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HP Indigo 100k

HP Indigo Digital Press: A Complete Overview

Jolene Dobbin
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In 1993, HP Indigo triggered a revolution in the printing industry by unveiling the world’s first digital offset color printing press. A pioneer in digital printing, HP Indigo continues to lead and disrupt the digital printing market and enables customers to innovate, forge new trails, and capture growth opportunities.
Let’s explore how the HP Indigo digital press portfolio delivers innovative, lucrative, and sustainable printing solutions for commercial printing, packaging, and more.

What is digital offset printing?

The history of printing is a long and fascinating one, from its start in the 1400s with the Gutenberg press and the beginnings of the mass production of books all the way to the present day of the digital printing press.
Offset printing is the traditional printing technique that involves transferring an inked image from a plate to a rubber blanket and from there to the print surface. Digital printing, meanwhile, involves printing digital-based images directly to the press. These images are then used to control the deposits of ink, toner, or exposure to reproduce the data. Both inkjet and toner printers use digital printing.
Combine both of these and what do you get? Digital offset printing is the term used to describe the HP Indigo process. It uses a heated blanket, much like in offset printing, before transferring the ink onto the substrate using pressure. This brings improved accuracy and the ability to use a large variety of substrates, as it does not require drying or curing which you find with other digital technologies.
This enables high quality along with a large variety of substrates to print on, which can be done efficiently for print job of any size.

What is the HP Indigo Press?

The HP Indigo Press delivers high-quality prints with the widest color capabilities and substrate versatility. With unique digital printing technologies, color, and ink coverage capacity, HP digital printing solutions routinely match and, at times, exceed the quality of traditional offset printing.
The digitalization of print has affected virtually every area of the printing world, resulting in incredible opportunities for print service providers (PSPs) and label and packaging converters.

Benefits of digital printing vs offset printing

One of the key advantages of digital printing with an HP Indigo Press is the ability to make each page different. While offset printing uses static plates, in digital printing you can create plates for each “page” that is printed. What this means for you is that each page that comes out of the press can be different without individual set up costs.
Digital printing of customized and personalized applications – something that was cost-prohibitive in offset and other analog processes such as flexography – is suddenly well within reach.
HP Indigo Press digital printing spurs the creation of new applications and even entire industries through the printing of short-run labels and packaging, one of a kind photo albums, on-demand books, personalized posters, and so much more.
Every year, the number of impressions printed on HP Indigo presses continues to grow and, in fact, in 2019 alone, it’s estimated that HP Indigo customers printed approximately $15 billion of value, spanning applications across commercial, photo, labels, folding cartons, flexible packaging, web-to-print, security, brand protection, and more.

Built on a unique foundation: The HP Indigo Liquid Electrophotographic (LEP) process

At the heart of each HP Indigo digital press is HP Indigo’s patented Liquid Electrophotography (LEP) technology. It’s the essential foundation that enables HP Indigo’s presses to set the standard for digital printing.
HP Indigo LEP is a thermal offset printing process in which each color separation is transferred from the reusable Photo Imaging Plate (PIP) onto a heated blanket. The heated blanket then causes the pigment-carrying particles within HP Indigo ElectroInk to melt and blend into a smooth film. As this warm film makes contact with the cooler substrate, it solidifies quickly and adheres firmly to the substrate with almost no change in dimension or shape.

Compatible with a variety of substrates

This smooth blending of inks means that there is great flexibility in the substrates that printers can use. In fact, HP Indigo LEP is compatible with a large variety of substrate types, surfaces, and thicknesses including, but not limited to:
  • Paper
  • Card stock
  • Plastic
  • Film
  • Paperboard
  • Metallic media
  • Coated media for security applications
  • Uncoated media for security applications
In fact, there are more than 1500 FSC certified substrates that comply with leading environmental and sustainability requirements available for use with HP Indigo presses.

Unique liquid ink

HP Indigo ElectroInk is the unique liquid ink that’s used in all HP Indigo presses. It contains microscopic-sized pigments that are encapsulated in a special resin, forming electrically charged particles that are dispersed in a carrier liquid. This helps control the ink’s precise placement onto the photoconductor plate.

ElectroInk features

  • Virtually pigment-agnostic: Leverage a range of pigments for the largest variety of inks in the digital printing industry (in addition to CMYK, you can use violet, green orange, white, silver, fluorescent, vivid, fade-resistant, transparent, and even invisible inks)
  • Easily mixes to create off-press spot colors: No other digital printing technology today has this capability
  • Creates a very thin ink layer: Reach the highest coverage and deepest colors with the least quantity of ink

For a broad range of applications

Digital printing isn’t just for short runs. Your longer runs can now affordably tap into the digital flexibility that the HP Indigo digital press portfolio offers with a number of applications.
  • Commercial printing: General commercial printing applications that include brochures, stationery, catalogs, postcards, posters, photos, books, calendars, newsletters, direct mail, and much more.
  • Folding cartons: Packaging converters in the folding carton industry can enjoy applications that include off-the-shelf boards and high-value applications such as rigid box liners, and smart packaging with multi-layered brand protection solutions.
  • Flexible packaging: Digital flexible packaging market applications include retort pouches, pillow bags, sachets, on-demand packaging, food packaging, smart packaging with unique designs and brand protection, and specialty applications like balloons and heat transfer garments, etc.
  • Labels: Produce virtually any type of label and packaging from pressure-sensitive labels to sleeves, wraparounds, and flexible packaging.

