Rethinking the Reprographics Market

On June 10th, 2014 in San Diego, California at the Designjet Production Summit, HP announced a new addition to their large format production printing lineup. Brand new large format “PageWide” technology will allow high-volume and high quality output at lower costs than traditional LED printers for the reprographics market.ReprographicHP

HP has asked us to “Rethink” current solutions in the large format reprographics industry. Reprographics incorporates everything from poster production to technical design production printers to large format laser LED printers, both in office environments (i.e. for architectural drawings), as well as print service providers.

The disruptive technology unveiled at the summit will allow for high-speed printing both in monochrome and full-colour. It will print colour at approximately twice the speed of LED with lower running costs. The devices are designed to sustain productivity in high volume production environments and it also addresses the problem of requiring two printers in a reprohouse (and therefore two workflows, two types of media, etc.). Typically, there is one LED printer and one inkjet printer that exist in any given reprohouse and there are inherent complexities with having two devices (more about that here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pU6pxzxS2mY). The new large format PageWide technology will help HP’s customers bridge the gap between current fragmented solutions to an all-in-one complete colour and monochrome solution.
The 40” PageWide “main event” of the launch was an exciting new high-speed and high-quality printer that will be available in the second half of 2015. Check out the video of the new device here:      .
http://bit.ly/TJZDKI.

What does ‘PageWide’ mean?

PageReprographicHPWide printing technology uses a stationary print head that spans the width of the media. It uses a long, unmoving print head instead of a smaller traditional scanning print head, which relies on moving back and forth across the width of the page to release ink onto the substrate.
The PageWide technology is derived from HP’s Officejet Pro X Printer Series, which set the Guinness World Record in 2012 for “the fastest time to print 500 sheets by an office colour desktop printer.” The HP Officejet Pro X551dw printer output 500 sheets of colour on letter sized paper in seven minutes and 18 seconds. The key innovation lies in the print head and nozzle technology. Thirty years ago, HP developed technology that allowed a nozzle to achieve speeds of 10,000 drops per second; today their nozzles are capable of 1 billion drops per second.

The large format PageWide technology contains approximately 200,000 nozzles spanning the stationary print bar in the forthcoming 40” model and it is a scalable system. A number of print heads are placed together (eight, 5.08” print head modules in the new 40” model coming in 2015) to take the existing small-scale technology and turn it into a viable option for the large format market. Below is a diagram from HP detailing their consumer and commercial PageWide print heads.

Furthermore, the PageWide print heads use HP pigment inks (which are water-based and highly durable) to ensure dark blacks and vivid colours on uncoated bond. The printed   are resistant to water, highlighters and smudging. They are also fade resistant and they have compatibility with a wide range of materials including retail store signage and more.

Streamlining the Front EndReprographicHP

When HP spoke to their reprographics customers about their major pain points, they found that only a small portion of customers’ time was spent actually printing the job. This compares to the long preparation and preflighting times, which amount to roughly four times the length of any given print job. HP wanted to address this issue and designed their Designjet SmartStream software that “cuts job preparation time by up to 50%.” The SmartStream software allows users to prepare and send jobs to any and all HP Designjet devices. The software is powered by the Adobe PDF Print Engine 3 and can support PDF, TIFF, JPEG, and HP-GL/2 files. It can also support up to ten connected HP printers at one time, as well as stacking and folding accessories for HP’s production printers. It uses HP Crystal Preview Technology, which soft proofs colour to assigned media for both technical documents as well as rich graphics applications. The Designjet SmartStream software helps streamline the complete workflow from end-to-end.

Exciting Large Format Technologies for 2015 and Beyond

In addition to the unveiling of the 40” PageWide technology at the Designjet Production Summit, HP also announced an expansion of their line of existing large format production printers.

Enterprises who use large format colour printers will value the new 36” HP Designjet T3500 Production eMultifunction Printer (eMFP). Compared to other large format MFPs priced under $25,000, this new device proves to be the most productive device on the market. It doesn’t require any warm-up time and also features batch scanning capabilities. This price starts at $14,750.

For reprographic houses or central reprographic departments with high-volume printing, the new 42” HP Designjet T7200 Production Printer is a full-colour large format device. It can accommodate heavy media rolls and everything from glossy photo paper to standard bond stock. The price of this printer starts at $12,644.

Stephen Nigro, Vice President, Graphics and Inkjet Solutions Business at HP assures that “the new large format HP PageWide Technology will disrupt the production printing market by offering customers an affordable option for high-volume quality prints, transforming an industry that typically prints in monochrome to now print in colour without compromising speed.”

Overall, HP’s new large format PageWide technology will prove to have the fastest speeds in market, high versatility and low running costs. This exciting new offering will set the (print) bar high for business printing of the future.

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Diana Varma is an Instructor at the School of Graphic Communications Management at Ryerson University and the Owner of ON-SITE First Aid & CPR Training Group, a health & safety company that provides training to the Graphic Arts Industry.