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
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.