HP at the NEC
When does a new technology become established? Well, in the case of HP’s latex printing technologies, I’d hazard a guess that it earns that title once the rivals start knocking on the door.Ronen Zioni and I covered the competition in my interview at FESPA Digital, now on Output‘s YouTube stream, and now it’s the UK’s turn as Sign and Digital UK sees the Designjet 1.54m L26500 and 2.64m L28500 lining themselves up as top attractions at the show.
I remember back at Sign and Digital 2008 spending time on the HP stand talking about the imminent arrival of latex technology, and giving a presentation about it at the show. I answered questions about how the formulation worked and what it would mean to the industry, and discussed the potential of the inks to all sorts of folk who came along to one of my discussion slots.
Now, four years on, HP’s latex printers have planted themselves firmly in the roll-to-roll camp and, with the first UK showing at a trade show of this new Designjet duo, people are going to want to know what’s different about the machines. I’m lucky as I got to work with the smaller one at FESPA Digital’s Print Shop Live, and Sign and Digital UK’s visitors are pretty certain to appreciate the refinements that have gone into these machines.
Will the new versions generate interest from a broader band of end users? Yes, I believe so because of the refinements that HP’s introduced to both of these platforms. Faster throughput speeds were inevitable, but double-sided printing is an added bonus as is the improved media handling so that it’s easier to print to digital textiles. Grumbles about gamut can now be moved to one side, too, as the revised inks are a vast improvement.
What are the public expecting from the HP Designjet L26500 and L28500 at Sign and Digital UK? It’s easy to speculate because these two printers can handle a lot, from digital textiles for soft signs and décor through to banners and general interior and exterior displays. There’s likely to be a bit of wrapping happening, too, as James Deacon demonstrates his talents and shows other people how to do it.
Yes, there’s the added bonus that there are some mouth-watering deals up for grabs for show visitors wanting to place a latex order at the show, but many will be tempted regardless of additional fillips. Competition is a good thing, and other latex formulations will continue to emerge. But you need to give the original entrant into the market credit for being well ahead of the rest and setting the standard others have to follow. And imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, after all.
This blog was originally penned for the HP-powered Talk Print! stream on Output and featured at http://www.outputmagazine.com/talk-print/technology/hp-at-sign-and-digital-uk-great-expectations-and-practical-realities/