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Thought Leadership Video Series

HP's Ed McCarthy on expanding your business with wide format

Published on April 5, 2011

Everyone is looking for a competitive edge and growing their business further. Ed McCarthy, HP's Large Format Marketing Manager, shares the secret of how to make the decision to grow your business in the large format world.

Dave Murphy :Welcome to HP’s Educational Video Series; hope you enjoy it.

Cary Sherburne: Hi, I’m, Cary Sherburne, Senior Editor at WhatTheyThink.com and I'm here with Ed McCarthy who is large format marketing manager at HP. Welcome.

Ed McCarthy: Thank you very much Cary.

Cary: You know one of the areas that’s always been indentified as a good opportunity for business growth for commercial printers or for other folks is large format and of course you got some pretty significant offerings but buying the equipment is just the beginning. So how do you help them make the decision and then grow the business?

Ed: That’s a great question. In fact, that’s a question that’s often asked and when I ask that question I actually try to break things up into three major pieces. The first one is I talk about how you can grow with new applications and the latest addition to our portfolio is with latex technology. Our latex technology is enabling growth in like for example general commercial printers that are doing small format today. They can do large format and they can print on a myriad of different substrates. Perhaps the most interesting thing with our latex technology is we can do over 300 different substrates.

Cary: Wow and do they have to be treated or special?

Ed: They can be untreated; in fact, that’s one of the benefits is you can have very low cost substrates. For example, you can use vinyls. We have cast vinyls that our customers are printing on today which is really opening up a number of new doors. For example, I was in a show in Los Angeles a couple months ago and one of our customers was showing me all the different things that they could print.

Cary: They’re darn creative aren’t they?

Ed: Extremely and they handed me a surfboard and they said that they printed this gorgeous print on this cast vinyl and then they adhered it to the surface of the surfboard. Some of the other things that they showed me included shower curtains, as well as and then they handed me a pair of shoes and I said you’re kidding, right, and they said no this is a substrate that we printed with a really interesting design and they formed it into footwear. So the sky’s the limit in terms of what you can do with these things and of course one of the key benefits is you can also use these things for outdoor. So if you have outdoor applications, if you have indoor applications, in fact one of the most interesting things that I’ve seen lately is HP now has come out with a wallpaper. It’s a PVC-free HP wallpaper. Back in the early days I used to hang wallpaper with my father and it was a real headache. Now all you have to do literally is take your favorite digital image, print it off using one of our latex printers and with the simply dipping it into a trough of warm water it activates the substrate on the back, you can apply it to the wall and for several seconds its repositionable so you can slide it into.

Cary: Wow, get those wrinkles out

Ed: Get the wrinkles out, exactly, exactly. Slide it into the corner and then take out your squeegee, squeegee it and then it’s up and it’s dry. And then if you have teenagers that they grow tired of that particular image it’s really easy to remove as well. Just again take a wet sponge, apply and then it peels off and then you can put your another image up there as well. So the versatility of the media probably stands out as one of the key features for the latex technology. Another one is the ease of use. These machines are really easy to use now and of course, the other piece that I always want to emphasize with latex is there’s a really strong environmental message

Cary: Okay, that’s important, yeah

Ed: We have very low VOCs and of course the ink is odorless. So as soon as the print comes off you’re able to use it inside rooms, dorms, schools, hospitals, work environments, and it doesn’t, it’s got a very strong environmental message. So that’s latex is one of our tremendous growth areas right now and that’s one of the latest things we’ve added to the portfolio.

Cary: So finding the new applications and getting creative, that’s one part of it, and then the other part you were going to talk about some productivity.

Ed: The productivity aspect; absolutely Cary. The other portion of our portfolio is our UV curable technology and when I talk about UV curable I really break it up into two pieces. One is the direct to rigid substrates and then one is the flexible media. And the direct to rigid substrates is really fun. We’ve have customers that will actually go to the local hardware store and buy a door, up to two in half inches thick and they can actually put it into the printer and print directly to this substrate their favorite digital image and then they can hang it with the hinges directly in their room.

Cary: That’s great.

Ed: That’s one. We can print as I mentioned to wood, metals, brushed aluminum is very common. We also see glass; you can print directly to glass. So the substrates that you can do there, enhance your productivity by eliminating an intermediate step.

Cary: Which is the mounting and laminating.

Ed: The mounting and laminating you don’t have to do that anymore. And perhaps one thing that often doesn’t get mentioned is you can operate this machine with one operator. Some of the competition out there requires multiple operators that have to constantly do calibration. There’s a lot of automatic features on this that allows one person to operate these. That’s the first section; that’s the flatbed or direct to rigid substrates. We also have within the UV curable area flexible media substrates and this is really interesting because we have extremely wide printers over 15 feet; five meter wide ability to print. So you can do things like building wraps, billboards, so you can do we say everything from wrapping a skyscraper to postage stamps and everything in between.

Cary: That’s great.

Ed: So there’s another strong message in there in terms of the productivity.

Cary: And then you also have some aqueous.

Ed: Absolutely, aqueous has been in our line now for probably some of the most mature of the three technologies; however, we brought some things to market just recently that have been a real eye opener. Couple months ago I was in New York City and we were at the Photo Plus Expo Show and this was our first time to launch the Design Jet Z6200 in the United States. And one of the things we printed, I have a friend that’s a photographer and we were able to get some images that he shot with his Hasselblad camera and they were high res images that we blew up on backlit media, four foot by seven foot. And one of them was the Grand Canyon and another one was a waterfall in Oregon. And it was on the backlit, it was very impactful. We had it on the corners of our booth and people were coming up and looking at this thing and they were saying it was so realistic that they felt like they could reach in and actually touch the surface of the Canyon walls. The DPI, 2400 DPI, its unbelievable image quality. So, yeah.

Cary: So this is a great array of products and very impressive and of course there are other manufacturers in the market so that have, I’m not going to say exactly the same cause you wouldn’t agree with me but similar, you know, similar offerings, why would I pick HP?

Ed: That’s a great question. I think that I’ve been with HP for over 20 years and one of the things that I’ve seen that’s actually integrated into our DNA, into our culture is our passion for listening to customers and we take that knowledge and we bring that back to our scientists and our engineers back in the labs and we make sure that we ask our customers what are you doing today and where do you want to go tomorrow. And so when we look at the various elements of the solution from the printer to the ink formula to the media, we want to make sure that we can take this together, as a solution that continues to delight our customers and allows them to expand their businesses and take it to the next level.

Cary: Well that’s great and we’ve talked in this series we’ve talked a lot about the Capture program and the business development support that HP provides and so I applaud you guys for doing that and great, great product line. Thank you for sharing.

Ed: Thank you very much Cary. Appreciate it.

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Wide Format Editor

Richard Romano

Richard Romano, Section Editor/Senior Analyst
Richard has written about communication, graphics hardware and software trends for the past 15 years.

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