas, HP Mounted Photos, and HP Custom Cover Photo Books – all available the same day as they are ordered in-store or online.
For the first time, HP Custom Cover Photo Books are available for same-day ordering in-store or online. Customers can choose a favorite photo to feature on the book’s cover and add text to both the cover and the spine. HP Custom Cover Photo Books will be introduced in the U.S. in Fall 2012 and will be available to retailers worldwide in Spring 2013.
Additionally, HP is introducing a portfolio of same-day wall art decor products, enabling retailers to offer personalized photo wall art at a variety of price points.
- HP Canvas is printed on real canvas with HP original ink for a high-impact, gallery-wrapped piece of art worthy of display in any home or office. It is now available to retailers worldwide.
- HP Faux Canvas is an affordable alternative to real canvas that is lighter weight and easier to hang. It is now available in the U.S. and will be available to retailers worldwide in Spring 2013.
- HP Mounted Photos are a ready-to-display photo décor product that can be hung on the wall or propped up on a table or desk like a picture frame. HP Mounted Photos will be selectively introduced in the U.S. and Europe in Fall 2012 and worldwide in Spring 2013.
- HP will also offer a same-day mounted photo service. (2) Consumers can bring their print from home and have either their original print or a scanned copy mounted to make a ready-to-display keepsake.