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HP Indigo 10000: An Early Look at Installs

The HP Indigo 10000 B2 press caused a bit of a stir at drupa 2012. Now, more than a year later, the first sold units are making their way into the marketplace. Senior Editor Cary Sherburne takes a look at two very different installs to see how this new press is fitting in and the impact it might be having on conventional printing technologies.

By Cary Sherburne
Published: July 29, 2013


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Cary Sherburne is a well-known author, journalist and marketing consultant whose practice is focused on marketing communications strategies for the printing and publishing industries.

Cary Sherburne is available for speaking engagements and consulting projects. To get more information contact us.

Please offer your feedback to Cary. She can be reached at cary@whattheythink.com.



By Eddy Hagen on Jul 29, 2013

"(...) offers Enhanced Production Mode (EPM) which allows printing of black using CMY, thereby reducing the amount of ink (...)"
Reducing the *amount of ink* seems strange to me: you will limit the *number of inks* (CMY instead of CMYK), but the amount of ink will be higher: K is replaced by CMY, therefor demanding 3 times as much ink for everything that is black.
Due to the construction of the Indigo presses it will offer a speed enhancement.


By Rolando Martinez on Jul 29, 2013

Hello Eddy, I'm the HP Indigo Product Manager for the Indigo 10000 and 7000 family for North America. Thank you for the comment. You are correct, the EPM process uses CMY instead of CMYK, so any areas with Black ink will be replaced by the three colors, thus using more ink indeed. The confusion may come from the fact that the press in EPM mode uses less cycles and each cycle is a color. So it's less "ink cycles" or impressions. Only 3 impressions ("ink cycles") versus 4. But each of the 3 impressions (or ink cycles) is going to lay down more ink, but since it's only 3 cycles there is a reduced cost for the 3 cycles and a faster print time as you point out. Also important to mention that this new technology (EPM - Enhanced Productivity Mode), which a lot of customers are already taking advantage of, is backward compatible and available as an option for previous generation Indigo presses as well, such as Series 2 and 3 (Indigo 5x00, 7x00, 6x00). It's standard with the new HP Indigo 5600, 7600 and 10000.


By Cary Sherburne on Jul 29, 2013

Rolando, thanks for clarifying. My mistake!


By Erik Nikkanen on Jul 29, 2013

Ronaldo. Question, for large areas of black, does the set of CMY inks result in a suitably neutral dark black?


By Rolando Martinez on Jul 29, 2013

It varies, but generally speaking yes, a pure grey comes out very neutral. Solid blacks come out very good as well.


By Greg Goldman on Jul 30, 2013

hmmm…Cary thanks for the article, great to hear what early users are doing with the next generation digital devices on the market. However is there an elephant in the room that no one is talking about? The price of digital print (even with larger sheets) is still too expensive to convert the capacities being printed by traditional offset presses . The HP10000's B2 format may have moved the offset to digital cross-over point slightly... but not significantly. In addition, it appears as though the VAST majority of printed products still fit on smaller A3-13x19 layouts so the larger format presses enables slightly lower costs and faster throughput. However nothing when compared to the cost and speed of a traditional offset press. Mr. Benett's comments to "get our customers to think at the concept stage about what they could accomplish with this larger sheet size and still be able to do digital-specific things such as variable data.” Leads me to believe offset is alive and well, given the price conscious nature of customers.

It appears that while digital is more profitable than offset, the overall volume of digital print remains relatively low when compared to offset. It has taken roughly 20 years for digital to accumulate double-digit percentages of the printed page market. So even with new larger format digital presses, it is only short run, variable data, higher value pages that make up the digital volume...why? Simply COST. Offset printed pages and the conversion to digital will be significant ONLY when the price and impression costs are much lower than it is today. From my perspective the economics of digital printing have not changed significantly enough since the introduction of larger sized B2 presses.

Perhaps not what the vendors of digital printing equipment want to hear, but perhaps what traditional offset printers want to say.


