Growing Asia-Pacific market entices HP to introduce new products in this region

Hewlett-Packard continues to follow its tradition to roll out new products and this time it was in the country of kangaroos – Australia, where new state-of-the-art products were launched by HP amongst eminent journalists, specially invited from India, Korea, Singapore and China. Since the launch was concurrent with Sydney’s PrintEx show, these new products were also displayed live in action. A report by our editor S K Khurana.
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 At HP Asia Pacific Imaging and Printing Group Press Conference in Sydney, a group of journalists were the first in Asia to witness HP’s latest additions to its industry-leading portfolio of graphic arts solutions which is aimed at helping print service providers (PSPs) capture key growth opportunities and drive profits in the commercial printing, digital photo specialty and signage segments.

Initiating the press conference in the afternoon of May 24, V S Hariharan, vice president (digital publishing and large format printing), HP Asia Pacific & Japan, broadly outlined HP’s recent move in terms of enlarging its portfolio by introducing new products and acquisition of progressive companies with similar line of products. According to him, HP has seen remarkable results in India and this has triggered them to take a specific aggressive approach for this region.

Hariharan also emphasised that the success of any company depends upon five pillars – portfolio, leadership, quality/colour consistency, strong partners/alliances and continued investment. He further explained a broad spectrum of five lines of products HP has achieved. These include HP Designjet and professional photo printers, HP Designjet, HP large format Scitex printers, HP Indigo presses and HP specialty printing systems. They are also set to launch HP branded finishing equipments.

Thereafter, Hariharan briefly talked about the new products set for launch, which included

 HP Designjet Z6100 combined with HP’s new DreamColor technologies and HP Indigo Press 5500 and 3500. Hariharan then invited Patrick Turner, business development manager; Barry Jin, product marketing manager (large format printing solutions), HP Asia Pacific & Japan; and Steve Donegal, business manager (digital press), HP Asia Pacific & Japan, for elaborating on the respective new products.

The theme of Patrick’s discussion was ‘Outdoor to indoor’ and he seemed optimistic in terms of the growth happening with outdoor advertising. The concept of customisation is do appearing in the arena of signs and this gives them a lot of confidence to find new markets. As per Patrick, HP Scitex TJ8500 has a speed of 26 sheets/hr in high quality mode (600 dpi), 35 sheets/hr in quality mode (448 dpi) and 70 sheets/hr in production mode (336 dpi). With the HP Scitex TJ8500’s high throughput, durable UV inks and wide range of substrates, users can cost-effectively produce either short-run or high volume jobs for a variety of applications – ranging from billboards, signage and bus shelters to indoor applications that require high print quality and legible type as small as 8-point including floor and window graphics, POP/POS and exhibition panels.

Introducing the latest addition in Designjet portfolio of HP, Berry Jin made an impressive presentation where he talked about the opportunities, which are on the growth path and helping PSPs to expand their business. “Taking the feedback from PSPs in terms of speed limitation with Designjet 5000/5500, colour consistency, etc, HP after rigorous R&D, is pleased to introduce brand new product HP Designjet Z6100,” he added. This new printer series will allow PSPs to print large format signs, banners and wraps at speeds (1000 sq ft/hr), which is twice as fast as other printers in the category, with 8-colour printing option, allowing capture of natural colours. “Embedded spectrophotometer designed with Eye-One Color Technology from X-Rite increases the consistency factor in colours. The new HP optical media advance sensor reduces banding at high print speeds, longer roll support (up to 575 ft/175 m) and high-capacity 775-ml original HP ink cartridges enables longer unattended runs,” he added. He also told about the HP double swath technology and HP 91 8-ink printing system in this printer.

 The Z6100 uses HP DreamColor technologies to achieve print-to-print colour accuracy and consistency. It builds on HP’s more than 20 years of experience in colour imaging to provide the assurance of producing accurate, predictable and consistent colour from device to device.

