HP Unveils Latex Print and Cut Series and Two Latex Superwide Printers

At two big trade shows this spring, HP made some major announcements about their HP Latex printers. Their news releases also included some interesting statistics about the global adoption of HP Latex printers.

When HP introduced water-based HP Latex technology in 2009, they established a whole new category of inks for wide-format inkjet printing. Today, more than 42,000 Latex printers have been sold worldwide, with 12,000 units sold in the last year.

Superwide HP Latex 3200 and HP Latex 3600

At the FESPA 2017 show in Hamburg, Germany in May, HP introduced the new HP Latex 3600 and HP Latex 3200 printers and HP PrintOS for Latex presses.

 

The 126-inch HP Latex 3600 and HP 3200 printers support higher volume printing and an improved monthly duty cycle. The HP Latex 3200 printer is for large print-service providers who need to efficiently produce high-quality graphics for retail graphics, outdoor advertising, events and exhibitions, vehicle graphics, and interior decor.

The HP Latex 3600 is designed for even larger print-service providers who need long, uninterrupted printing. The HP Latex 3600 can handle production peaks of up to 35,000 square meters per month and is ideal for dedicated production of applications such as banners, backlits, wallcoverings, and retail or event signage. It can loaded with 10-liter ink supplies for overnight printers.

Features of the new HP Latex 3600 and HP Latex 3200 printers include:

  • a special tiling mode with improved color consistency for demanding jobs
  • reduced media waste with the HP Latex Media Saver
  • automatic maintenance of printheads
  • heavy-duty rolls for fewer roll changes

To reduce labor costs, a single operator can manage up to four printers simultaneously.

In brochures for the two printers, HP touts the benefits of end-to-end sustainability in print production. HP points out that “Using water-based inks eliminates exposure to inks with hazard warning labels and high solvent concentrations, and simplifies ventilation, storage, and transportation requirements.”

PrintOS for HP Latex Printers

HP also announced that powerful PrintOS apps are available to users of HP Latex printers. The cloud-based PrintOS platform enables print shops to simplify and automate the production of signage, display, and decor applications. Users of PrintOS can access production data for making better, faster decisions. Apps on the platform include:

  • Print Beat for oversight of printer performance and continuous improvement of production operations;
  • Media Locator for finding sources of HP certified media for HP Latex printers
  • Box for receiving, validating, and routing files to production

Through the Application Suite in Print OS, HP Latex printer owners can get easy access to the HP Signage Suite. Tools in the HP Signage Suite enable customers to design their own roll-up banners, hanging banners, T-shirts, and stickers. To visualize how the finished prints will look, customers can get 3D previews of their banner stand graphics and T-shirts.

After the customer approves the design, the HP Signage Suite app will generate print-ready PDFs. The Signage Suite can be tailored for integration with templates and programs for producing quotes, managing orders, and creating invoices.

HP Latex Print and Cut Solutions

At the 2017 ISA Sign Expo in Orlando, Florida in April, HP unveiled the Latex 300 Print and Cut Series for sign shops, quick printers, and print-service providers.

The dual-device solutions supports simultaneous printing and cutting in a single workflow. The print-and-cut systems improve the efficiency of creating high-quality floor and window graphics, stickers, and customizable clothing with HP Latex inks.

The first two printers in the series are the 54-inch HP Latex 315 Print and Cut and 64-inch HP Latex 355 Print and Cut devices. Each system includes an HP Latex printer, an HP Latex cutter, and the HP FlexiPRINT and CUT RIP. The software provides one-point workflow management that ensures that the printer and cutter work as one. With easy access to the HP Signage Suite app, users don’t need sophisticated design skills for sticker and decal production. Users can experiment with shapes, text, and colors to create the look they want.

“HP print and cut reduces total cost and improves workflow, enabling Latex water-based inks to further replace solvent for indoor and outdoor applications,” said Xavier Garcia, general manager, Large Format Printing Division, HP Inc.

 

New Fabric Option for HP Latex Printers

HP also announced the commercial availability of HP Durable Backlit Fabric. This sturdy, easy-to-use fabric provides outstanding image quality and can resist damage during post-processing or lightbox installation. HP Durable Backlit Fabric will available in October in widths up to 116 inches. Widths up to 126 inches are expected to be available by the end of 2017.

Additional textiles for printing soft signage on HP Latex printers are available from suppliers such as LexJet (EnduraFab by Green Textiles), Top Value Fabrics (made by Aurich Textilen), and A.Berger Textiles. All of these materials are designed to comply with the ISO 105-X12 standard for color-fastness and deliver outstanding print quality and durability without the need for any post processing.

“These new textiles will enable HP Latex customers to differentiate themselves and better serve their clients with innovative applications and environmental benefits,” said Xavier Garcia.

 

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HP Print OS Will Simplify Print Production Management

HP PrintOS is part of a broad portfolio of digital printing solutions that HP Inc. will showcase at Drupa 2016. HP PrintOS is a secure cloud-based operating system that will simplify and automate print production management.

 

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Featuring a suite of intuitive web-based and mobile applications, PrintOS can help simplify and automate print production. Users will be able to start print jobs faster, monitor print status remotely, and track and improve production performance over time. Ultimately, it could create a platform for new types of collaboration among print-service providers that create different niche products.

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According to HP, all types and sizes of print-service providers will be able to benefit from this new open and integrated platform for print production management. PrintOS can be used not only with HP’s Indigo, PageWide Web Press, Scitex and Latex digital printing technologies, but also with digital printing equipment made by other manufacturers such as Roland or EFI.

According to Simon Lewis, PrintOS Business Director, Graphic Solutions Business for HP Inc., the capabilities of PrintOS will change over time. HP will encourage third parties to leverage the openness of PrintOS platform to bring new capabilities to HP’s large and diverse customer base. He predicts that what PrintOS will be able to do three years from now will be radically different than what it can do this year or next year.

Through the PrintOS platform, small printing business owners will be able to “rent” specific capabilities for the length of a certain project. That can be much more cost-effective than having to spend thousands of dollars on software that might not be used much after the client’s project is finished.

“We’re trying to make it easier for our customers to have new capabilities more accessible to them,” explained Lewis. “We’re in it to help our customers be more successful and to help drive their print volumes. No one guarantees that all of their printing will be printing will be on HP equipment, but we still want to do whatever we can to drive our customers’ success.”

The first two applications available through PrintOS include Box and SiteFlow.

Box is a tool designed to reduce the amount of time and intervention required to handle each file that comes into the shop through e-mail or a file-transfer service such as Hightail or WeTransfer. In these cases, the customer service rep has to open up each file and preflight it to make sure it ready to send into production. When print-service providers set up a Box account for their clients, the onboarding of jobs will become more standardized. Box will preflight the job either drop it into the RIP for process or send it to prepress for corrections. By standardizing processes, Box reduces upfront overhead, increases capacity and improves profitability.

Site Flow combines automated order submission, pre-press and shop floor management capabilities. This app addresses the needs of print-service providers who serve the business-to-business and business-to-business-to-consumer markets. With SiteFlow, PSPs will be able to offer attractive costs and higher levels of service to fulfill hundreds, thousands, or tens of thousands of individual, personalized print orders every day, including direct shipment to end customers.

Additional applications for PrintOS will be introduced at Drupa in May. Many apps will be available without charge to existing customers with a service contract. Some apps may be subject to monthly subscriptions and usage charges.

HP Indigo and PageWide Web Press customers can begin using PrintOS on May 31, 2016. It will be rolled out the users of Scitex and Latex printing equipment in 2017.