By Erik Nikkanen on Jul 31, 2013

Greg, I have to agree. Ultimately the cost of paper and ink for any given printing process will be what is important. Offset still has the edge there.

Also offset lithography has great potential to advance if only the industry can change its faulty understanding of how the process works. It has the potential of having extremely short makereadies based on correcting the issues that have prevented consistency and predictability.


By Greg Imhoff on Jul 31, 2013

First I agree with Greg Goldman and thank Carey for the article. Digital is growing because it is. As the article indicates Transactional and Tag & Label are both profitable markets be it Offset, Flexo or Digital.

CMY as K does have some issues depending upon micron spot size and other elements here in ink fusion and processing but this is not I think the key point - which is imaging resolution.

One limiting issue to digital taking more market share is cost of unit production. Another area to improve upon for Digital market growth curve really taking off - is in RIP imaging output resolution.

Offset and Flexo output at much higher imaging levels (Greg I know you will attest) and so end users can see the difference - whether they express this or not. This is reality so my advice to HP, Landa, etc. business planning first - is to improve the resolution engine outputs then watch your markets and profits soar.


By Cary Sherburne on Jul 31, 2013

First of all, thanks to all of you for thanking me for the article ... I appreciate that you are reading my work!

Now for the snarkiness :-)

It's all very well and good for us pundits to be having this conversation about how offset could be better than digital if only, and how offset and flexo output at higher imagine levels, and how CMY can't deliver good enough quality, yada yada, but if you read what the actual users say, you get a completely different story. They are the guys putting the money on the table. They are saying it is good enough for them and for their demanding brand owners. They are saying that the actual physical cost per copy as a standalone component is not the issue when you consider the other benefits digital has to offer. I think we are having the wrong conversation here.

Stay tuned for two upcoming articles on the initial orders for 30000s in folding carton. That is a demanding environment and these guys make it absolutely clear that digital has a specific role to play.

I was stunned by the Avery Dennison objective to move 50% of their production to digital! And that is in the high end apparel industry! To me, that says a great deal about what the users and their customers think about this whole thing, as opposed to what we, on the outside looking in, think. I love you guys, but let's face it. What the guys on the front line are thinking and doing is what really matters. That's why I do these things in interview format, so that we get their exact words and I am not putting my personal spin on it ...

Keep reading, keep commenting! It is very much appreciated. Sure would like to hear from some printers/converters as well!


By Greg Imhoff on Jul 31, 2013

Cary no one disagrees and I too am stunned at the Avery revelation yet not - if considering this may be mainly in Tag & Label conversion.

The market is changing and may change faster with matching image resolutions.


By Greg Goldman on Jul 31, 2013

Cary, I agree the guys on the front lines and in the middle of this offset to digital conversion have committed their strategy and most important their capital. They see the change coming and have dedicated the future of their companies on making it happen.
Making a living assisting printers & publishers make the conversion enables me to see both ownership and operations perspectives and it just seems like digital is still growing slower than it should primarily because of cost.
Don't get me wrong I am a strong proponent of the move to digital. It IS happening, but looking at it from a WW perspective it is at a much slower pace than anticipated. Looking forward to the folded carton articles. Out of all the segments folded carton seems to be lagging in the conversion to digital. I suspect HP will not be able to make the presses fast enough :-)


By Cary Sherburne on Jul 31, 2013

I'm sure HP hopes they have that problem. Part of the "lag" in folding carton, I think, is the finishing bottleneck. Products like those from Kama (referenced in one of the upcoming 30000 articles) and Highcon will help spur adoption rates.

Greg G, you and I go back a long way ... in 1993/1995, we all thought we would see a huge adoption rate for digital printing, variable data and the like, and you are right, it just didn't happen at the projected rate. Hard to believe 20 years have gone by! Still ... for those willing to make the investment, there are significant advantages, even with today's price/performance situation. But they have to know how to sell value, and programs, not transactional print on price. I know I am preaching to the choir here ...


By Greg Imhoff on Jul 31, 2013



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