HP works with the best in the industry and is constantly establishing mutually beneficial relationships with industry leaders to deliver solutions, software applications and customised services for the graphic arts industry. Some of their partners include Adobe, Creo Print-on-Demand Solutions, Agfa (Apogee), Heidelberg (Prinect), Kodak (Brisque and Prinergy), Screen (TrueFlow), Printsoft, GMC Software, Direct Smile, Silverwire, Unibind, Horizon, Press-sense, etc.

Steve Donegal’s presentation was as engrossing as always and he did not forget to quote Benny Landa, Indigo founder – “Everything that can become digital will become digital and printing is no exception.” Steve was upbeat about the growth happening in Asia-Pacific region and said that HP is continuously setting the pace in this direction. He informed about the HP Indigo press 5500, which is a new and advanced digital press that offers exceptional, profit-enhancing improvements to HP Indigo press 5000. Improvements include near-zero downtime on spot colour ink replacement for optional 5th, 6th and 7th colour stations, expanded range of supported media and resolution enhancement technology for higher-resolution imaging of up to 1,200 dpi and improved paper feeding systems. It delivers the offset look and feel afforded by HP Indigo technology and liquid HP ElectroInk. It enables six-colour photo imaging featuring light cyan and light magenta HP ElectroInks. It has a speed of 272 ppm in single-colour mode or 68 pages per minute (ppm) in four-colour mode. Also, it offers a creative possibility of matte over printing.

Another new development designed specifically for the photo merchandise market is the HP Indigo Photo Enhancement Server (HPIPES), which is an automated tool that enhances digital photographs by performing a series of key optimisation procedures prior to printing.

Later, all journalists were taken on a tour and solutions demonstrations/presentations at HP booths in PrintEx 2007 show. The products displayed included HP Designjet Z6100, HP Designjet 8000/10000 eco-solvent range of large format printers, XLJet 1500 and HP Scitex TJ8500.

In another stand belonging to their distributors, HP displayed the newly launched Indigo press 5500, which is designed for the production of marketing collateral, direct mail, photo specialty products, books and manuals. The company also displayed Indigo presses 5000 and 3500. HP Indigo press 3500 is a high-quality digital production device, available at an entry-level price, for commercial and in-plant printing firms. It is capable of printing 1M+ colour pages or 2.5M+ monochrome pages each month, with a speed of 68 ppm in four-colour mode or 136 ppm in single-colour mode.

 HP is also set to launch branded HP finishing equipment for quality finishing, however, none of the equipment was on display.

In an interesting interview session with journalists during three different channels, answering to a question on the probable competition from Canon ImagePress 7000, Steve replied that the print-out so produced by Canon printer creates confusing visual as shadow portions do look glossy than highlight areas. Then, the consumption of liquid inks compared to toners comes much lower, resulting in a reduced per copy cost. The latest concept of impression charge basis, now offered by HP, help printers to work out their selling cost more scientifically.

It was also revealed that the users of Indigo presses, who are utilising it to over 70% capacity, are planning to acquire second machines. To show the full capabilities of HP Indigo presses to Indian printers, HP is all set to demonstrate these in upcoming IPEX South Asia in New Delhi, which will also include VDP, the most sought after activity.

Barry Jin, talking in another channel, informed about the latest features of HP Scitex TJ8500 with the speed of 70 sheets/hr in the production mode. Answering a question as to how that speed is achieved, Barry informed that it comes with 150 printheads. This printer also has anti-static device in the form of air knife to take care of different media. Replying to another question regarding heat so produced with the printer working continuously for 10-12 hours, Barry did agree that the temperature does affects the colours but they have devised means to control the heat/temperature to a level which does not affect the colour shades.

In the concluding interaction with journalists, Don Tan, colour consultant, enterprise & specialty printing, imaging and printing group, Hewlett-Packard Asia Pacific and Japan, elaborated the concept of DreamColor technology and R&D activities. “As the business of PSPs grows, more production sites are installed, but with DreamColor technology, uniform colour control possibilities become feasible at all the sites,” added Tan.

