In the marketing world, it tends to be overused to describe a new product as “groundbreaking” or “revolutionary”. However, HP is confident that today’s official launch of the 22-inch PageWide Advantage 2200 inkjet web press will change the landscape of the high-speed production inkjet printing market for commercial, direct mail and publishing-related products such as books.
The new PageWide Advantage 2200 press platform, which will be the first of a future series of offerings, features a very compact footprint, modular and expandable design that allows for one to three high-efficiency dryer (HED) configurations, depending on the product application. Speeds of up to 500 fpm for full color or 800 fpm monochrome and media versatility for printing up to 300 g/m²/14-pt. substrates at high running speeds. Due to its smaller size and modular component architecture, the new press can also be installed and commissioned at the customer’s site in just one week.
The short installation and set-up time is one of the main reasons HP PageWide Industrial will operate a PageWide Advantage 2200 press as the main attraction and focal point of HP’s 21,000 square foot facility. Booth (C4256) during PRINTING United Expo, held October 19-21 in Las Vegas.
“We’re just incredibly excited that this day has come,” Barbara McManus, director of research and development at HP PageWide Industrial, announced to a small group of industry analysts and media earlier last week during a undisclosed pre-launch briefing at HP Massive Corvallis, Oregon, R&D, test and manufacturing facility.
The fact that HP Industrial presses have been with customers for more than 13 years has enabled McManus and her R&D team to receive feedback on which press components and attributes are performing well and where HP PageWide Industrial is refocusing its R&D efforts had to. This has played a key role in the development of the new press platform.
For example, the new Advantage 2200 features the same robust print bars as the T400 press and uses HP’s Brilliant inks. But – to reach new markets and cover more sites – several new HP innovations have also been incorporated. Visually striking are a compact design and footprint, a dual paper path that runs through a print sheet, easy operator access to the paper path and print bars, a user-friendly interface, and an overall reduction in the number of parts (some of which are 3D printed). to maximize press uptime through increased reliability and reduced operator intervention.
The HED dryer technology is also a key development. Large volumes of air move and circulate at high speed to mass transfer moisture away at maximum print speeds. “The paper actually floats through the dryer, which minimizes stress on the paper,” she explained. “This results in flatter sheets and less impact on the paper. We also heat the air near the paper web.” As a result, and due to the fact that up to 80% of the air is recirculated, the cost of electricity consumption per side will be lower using the HED dryers, reflecting the strong commitment of HP for sustainability reflects.
“And then there are things that you don’t see when you look at the new press,” McManus added. “We’ve got some new electronics and we’ve minimized the board count, which in turn increases reliability, and we’ve added some new firmware and software.”
Yale Goldis, director of strategy, commercial product and solutions, HP PageWide Industrial, noted that current HP PageWide customers and key prospects are very impressed. “We brought in some very knowledgeable customers to look at the new equipment and put it through its paces [difficult] Files we hadn’t seen. They came here to break the machinery,” he joked. “They were blown away… Our customers will be able to offer their customers more workspaces and more flexibility to take their businesses where they need to go.”
Similar to the positive feedback from existing PageWide users, well-known industry analyst Marco Boer – who also chairs the annual Inkjet Summit – was impressed with the Advantage 2200 platform from the perspective of an independent digital printing technology expert. “I’m not a supporter of HP, but I think all of us, probably including HP, underestimate the huge interest in this particular platform,” Boer said.
“Due to the quality and the productivity, we are at a level where the market is fundamentally changing,” he added. “And it’s being helped in part by the whole COVID supply chain issue. So that was an accelerator where printers suddenly say, ‘I have to do something. I can’t wait.” And now this is the platform that’s going to get them through it. So, without sounding like a promoter of HP, this is the beginning of that turning point.”
Vahaaj Khan, Sales Director Americas, HP PageWide Industrial, shared a similar excitement at the strong interest he has already received from existing customers and prospects who are serious about how an Advantage 2200 could strengthen their business. “This technology will give them this unique competitive advantage that nobody else can offer them,” said Khan, citing the Advantage 2200’s high throughput and productivity, its ability to print at 14-pt. Substrates and HP PageWide’s overall manufacturing philosophy, which allows for continuous technology upgrades to existing machines in this area. “Innovation will come through this platform over many years, so once they invest, they have such a long trajectory to add more and more features. These are all unique values that HP can offer its customers.”
The first two Advantage 2200 pilot users
Information was also given about the first two pilot users of the new press platform. O’Neil Digital Solutions – the very first user of an HP PageWide web press in 2009, who has subsequently installed 13 PageWide presses – has now been running a press with two dryer configurations and HP’s optional passive air cooling for several months. In a video, Ann Gayou, O’Neil’s senior vice president of plant management, noted the ease with which O’Neil’s machine operators were able to learn how to operate the new press – despite the company being in the midst of its Peak season is when it first went live – and how quickly O’Neil was able to begin serving millions of live customer pages.
From a very different perspective, Wheeling, Illinois-based SG360°, which was not an existing HP PageWide customer, installed an Advantage 2200 press configuration with three dryers and an active cooling option in just one week to deliver a mix of highly dynamic, mostly direct mail with high range. “Within a few weeks of having this press up and running, we have printed over 20 million images and are absolutely excited about the future possibilities with their superb print quality,” said Kevin Hughes, COO of SG360°. The choice of SG360° as the second pilot user – where HP PageWide came into play as a new entrant – also demonstrated HP’s confidence in the new press offering.
Annette Friskopp, Global Head and GM at HP PageWide, and her team remain excited to see how the new printing platform will make waves across the industry. “This new PageWide Advantage platform is a game changer for the commercial printing industry,” she said. “HP has listened to our customers and we know that ease of use and uptime are critical success factors. This new press offers configurations that help customers optimize the press for quality, productivity, versatility and economy to grow their digital production business.”
Based on the feedback so far from existing customers, key prospects and industry experts, the Advantage press platform appears to be a winner that will help transform the market landscape for production inkjet printing in the years to come. If you’re planning on attending PRINTING United Expo – and might not even be a candidate for a high-speed web inkjet press – the new PageWide Advantage 2200 press should still be on your must-see list.