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HP shows off future printing technologies

Vendor aims to up its revenue with new printers and ink

Hewlett-Packard Monday offered a peek into future printing technologies, introducing a new inkjet printer that prints thousands of pages per minute and ink that retains its shine even when exposed to extreme elements.

HP’s water-based Latex Ink is specially formulated to embed in a surface and become part of a media print, said Stephen Nigro, senior vice president of HP’s graphics and imaging business. HP’s Latex Ink can withstand snow and rain and is useful for large-format media used on billboards and outdoor signs.

The company also launched the Inkjet Web Press printer, which can print up to 2,600 A4-sized color pages a minute at a cost of under US$0.01 per color page, Nigro said.

The products were introduced at an event in Tel Aviv.

The Latex Ink includes a specially created formula, called latex polymer, that provides the print surface its durability and color, according to HP. Water-based ink ejected carries the latex polymer and pigment particles to the surface. The inks are 70 percent water and 30 percent of additives and other inks, HP said. The ink was developed by HP and HP Labs.

Unlaminated outdoor displays using the ink can last up to three years, while unlaminated in-window displays can last up to five years.

The printer cartridge uses recyclable material and the company has developed new recyclable substrates for the ink to make printing environmentally friendly, HP said. Other printing technology for large-format media include UV (ultraviolet) curable ink, which interacts with an ultraviolet light source to create a print.

Avoiding speculation, Nigro said Latex Ink may or may not reach consumers in the future. For now, the ink is targeted at enterprises including companies creating billboards, Nigro said. HP is expected to announce products using the ink technology later this year.

HP on Monday also showed the Inkjet Web Press, a printer that prints up to 2,600 A4-sized color pages a minute. The printer will be able to print on pages up to 30 inches (76.2 centimeters) wide, Nigro said. It is targeted at replacing the printed pages coming from traditional offset presses.

A printing job with a traditional offset press takes hours and it’s not possible to print on demand. With a traditional offset press, a machine first creates a physical plate with the image etched on it, which is then sent to print. With the Inkjet Web Press platform, hitting the print button sends the image directly to a printer, making high-volume printing more productive by eliminating analog elements like a plate, Nigro said.