HP: 120 metres a min digital label press on horizon

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With the labels and packaging market set for continued growth, HP is launching new presses for labels, flexibles, and cartons, including a narrow web digital press the V12 which will compete on speed with analogue presses, running at 120 metres a minute.

120mpm: HP Indigo V12 narrow web press
120mpm: HP Indigo V12 narrow web press

Launching the presses HP Indigo general manager Alon Bar-Shany said, “The digital labels and packaging market is growing and evolving as converters move to support market needs for on-demand production, SKU diversification, customisation and printing with reduced waste.

“Labels and packaging converters using HP Indigo are growing their Indigo volume four times faster than the market and are consistently generating new opportunities. The new labels and packaging portfolio unveiled today is a blueprint for customers to create a digital print factory so they can stay ahead of the curve and deliver a wider range of jobs faster, with less labour, all while keeping the environment top of mind.”

Bar-Shany cited five key drivers in HP Indigo's thinking for labels and packaging: the dramatically shrinking time from concept to market, the huge rise of craft food and beverage producers, the need for higher shelf appeal, the demand for sustainable packaging, and the need for brand protection.

He said, “Colour is critical, workflows need to be automated, and sustainability is a necessity. The new HP Indigo label and packaging presses deliver on all these.”

In label presses drupa will see the launch of the new HP Indigo 6K and HP Indigo 8K. The HP Indigo 6K will have inline varnishing. The HP Indigo 6K Digital Press is the new model of the highly successful, high-versatility HP Indigo 6000 series. The press can deliver more applications using higher opacity white for shrink sleeves, new inks including silver, fluorescents, invisible red and green for brand protection applications and new varnishes from leading partners for higher durability. The HP Indigo 8K offers increased productivity, reduced waste and easier transitioning between media types and jobs.

New: HP Indigo 6K with inline varnish
New: HP Indigo 6K with inline varnish

According to HP the new HP Indigo V12 Digital Press is poised to disrupt the label market ecosystem by making significant production volumes a reality for operators with HP Indigo’s well-known quality and flexibility. The press will run on a new LEPX technology. It will be available in two years time.

Bar-Shany said, “The V12 is the biggest breakthrough in digital printing since the launch of Indigo in 1993. It will run at 120metres a minute at 1600dpi with 12 colours in a 340mm web width." It has inline priming, with printing coming via six inline imaging engines and a central blanket rather than the conventional central impression drum, to offer 120m/min in six-colours on substrates from 12mic film to 450gsm board.

Due for release in two years' time the V12 is not a concept, Bar-Shany said, “We have built three models, which are currently in beta testing.”

Key benefits to be offered by the HP Indigo V12 Digital Press include print up to six colours at 120 linear metres per minute, using six inline imaging engines running simultaneously. It will produce up to 130,000 linear metres per day with one operator. A new high definition HD Imaging System on press offers native to 1600 dpi resolution. You can change inks on the fly and create any combination of colours. It will print on one of the industry’s largest range of digital label printing range of substrates, from 12 micron film to 450 micron (18pt) board. It supports pressure-sensitive, sleeves, flexible packaging, tubes, IMLs. One-pass, high-speed finishing capabilities will be provided by AB Graphics.

Phillip Rennell, sales and marketing director at ANZ distributor Currie Group said, “With today’s announcement, HP Indigo has delivered label printers a digital future with new release products and set forward the future direction for digital printing of labels”

In flexible printing HP is launching at drupa the HP Indigo 25K, which supersedes the 20000. HP says it provides improved total cost of ownership to help labels and flexible packaging converters grow profitably, delivering on-demand flexible packaging.

Bar-Shany acknowledged the concerns over plastics, saying that the future actions of regulators were unknown.
He did say though that fibre based packaging was back in vogue thanks to its endless recyclability, and pointed to the new carton presses, the HP Indigo 35K and the HP Indigo 90K, which will be launched at drupa. The 35K succeeds the 30000, while the 90K is for B1+ sized carton printing, with a reel to sheet pathway, and which HP says will open up new applications such as photoposters and wallpaper in addition to its core carton printing capability.

The drupa 2020 portfolio significantly extends HP Indigo folding carton capabilities, offering enhanced productivity, wider application range and expanded colour capabilities. The portfolio includes the new sheetfed B2 HP Indigo 35K for high-value folding cartons, the new sheetfed B2 HP Indigo 15K for mixed commercial print and packaging production, and the new B1 HP Indigo 90K roll-to-sheet solution with an inline water-based/UV coater and sheeter.

Phil Rennell said, ““HP Indigo’s release of the 35K and 90K enables folding carton solutions we haven’t seen before, and this gives us and our customers an opportunity to drive the market in new ways”

HP is also launching a new colour automation solution, Spot Master, which Bar-Shany said will enable converters to reach brand colours within three minutes, making it one of the industry’s fastest time-to-colour solution.

The company says Spot Master enables converters to deliver high colour consistency and uniformity across the entire print frame using a new patented algorithm for fast and accurate colour matching, ensuring every package looks the same no matter when or where it was printed. Spot Master will be available for the HP Indigo 35K, HP Indigo 25K, HP Indigo 6K and HP Indigo 8K presses.

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