HP Digital Presses
HP Indigo presses
HP Indigo is well known around the world in the printing industry as a juggernaut of digital printing. Digital printing can achieve the same results as a flexo press, but without any parts like plates, and requires no tooling. Short runs and last-minute projects are incredibly efficient and reduce costs significantly. This flexibility makes the possibilities endless on what one can do with a digital press. This technology has placement in packaging, labels, books, etc. This is crucial when considering the current decline of printed literature like newspapers.
Not only is digital printing extremely versatile, but it almost completely reduces waste. In a typical offset scenario, you could account for up to 42% waste. This is not the case when it comes to HP Indigo printing. There is only around 2% waste by product produced by an HP digital press. Now, here is the most interesting component of the digital press and that is the Liquid Electrophotography (LEP). This technology allows up to seven different types of inks, including traditional standards such as CMYK. It is also cable of running metallics and spot processes. All of this can be accomplished in a single press, greatly extending the gamut capabilities. Did I mention that these inks are interchangeable? You can mix and match in any conceivable combination and in several layers as well. HP blew the industry away with the introduction of the 20000 series. Recently, they announced their sixth gen press line up. These will be the first presses utilizing their revamped LEP technology, under the banner of LEPx. The new V12 can perform runs at 120 linear meters per minute and can have up to 12 stations on a single press. You can review a complete technical overview of the 100K series here.
So, how does the LEPx process work exactly? Step one in the process is to create the image. As soon as the operation hits start on the project, an LED writing head will begin constructing your image in the form of an invisible electrostatic field on a Photo Imaging Drum. From there, the electro ink particles are measured and accurately attached to the electrostatic field on the Photo Imaging Drum. Once the particles are attached, the separation is generated by a single imaging engine compromised of multiple parts. This makes up the vital three parts that control the process which include the LED writing head, the photo imaging drum, and two inking sources. The next phase is the ink application to the substrate. Each one of the 6 imaging engines applies a color separation to a blanket belt. The blank belt then accumulates all the separations and transfers to a precise registered image to the substrate. LEP was already a well-tuned machine and the introduction of LEPx multiplies the speed and the benefits of the original LEP technology and simplifies the entire process. If there is anything to take away from all of this, it is the fact that HP is just getting started. When it comes to the printing industry, HP certainly has a firm handle on things.