According to Hariharan, due to the high speed of Designjet Z6100, HP will achieve good number of sales. “People using two machines of Designjet 5000/5500 may be able to do with one machine – Designjet Z6100. However, the users of Designjet 5500 can upgrade their printer with certain features of Designjet Z6100. Moreover, a trade-off of HP Designjet 5500 is also possible,” he added. Answering a question to the probability of reducing the pricing of water-based inks in line with significant reduction in pricing of eco-solvent inks, Hariharan replied that the move had been made based on market requirements to increase their hardware sales. “We might take similar step for water-based ink as well,” he added.

Hariharan concluded that HP is anticipating a big future in India due to the upcoming Common Wealth Games and the retail boom. The entry of JCDecaux in the outdoor signage segment in New Delhi shall open new channels in this direction. “We are seeing very good prospects on all fronts, including photoshops and we may see remarkable results in just 6 months time,” concluded Hariharan.

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Group Momentum : capturing the right attention

As a part of the press meet, the journalists in Sydney were taken to a visit to Group Momentum, which began as a pre-press house in Australia in the 1970s. From the early 1990s as technology revolutionised the creative industry and consumer behaviour, Group Momentum reinvented itself by diversifying its services and investing in HP Indigo press digital printing technology.

Group Momentum is equipped with a HP Indigo press 3050 (third upgrade over 9 years), HP Designjet 5500 and soon going for HP Indigo press 5500. The company has progressed into a leading creative group offering personalised one-to-one marketing, short-run digital printing and web-to-print services. With VDP services, they have reported an improvement of more than 200 percent in campaign response rates. As per David Minnett, managing director, Group Momentum, “Customers now understand the importance of going out to consumers with the right message at the right time. Timing is critical as the more current the message, the more relevant. Working these campaigns on the HP Indigo has meant that we can execute one-to-one campaigns cost-effectively in a measurable way under very tight timeframes.”

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HP launches Designjet Z6100 in India

 Immediately after Sydney launch, Designjet Z6100 was introduced to PSPs in New Delhi on May 30, 2007. The launch function was well derived by Dhirendra Khurana, country category manager, large format printers, imaging & printing group, Hewlett-Packard India Sales Pvt Ltd and Hariharan was specially present at the occasion. Over 500 people attended the function from all over northern region, including Delhi, Punjab and UP. At this launch, HP also felicitated their Certified Partners, under three different categories – platinum, gold and silver, depending on various parameters. The certificates were presented by Puneet Chaddha, country manager-commercial sales, imaging and printing group, HP while it was co-ordinated by Pankaj Goswami, country category manager – large format industrial printing, imaging and printing group.

At the sidelines of the launch event, S&G editor SK Khurana (SKK) had a one-to-one conversation with Enrique Lores (EL), vice president and general manager, Hewlett-Packard Company, large format printing division, Barcelona. Excerpts.

SKK : What makes Z6100 stand apart?

EL : The unique features of Z6100 makes it stand apart from other printers. These include HP Double Swath Technology which guarantees double the performance in any print mode with its wider print path and higher firing frequency. Two full-function, synchronised printheads cover twice the area of conventional single printhead systems without compromising on print-quality. The printheads are arranged in an overlapping, staggered pair formation, with the best-aligned nozzles used to ensure continuity between the two printheads. This system effectively doubles the number of nozzles firing from 1056 to 2112 per colour for professional colour prints with superb line accuracy to be finished rapidly. Z6100 has been manufactured after vigorous R&D activities at HP, where research was done for the last 10 years.

SKK : Since the pricing of Z6100 is similar to that of HP Designjet 8000/9000 series, will it not be a sort of overlapping?

EL : Although the pricing is somewhat same for these products, the applications are different. HP Designjet 8000/9000 is used for long-lasting outdoor signages while Z6100 can be used suitably for producing retail signs for high quality requirements in cosmetics, jewellery, etc and fine art segments.

SKK : The printer vibrates when it works, does it affect the quality of the print?

EL : The vibrations in the printer do not affect the quality of the print as the media also vibrates simultaneously. At HP, we have done extensive testing and no affect has been found on the quality of the print because of this.

SKK : Where are Designjet printers manufactured?

EL : They are manufactured at our production unit in Malaysia and Singapore while some parts of the software development are being done in IT city Bangalore.

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