A portfolio to meet increasing demands

HP Indigo digital presses are well-positioned to handle increasing demands for variable data printing jobs, shorter runs, reduced inventory, eco-friendly sustainability, and more. The technology helps you meet virtually any need across any type of commercial printing, labels, or packaging job. In the next section, we’ll call out a few products in the HP Indigo digital press portfolio, including:
  • HP Indigo 100K digital press
  • HP Indigo 15K digital press
  • HP Indigo 7K digital press
  • HP Indigo 25K digital press
  • HP Indigo 6K digital press

1. HP Indigo 100K digital press: Non-stop productivity

The HP Indigo 100K digital press is the world's most productive B2 (poster-sized) digital solution that’s engineered for higher productivity with true digital non-stop print capabilities at 6,000 sheets per hour. It generates the highest number of digital B2 sheets throughput in the market with over 2 million B2 sheets per month.
Move the right jobs to digital where they are more efficient and economical, and optimize existing digital work by leveraging larger sheet sizes. Reduce your labor costs with a highly automated press that allows multiple presses to be managed by a single operator.
Because sheets come out already collated from the press, you’ll save time at the bindery as well. Ensure press uptime and reduced service costs with AI-driven serviceability, and produce short runs more economically due to eliminating makeready and plate costs.
Ensure the highest HP Indigo image quality and unmatched color consistency through non-stop color calibration, as well as exceptional reliability with a highly predictable paper handling architecture. Switch easily between jobs with different media types thanks to multiple input and output media sources.

Key technical specs

  • Printing speed: Up to 6,000 sheets per hour in enhanced productivity mode (EPM)
  • Sheet size:
    • 29.5 x 20.81 inches (750 x 530 mm) maximum
    • 20.1 x 13 inches (510 x 330 mm) minimum
  • Image size: 29.1 x 20.1 inches (740 x 510 mm)
  • Press dimensions:
    • Length: 374 inches (9,500 mm)
    • Width: 189 inches (4,800 mm)
    • Height: 94.5 inches (2,400 mm)
  • Press weight: 27,558 lbs (12,500 kg)

2. HP Indigo 15K digital press: Print on any substrate

The HP Indigo 15K digital press is the next generation of the world’s best-selling B2 digital press. It lets you print any application, on any substrate, in any run length.
Do it all with a single press. From general commercial print applications and high-end photo printing to folding cartons, secure documents, gaming, and more, we’ve got you covered. Take advantage of printing on virtually endless substrate types that include uncoated, black and colored, synthetics, metalized, and more.
This HP digital printer offers the widest substrate range in the industry using media from 70 to 600 microns. You can also flexibly switch between – and integrate – substrates seamlessly within a single job.
Eliminate lost production time by replacing ink while you print with 7 ink stations that offer unlimited color combinations, featuring 14 application-specific inks and unlimited spot colors. Maximize total uptime by leveraging automation and workflow optimization tools that help you get more done in a single shift.

Key technical specs

  • Printing speed: Up to 4,600 sheets per hour in EPM
  • Sheet size:
    • Maximum sheet size: 29.5 x 20.81 inches (750 x 530 mm) (In-house cutting: 29.527 x 20.866 inches)
    • Minimum sheet size: 20.1 x 11.7 inches (510 x 297 mm) for simplex; 20.1 x 13 inches (510 x 330 mm) for duplex.
  • Image size: 29.1 x 20.1 inches (740 x 510 mm) maximum
  • Press dimensions:
    • Length: 320 inches (8000 mm)
    • Width: 185 inches (4700 mm)
    • Height: 94 inches (2400 mm)
  • Press weight: 24,250 lbs (11,000 kg)

3. HP Indigo 7K digital press: Enjoy endless applications

With the HP Indigo 7K digital press, you can enjoy endless applications with the widest range of media in the industry; from black and colored media to metalized substrates and synthetics, and over 20 specialty inks like silver, invisible yellow, scratch-off, fluorescents, and many more.
Access millions of color combinations and 97% of the color gamut with 7 ink stations and unlimited spot colors. Deliver premium applications from high-value markets like security, heat transfer, and photo printing with specialty inks and unique substrates on thick media of up to 550 microns.
Print continuously and easily with automatic print queue optimization and a press that lets you print and proof in parallel. Increase press availability and keep production moving with automatic detection of print-quality defects. Run high volumes daily (and for years to come) with this press’s robust build and high duty cycle of up to 5 million pages per month.

