HP has announced a number of new series of wide format printers that are aimed at the architecture, engineering and construction, or AEC, market for printing technical drawings and other documents.
Guayente Sanmartin, HP’s worldwide large format design general manager says that the construction industry is worth $10 trillion with 4 percent annual growth so it’s no surprise that HP is interested in this market. The industry is adopting the Building Information Modelling or BIM system but many people still prefer to use paper documents. Sanmartin adds: “Paper is still basic to create. All the architects and engineer all started their artistic process process with a paper and pencil as they sketch their ideas. We use paper to collaborate and share the different designs.”
For these new printers, HP has tried to address several issues, including the overall user experience since many designers are not necessarily used to operating large format printers. The company has also improved the performance, the overall security, and the trend towards renting business services rather than buying equipment outright. Curiously, Sanmartin claims that HP has carried out research that found that 7 out of ten architects are being regularly interrupted during work to print for colleagues, which suggests that the construction industry is plagued by really bad HR and training issues.
There are six new series of printers, covering some 35 new machines of differing sizes and capabilities. The most basic is the desktop T100 series of 60cm printers.
There’s a T500 series that comes on a stand and is available in 60cm and 90cm sizes.
These are all aimed at Small offices and home studios, where as Xavier Juarez, worldwide large format design strategic marketing manager, notes: “These customers need the printers to work without becoming experts in printing.”
The printers are supported by cloud-based apps which let users drag and drop multiple files to print them with one click. Juarez adds: “Architecture is a very mobile profession so we know these people are not always at their desks and sometimes they may need to print when they are away from their office, and so they can send their files in two clicks from a Smartphone to print.” There’s also a HP Poster App that has templates so users can print posters without having to go through graphic design software.
There are two further series, the T1600 and T2600 MFP, that are aimed at Workgroups, who are likely to be able to call upon an IT team. These have a 40cm touch screen, of which Juarez says: “It’s a gateway to get access to a new set of print applications that we have designed to manage the printer and to scan in documents so we are bringing a smartphone or tablet experience to the large format printing world. It can print applications from a USB stick or directly from a project folder. The printer will find a job in the network, will preview it and then print it with just one extra click. Everyone can get what they need at the printer using a self-service kiosk without having to be experts in applications.” There’s an integrated stacker that will stack and collate up to 100 pages from A4 to A0.
Then there are two XL models, where HP is hoping to persuade customers to replace both colour and monochrome devices with a single printer. HP is certainly not the first company to claim that a colour device can replace a mono/colour combination but this, of course, will come down to the running costs.
Thus there’s an XL Designjet3600 MFP aimed at larger groups with higher volume requirements. It has a more robust design, with a relatively small footprint, which Juarez claims is 30 percent less than the Oce PlotWave 300 monochrome series. It’s said to be quiet, producing 42db of noise so that it can sit closer to users. It’s a colour device, but designed to have the running costs associated with monochrome. Thus HP claims that it uses up to ten times less power consumption than other comparable LED printers. The printer also uses up to 25 percent recycled parts. It has two drawers for media loading, without requiring spindles. There’s no warm up time so it can print the first page in 29 seconds, and a five page job in under two minutes, which is significant if, as Juarez claims, most users are just printing jobs with a handful of pages.
There’s a largermore robust version, the XL PageWide 3900 MFP, for those customers that do print longer runs. This can produce 6 A1 pages per minute or 360/hr. It has one drawer that takes two rolls, but can be upgraded to two drawers for four rolls.
These printers have a number of security features to make sure the printers will not the weak point, leaving a network open to attack. This includes authenticating users, and encrypting communications and data on the hard drive.
Juarez says that 45 percent of all office printing is now part of a print as a service contract, adding: “We want to make sure that our customers can do this with large format printing because it is very convenient. We know that some customers want a transactional business model but we want to make sure that for the ones that want contracts we make it easy for them.” Consequently HP is also allowing customers to pay via the applications they are printing.
You can find more about the DesignJet T100/T500 here and about the DesignJet T1600 and T2600 printers here and the DesignJet XL 3600 MFP here. Details on the PageWide XL 3900 are at www.hp.com/go/pagewidexl3900.