Hewlett Packard PageWide Wide For­mat Printers

Last week I attend­ed a press event con­duct­ed by Hewlett Packard at the IRgA/ERA Con­ven­tion in Atlanta to intro­duce their new PageWide XL wide for­mat sys­tems. The live pre­sen­ta­tion was also broad­cast around the world on the inter­net as a webi­nar. You can view a replay of that entire pre­sen­ta­tion here: HP PageWide webi­nar. Click “Watch Now” when you get that page loaded and then you’ll be asked for your email address to be able to view it. Extreme­ly inter­est­ing and full of good infor­ma­tion. Note that it’s 41 min­utes long.

I had a pri­vate, half-hour ses­sion with Ramon Pas­tor, VP at Hewlett Packard, and the R&D team that devel­oped the PageWide tech­nol­o­gy. They also gave me a per­son­al demon­stra­tion of the XL 8000, the flag­ship PageWide sys­tem — let­ting me look inside the print­er, change the media rolls, change print heads, etc. So I expe­ri­enced it first hand.

Full dis­clo­sure: Hewlett Packard paid my trav­el expens­es and con­ven­tion reg­is­tra­tion fee. Thanks to the folks at HP for doing that, invit­ing me, and the hos­pi­tal­i­ty they showed me (and every­one else). Although they paid my way, it does not in any way con­tribute to any bias on my part — I’m here to report what I saw and my impres­sions, I am vendor-neutral.

Although HP answered all my spec­i­fi­ca­tion, con­fig­u­ra­tion, and oper­a­tions ques­tions, they declined to pro­vide any pric­ing infor­ma­tion. They’re not ready to roll that info out yet, so I still don’t know the acqui­si­tion price or the cost per square foot we can expect when it’s run­ning. They have only said that equip­ment and oper­at­ing costs will be bet­ter than the cur­rent pric­ing for LED-based sys­tems. If that holds up to be true, then the PageWide will have an earth-shak­ing impact in the wide for­mat world.

Hewlett Packard PageWide Printers

Hewlett Packard PageWide XL Series

Photo courtesy of Hewlett Packard

Equip­ment summary

The PageWide print­ers will print both mono­chrome and four-col­or prints — even mixed togeth­er in the same job. Here’s a sum­ma­ry of what I found out about the four PageWide wide for­mat sys­tems that will enter the mar­ket­place lat­er this year.

Tar­get applications/markets:

  • CADGISAEC tech­ni­cal documents
  • Point of pur­chase / Point of sale posters

Com­mon specs and configurations:

  • 1200 dpi, mono­chrome or col­or printing
  • 4 col­or — CMYK
  • Aque­ous (pig­ment) inks — can be used outdoors
  • Media:
    • Bond for tech­ni­cal applications
    • Coat­ed — satin, mat­te, gloss for point-of-sale and poster applications
    • Mat­te polypropy­lene for roll-up banners
  • Touch­screen user inter­face for oper­a­tions, main­te­nance. Includes USB port for adding print files.
  • HP Smart­Stream Pre­flight Man­ag­er soft­ware for job assem­bly and man­age­ment with print preview
  • RIP / controller.The system’s con­troller includes the Adobe PDF Print Engine (APPE) — mean­ing that it eas­i­ly sup­ports all PDF files and a PDF print work­flow. It will also work with the fol­low­ing 3rd par­ty RIPs: 
    • Caldera
    • Onyx
    • Col­or­gate
    • Sepi­a­line
    • Plot­Works (PLP / OpCenter)
    • ARC

Mod­els:

There are four dif­fer­ent ver­sions of the PageWide wide for­mat series sys­tems in the devel­op­ment stream.

XL 8000 — high vol­ume pro­duc­tion (Repro houses)

  • Launch: Sep­tem­ber 2015
  • Print­er
  • 30 D/A1-size prints per minute (same speed for mono or color)
  • Two 775 ml ink car­tridges per col­or — auto­mat­ic switch­ing when empty
  • 2 to 6 online media rolls
  • 40 inch media width (1.016m)
  • Can be cou­pled with a stand­alone HP Pro Scan­ner for copy­ing and scan-to-file
  • Fin­ish­ing options: 
    • High-capac­i­ty stacker
    • Fold­er

XL 5000 — mid-vol­ume pro­duc­tion (cen­tral repro­duc­tion departments)

  • Launch: Novem­ber 2015
  • Mod­els:
    • XL 5000 Print­er — print­er only
    • XL 5000 MFP — adds HP Pro inte­grat­ed scanner
  • 14 D/A1-size prints per minute (same speed for mono or color)
  • Two 400 ml ink car­tridges per col­or — auto­mat­ic switch­ing when empty
  • 2 to 4 online media rolls
  • Fin­ish­ing options: 
    • Fold­er
    • High-capac­i­ty stacker
    • Top-deliv­ery stack­er (100 sheets)

XL 4500 - low vol­ume production

  • Launch: Jan­u­ary 2016
  • Mod­els:
    • XL 4500 Print­er — print­er only
    • XL 4500 MFP — adds HP Pro inte­grat­ed scanner
  • 12 D/A1-size prints per minute (same speed for mono or color)
  • One 400 ml ink car­tridge per color
  • 2 to 4 online media rolls
  • Fin­ish­ing options: 
    • Top-deliv­ery stack­er (100 sheets)

XL 4000 - low vol­ume production

  • Launch: Jan­u­ary 2016
  • Mod­els:
    • XL 4000 Print­er — print­er only
    • XL 4000 MFP — adds HP Pro inte­grat­ed scanner
  • 8 D/A1-size prints per minute (same speed for mono or color)
  • One 400 ml ink car­tridge per color
  • 2 to 4 online media rolls
  • Fin­ish­ing options: 
    • Top-deliv­ery stack­er (100 sheets)

As I men­tioned before, they let me get inside: I changed media rolls and I changed out print heads. Both oper­a­tions were very easy and quick to complete.

  • You place the media roll onto a tray in the draw­er and then slide the core hold­ers into place from either side. Chang­ing a roll took a minute or less — includ­ing cut­ting a fresh new lead­ing edge with the built-in cutter.
  • Chang­ing print heads involved open­ing a flip-up door on the top of the print­er, pulling up a tab, pulling up a han­dle to remove the old head, push­ing the new head down into its hold­er, push­ing down the tab, and then clos­ing the com­part­ment door. Chang­ing the head took about a minute and once I switched it out, the sys­tem cal­i­brat­ed itself for the new head in less than 10 minutes.
  • Also, there are no man­u­al clean­ing oper­a­tions required — you don’t need to get inside to wipe down the print heads with a cloth, you don’t need to wear plas­tic gloves to han­dle anything.

Nat­u­ral­ly, I was impressed by the print speed I saw — 30 D/A1’s per minute is amaz­ing! Add that to all the oth­er pro­duc­tiv­i­ty fea­tures and you have one astound­ing sys­tem. The HP XL PageWide series com­bines the best fea­tures of all the wide for­mat prod­ucts that have appeared in the mar­ket in the past 20 years into a sin­gle system.

It will have a major impact in the wide for­mat mar­ket — for wide for­mat print­er man­u­fac­tur­ers and ven­dors, and for the users of that equipment.

Stay tuned — I have more detailed infor­ma­tion on the tech­nol­o­gy and how it works. I will con­tin­ue to keep you updated.

If you’d like to see the PageWide in oper­a­tion here’s a quick (< 2 min­utes) video.

Comments

  1. Thanks for shar­ing this post

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