Key technical specs

  • Printing speed:
    • 120 four-color 8.5 x 11 (A4) pages per minute (PPM)
    • 160 color 8.5 x 11 (A4) PPM in enhanced productivity mode
    • 240 two-color or monochrome 8.5 x 11 (A4) PPM
  • Sheet size: 13 x 19 inches (330 x 482 mm) maximum
  • Press dimensions:
    • Length: 214.3 inches (5,443 mm)
    • Width: 90.5 inches (2,298 mm)
    • Height: 82.8 inches (2,104 mm)
  • Press weight: 7,300 lbs (3,300 kg)

4. HP Indigo 25K digital press: Ideal for flexible packaging

With the HP Indigo 25K digital press, profitably deliver a vast range of on-demand, sustainable packages with a holistic production ecosystem and better serve small and medium brands by addressing all run lengths, with no minimum order, delivering them in just a few days. Win new business and grow margins by offering smart packaging with brand protection elements, variable data, and unique designs.
Produce a vast range of flexible packaging applications using off-the-shelf substrates with any converting technology. Minimize complexities, waste, and overhead to deliver eco-conscious packaging with the agility demanded by most brands, and deliver food packaging that’s compliant with EU and FDA regulations.

Key technical specs

  • Printing speed:
    • 4-color mode: 101 ft/min (31 m/min)
    • EPM: 138 ft/min (42 m/min)
    • 5-color mode: 82 ft/min (25 m/min)
  • Substrate type: Film, shrink film, label stock, pre-laminates, and paper
  • Substrate thickness: 0.4 mil to 16 mil/ 0.4 pt to 16 pt (10 to 400 microns)
  • Image size: 29.37 x 44.09 inches (746 x 1,120 mm) max
  • Press dimensions:
    • Width: 383 inches (9,730 mm)
    • Height: 94.5 inches (2,400 mm)
    • Depth: 185 inches (4,700 mm)
  • Press weight: 33,112 lbs (15,000 kg)

5. HP Indigo 6K digital press: Ideal for printing labels

The HP Indigo 6K digital press is the narrow-format digital label press that offers nearly any application imaginable to meet the needs of the world’s most creative brands. Diversify your business and gain new revenue streams by producing virtually any label or packaging application from pressure-sensitive labels to sleeves, in-mold labeling (IML), wrap-arounds, flexible packaging, and folding cartons.
Offer digital embellishment solutions that include eye-catching print-over-foil designs using the in-line KURZ DMJetliner® and digital foil, tactile and spot varnish. Gain new business opportunities with the widest range of specialty inks including HP Indigo ElectroInk Silver, fluorescents, and a comprehensive white ink portfolio.
Speed time-to-color through HP Indigo Spot Master technology and automated color-matching process, and increase output with HP PrintOSX workflow and converting solutions that enable end-to-end automation from order to fulfillment.

Key technical specs

  • Printing speed:
    • 4-color mode: Up to 98 ft/min (30 m/min)
    • Enhanced productivity mode: Up to 130 ft/min (40 m/min)
    • 1 or 2 color mode: Up to 196 ft/min (60 m/min)
  • Substrate type: Pressure-sensitive label stock, paper, unsupported films, and paperboard
  • Substrate thickness: 0.5 to 18 pt. (12 to 450 microns)
  • Image size: Maximum: 12.59 x 38.58 inches (320 x 980 mm)
  • Press dimensions:
    • Length: 228 inches (5,780 mm)
    • Width: 155 inches (3,940 mm)
    • Height: 83 inches (2,108 mm)
  • Press weight: 12,157 lbs (5,400 kg)

Sustainable printing with HP Indigo digital presses

All HP Indigo presses are designed with the environment in mind, and are manufactured carbon neutral. They help print service providers avoid obsolescence and reduce waste by printing only what you need; when and where you need it.
Sustainability credentials include the Green Leaf mark and certification from TUV Austria’s “OK Compost” verifying that HP Indigo ElectroInks can be used as printing inks for packaging and are recoverable through composting and biodegradation in accordance with leading standards.
In addition, HP indigo ElectroInks comply with leading food packaging regulations (US FDA and European EU Food Legislation) and are free of UV-reactive chemistries.

Summary

HP Indigo digital presses can help you tackle a plethora of requirements across your commercial printing, label, or packaging jobs. The unique technology underpinning the digital presses in this portfolio enables the highest-quality prints and other output with an extensive range of color and substrate capacity so you can confidently print your short and long runs.

About the Author

Jolene Dobbin is a contributing writer for HP® Tech Takes. Jolene is an East Coast-based writer with experience creating strategic messaging, marketing, and sales content for companies in the high-tech industry.

Disclosure: Our site may get a share of revenue from the sale of the products featured on this page.

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