HP has announced a $200 million investment in the next generation of water-based ink solutions “over five or more years” to develop water-based ink technologies for printing digitally on corrugated packaging and textiles. The commitment is part of HP’s Sustainable Impact vision to implement “safer, simpler solutions, and complements ongoing HP investments in other printing technologies and markets aimed at creating sustainable digital print solutions,” said the OEM. Traditional textile colouration makes use of technologies that can be problematic from a water-emissions perspective. Furthermore, the World Resources Institute estimates that about 20% of industrial water pollution comes from garment manufacturing. “Investing in water-based solutions that meet market needs and the increasing sustainability requirements of graphics customers is expected to propel business growth for HP,” said Santi Morera, General Manager and Global Head of Graphics Solutions at HP. “We’ll be dedicating resources toward continued innovation and industry disruption to accelerate safer, simpler and more sustainable water-based printing technologies that meet the quality, performance and economics needed by these markets.”
HP added that its water-based inks for corrugated packaging have already shown leadership for sensitive applications such as food packaging. “The company is committing resources to enable the next major generation of ink, printhead and press technology – with improved quality, performance and sustainability in our solutions out of a belief that water-based solutions are the long-term future of this market. While executing plans for transforming the textiles market, HP is mindful of the technology options from both the traditional analogue and digital perspectives. As such, HP is collaborating with the textile industry in order to make the right choices for water-based digital platforms,” said the company. The announcement builds on HP’s existing innovations in water-based ink technology – especially in the sign and display markets. Water-based HP Latex Inks, for example, have established a durable, versatile and safer alternative for existing inks used for signage and displays. Additional sustainability achievements across HP’s graphics business will allow brands to reduce waste and minimize their environmental impact. HP further emphasized that it believes that investing in water-based ink solutions for the corrugated and textile printing markets will have beneficial effects along the entire product lifecycle – for the people who operate its printing systems, for the end users of the printed product, and ultimately for the final reuse, recycling or disposal of that product.