Drupa 2012 saw the introduction to the international market of the HP Indigo 10000, the new flagship press from the founder of liquid ink based digital printing. Now, in April, the 10000 was introduced to the South African market by Alon Bar-Shany, HP Vice President and General Manager. Said Gavin van Rensburg, CEO of Kemtek Print Solutions, local distributor for HP Indigo, ‘The fact that HP has decided to launch the Indigo 10000 in South Africa so early is an indication of the importance that HP Indigo attributes to the local market. There are a number of Indigo users in this country and the Indigo 10000 will be of real interest to many of them.’ Alon commented, ‘Hosting intimate, customer-facing events like these allows us to spend one-on-one time with one another and develop a more personal relationship. South Africa, like any other country, has a unique business culture that presents a variety of growth opportunities coupled with various operational challenges. If we are to grow with our South African customers then we need to understand their needs and the only way to do this is to communicate effectively and build strong long-term relationships. This is why events of this kind work so well for all concerned.’ The very first Indigo press was launched under a veil of secrecy at Ipex 1993 in Birmingham. Nearly 20 years later the launch of 10000 coincided with the celebration of 20 billion pages printed worldwide on Indigo digital colour presses. The launch of the Indigo 1000 in 1993 was partially in response to the market demand for short-run colour. Benny Landa, the founder of Indigo saw the Indigo 1000 as a means of redefining printing. When the Indigo 1000 was launched, many believed that it would not survive while others immediately saw the potential of the technology and embraced it wholeheartedly. Now 20 years later and many billions of printed images and HP Indigo has launched its largest format digital colour press yet, with an imaging format of 740 x 510mm. The advantages of this size are immediately apparent. They include the ability to print large items such as six-page A4 brochures, pocket folders, posters and lay-flat books including Photobooks. It also features a built-in duplex option allowing immediate double-sided printing, thereby reducing the need for extra printing passes. Alon Bar-Shany explained how the conventional printing industry is in a state of change. Even well-established companies such as the major printing press manufacturers and universally-known titles such as Newsweek and Encyclopaedia Britannica have been negatively affected by recent trends in the printing industry. Both Newsweek and the Encyclopaedia have transferred their content to digital format. The result of all of this reduction in the volume of printed material, whether in favour of digital platforms or simply the reduction in print stockpiling in favour of shorter-runs and just-in-time demand has had a serious impact on printers around the world. Some of the largest printing companies in the world have seen dramatic reductions in their turnover compared to their peak performance period just six years ago. Local printers have not been unaffected with numerous companies being forced to look closely at their businesses and yet others opting for market consolidation through mergers and acquisitions. On the positive side, the changes in the industry have precipitated a series of changes which have seen previously niche markets become more important and have also seen the development of completely new market segments. Almost all of the new market segments revolve around the main feature of digital printing – namely its ability to handle extremely short runs. All the other benefits exploit the other main feature of the digital printing – namely variability. Prior to the development of full-colour digital printing, which was developed and perfected by HP Indigo, innovative printing applications such as Photobooks, Trans Promo CRM, variable digital printing, digital books and versioning of publications such as newspapers did not exist. They owe their very existence to the development of digital printing. One of the latest developments to come out of digital printing is augmented reality where digital printing works hand-in-hand with other digital platforms to create a complete experience giving users access to printed material, as well as audio and video content. These developments have been as a direct result of the growing demand for digital printing. However, they have also driven the demand for greater functionality from digital printing presses. The result has been the fastest rate of development in printing technology ever. It has driven digital printing manufacturers to constantly develop new capabilities for their machines. The Indigo 10000 is the culmination of many years of development work on the part of HP Indigo and is in direct response to the demand for larger printing sizes and greater levels of productivity. Alon indicated why he is excited about the future of digital printing in South Africa. ‘There have been many changes in the commercial printing sector over the last five years and in Europe, where traditional offset printing is in decline, businesses are adapting to change, realising that a fundamental shift in behaviour is required to stay ahead of the pack. During the last two years, some South African printers have been a little more reserved, choosing to remain cautious with regards to new equipment investments. There may be various reasons for this, like the exchange rate or confusion regarding ROI. ‘The latter is a critical factor that needs to be considered when making a purchase for growth. In order to realise the benefits that can be enjoyed by investing in the latest digital solutions I’d like to encourage more interaction between local South African printing customers and their international counterparts who have already made positive changes to their businesses.’ The Indigo 10000 features four, six or seven process colours for accurate colour representation and accurate Pantone emulation and spot-colour matching. This combination of inks gives a wide colour gamut allowing almost every printable colour to be faithfully recreated. Productivity is important, the ability to print as many sheets as possible in the shortest time frame. The Indigo 10000 features various rates of throughput depending on the specifications of the job. Single-sided, single-colour the press can print 6900 sheets per hour, while four-over-four it can print 1725 sheets per hour. Four-colour, single-sided it produce 3450 sheets per hour. However, it also features Enhanced Productivity Mode which increases this speed to 4600 sheets per hour. The Indigo 10000 can handle a wide range of media and substrates including both coated and uncoated. Given the time that the Indigo range of presses, and the patented ElectroInk, have been available, HP Indigo presses are able to handle the widest range of papers and substrates of any digital colour press on the market. Although the Indigo 10000 was launched at Drupa it only entered Beta testing in September with a total of ten customers volunteering to test the press. Since then, with beta testing complete, numerous other customers around the world have shown interest in the 10000 and some have even installed the press. Some of the original beta test customers have already expressed a desire to install a second machine. Alon commented, ‘PSPs constantly look to improve productivity, expand capabilities and diversify applications to deliver more value, as well as higher quality products to clients. The HP Indigo 10000 is delivering on its promise to change the economics for our customers by helping them produce a broader range of applications that allows them to increase their profitability.’ The 10000 forms part of a new line of presses called the Series 4 presses comprising the 10000, 20000 and the 30000. HP Indigo has developed these presses to serve very distinct market sectors. Alon commented, ‘There are three traditional printing methods used to produce printed packaging – flexo, litho and gravure – each with their own disciplines and printing procedures. Two factors unite these methods – time and cost. Job preparation, including ink mixing, correct print registration and tension control, takes time to perfect and, while these methods provide benefits for long campaigns, they are rarely cost-effective for short-run jobs. As a result, we have recently launched two packaging-specific platforms, the 20000, a webfed press aimed at the flexible packaging market, and the 30000 sheetfed press, for folding carton converters. In both these packaging sectors converters have to deal with modern supply chain pressures, growing SKU diversity, and frequent redesigns. Both HP Indigo systems allow printers to produce short-run jobs at any time with no makeready and minimum waste. Variable data printing including text, graphics, barcodes and security elements can also be applied if required.’ The local market has accepted the features offered by the range of Indigo presses from the very outset. Every new Series of presses from Indigo which has been released has achieved positive and fast acceptance from the market. This is due in no small way to the dedicated approach from Kemtek. Alon concluded, ‘Kemtek has created a strong following for HP Indigo, backed up by its service commitment and technical know-how. Investment in the right partnerships provides for productive local discussions and business models and, along with Kemtek, we aim to improve our propositions by collaborating more closely with customers on special projects and liaising with brand owners if required. World-class training will continue to be our priority and, once again we will be hosting our highly successful HP Capture training seminars in Johannesburg and Cape Town during this year. ‘South African printers are either investing to add capacity or replacing old analogue systems. In the commercial sector many are upgrading their Series 2 presses to the latest platforms and, with the introduction of our Series 4 machines they are able to increase printing capacity and utilise new features, which in turn allow them to pursue new market opportunities. We are giving printers the opportunity to leap frog from older print systems up to the most modern machines which can handle different substrates and provide various special effects.’ Not only is HP Indigo the leader of the digital print market due to the fact that it was the original pioneer, it is also the leader due to the fact that it continues to develop and expand the range of capabilities of its technology. This dedication to improvement means that customers can stay ahead of the pack and can become leaders in their own right.
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