HP to launch PageWide CAD printers

HP has announced details of its PageWide XL series of printers. There are four models in total, starting with the top of the line XL8000, which can print up to 30 A1-sized prints per minute, and including the XL5000, which can print 14 A1 ppm, the XL4500, which can print 12 A1 ppm and the XL 4000, which can produce 8 A1 ppm. The standard machine takes two media rolls but this can be expanded to up to six rolls at a time, with the machine auto-switching between rolls as necessary.

These use a pagewide array made up of eight printheads stitched together, which gives a printable width of 1000mm on a roll up to 1016mm wide. Each head is 5.08ins wide and contains six dies or groups of nozzles, arranged in two rows 20mm apart, with a total of 25,334 nozzles per head. The heads are shaped so that they easily clip together to form one continuous print bar. Each head can handle four channels for CMYK printing. These heads offer 1200 x 1200 dpi resolution. HP claims an average life span of 32 litres for each head, though the warranty is only for 10 litres or 12 months.

They use HP’s own thermal inkjet technology but with a newly developed pigment ink, that is said to be ‘moisture resistant’. They take media from 70 to 200 gsm, including bond papers, coated papers, posters and polypropylene.

The target market is clearly bureaux specialising in technical documents and in-house CRDs, though HP has also said that they might be suitable for some short term signage and point of sale posters though the water-based pigment ink won’t be suitable for any outdoor applications.

Options include folders and stackers and there are standalone SD Pro scanners available. There’s also a new version of HP’s SmartStream front end for these printers, complete with the latest version of the Adobe PDF Print Engine 3.0. This can also drive the Z series of DesignJets and some of the technical printers such as the T7200.

HP has made much about these printers being up to 60 percent faster than the fastest monochrome light-emitting diode (LED) printer, or at least the KIP9900. But of course the real competition is the Memjet-powered CAD printers that both Canon and Xerox have been selling for the past 18 months or so. HP can claim a slight advantage, with a top speed of 23 mpm as against the Océ Colorwave 900’s 18mpm but these speeds are subject to other factors such as resolution and stock.

The first of this series, the XL8000 is due to ship in September, followed by the XL5000 in November, with the XL4000 and XL4500 both due for release in January 2016. HP won’t release prices as yet.

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