HP speeds up Advantage 2200

HP has given its new PageWide Advantage 2200 inkjet press its European launch at the Hunkeler Innovation Days, bumping up the speed in its Quality mode from 101mpm to 152mpm at the same time. 

This press uses HP’s High Definition Nozzle Architecture or HDNA heads, which can produce two different drop sizes – low and high – that can be combined together for different print modes. The Performance print mode uses the high drop weight, while the Performance HDK mode uses the high drop weight for the colours with a combination of the two drop sizes for the black ink. This gives better shadow detail and smoother images without affecting the print speed. Both the Performance and Performance HDK modes run at up to 152mpm.

Then there’s a Quality mode that uses both drop sizes for all four colours, which improves the image quality. When this press was first shown last year in the US, this Quality mode would only run at 101mpm, meaning that customers would have to choose between productivity or image quality. However, HP now says that it can run this Quality mode, with the two drop sizes, at the full 152mpm. 

Barbara McManus, director of R&D for HP’s PageWide Industrial division, explains: “We have new electronics and new firmware and we found that we could fire both the low and high weight drops at the 152mpm. It’s really just making sure that we had enough data going through and that it wouldn’t cause us other challenges.” 

For now at least this does not appear to have led to a corresponding increase in the single drop Performance mode.

Darren Podrabsky, worldwide product marketing manager for HP’s PageWide Web presses adds: “We can also increase the speed in small increments. Piezo heads give you large jumps but we can increase speed by just 1 mpm or 25mpm. So the customer can choose how fast they need to go for each job.”

Otherwise the basic specifications remain the same. The press has a single print arch with one set of print bars. But the print bars span the width of the arch because the paper is fed past the print bars on one side, right around the machine, through the drying area and back underneath the press, past a turnbar and back to the other side of the print arch to print on the back of the roll. This helps to simplify the design around the printing area and makes the whole press fairly compact. 

Barbara McManus, director of R&D for HP industrial printing.

There are six print bars in total, with each having ten printheads. In order, these are for the optimiser followed by two bars for black. This allows the press to print monochrome at 244mpm but also helps to fill in shadow details in the colours. Then there are two bars that offer both cyan and magenta, followed by one for yellow. McManus says that the reason for running both the cyan and magenta inks on two bars instead of having separate bars for each colour is to ensure greater nozzle redundancy. She explains: “The heads are staggered. If we just had one colour we wouldn’t have enough redundancy but where the heads overlap gives us more redundancy.”

McManus says that the fast monochrome speed is mainly to appeal to the book and transactional markets, adding: “We are really just trying to push paper through as quickly as possible. And more of our customers are looking at different markets so this is really giving them options.”

The print arch design also leads to easier maintenance. A door beside the arch opens to give access to the print heads, with the whole assembly sliding forward to provide more room for maintenance. Naturally HP is using its thermal inkjet technology meaning that the heads have a finite life span. Strangely, HP won’t discuss the head life other than to say that these heads are now considered long term consumable items, which is just meaningless marketing if you can’t put a number to it.

The Advantage press has a modular design with a choice of one, two or three drying zones. More drying allows for heavier materials. The model shown in Luzern had two drying zones, meaning that it can take papers from 40 to 250gsm, which should be suitable for most direct mail and photobook applications. 

This is said to use up to an estimated 20 percent less energy than the three-dryer configuration at maximum power, which also comes with active web cooling – essentially chill rollers – and will take media up to 300gsm card.

Podrabsky says that the two drying zones is very effective at removing moisture from the paper at high speed, and makes for an efficient use of energy. He says that the press recirculates up to 80 percent of the heated air and that the cost of the power per page is roughly 40 percent lower than for the T250. He adds: “We have purposefully given customers a wide range of drying temperatures to choose from because power usage is a big issue.” The press is field upgradable so that customers can start with one or two drying zones and easily add more drying if needed.

The press is run from HP’s SmartStream Production Elite Print Server and this now gains a new Smart Workcell Controller for intelligent sorting, batching, and imposition that should improve the overall throughput on the press. This is primarily aimed at ultra-short-run publishing and commercial print jobs and automatically sets up an integrated unwind-press-finishing workcell, cutting down on makeready stops and slowdowns.

It is complemented by a new Production Kick-Start Professional Service offering that integrates automation and end-to-end production optimization within the workcell.

There’s also an Advanced Color Suite, which is essentially a collection of integrated solutions from partners such as X-Rite and CGS Oris. This includes spot colour features and an on-press colour profiling solution that should lead to quicker and easier ICC profiles to reproduce brand colors, target specific color spaces, and create ink reduction profiles. In theory users should be able to read colour patches and produce ICC colour profiles at the push of a button without having to take the prints to a separate table to be read and analyzed.

HP claims that its customers have now produced some 825 billion pages on its PageWide presses.

You can find further details on the Advantage 2200 from hp.com and my original report from its introduction last year here.



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