18 June 2014
HP takes aim at the reprographics market
SAN DIEGO, CA—With a declaration from Steve Nigro, senior vice president of the graphics and inkjet businesses, that HP wants to disrupt the reprographics segment with enhanced speed, colour and lower costs, the company unveiled its Pagewide technology at an event for customers and media in San Diego last week.

A new product, as yet unnamed, will hit the market in the second half of 2015 taking aim at a segment currently dominated by LED technology. HP promises to give it a run for its money with twice the speed, lower running costs and the ability to print in both black and white and in colour. The company says today, most reprographic shops use inkjet devices for colour and LED for black and white.

The first prototype of the Pagewide technology

The technology is based on the third generation inkjet heads that can be strung together into a fixed array. Each 5” module boasts 25,000 nozzles for a total of 200,000 nozzles in a 40” print bar, the size of the first machine expected out of the lab. The heads, which are expected to deliver a 1,200 dpi resolution, are scalable and first appeared in the Officejet Pro X MFP devices released last year. Expect to see an array of three or four devices in other sizes to make their debut next year.

HP also said the newer heads will make progress in solving a persistent inkjet problem—clogged nozzles. Company engineers said they have come up with a means to extend the life of a head with a film-forming technology. A film forms a cap on the nozzle that keeps water from evaporating and plug-ups from happening.

A new blend of pigmented inks will run through the technology because they are rub and smudge resistant and deliver darker blacks and more vivid colours. Currently available paper and other media will be handled.

Though aimed primarily at the reprographics market—CAD, architecture etc—HP will also target smaller print shops.

But Nigro said the new Pagewide products will be the second of a two-step strategy to impact this market. Earlier this year, HP released the DesignJet T3500 and T7200 for this segment, as well as public sector corporations and other productions environments. The T3500, for example, produces an A1 print in 25 seconds.
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