HP unveils 'page-wide' technology to rival Memjet

HP has announced a page-wide inkjet technology for wide-format printing, which challenges the Memjet-based machines from Canon, RTI and Xerox.

The first products to be based on the new printhead modules will be aimed at the reprographics market, currently dominated by Canon and Xerox, and will be launched in the second half of 2015.

“HP’s intent is to disrupt the reprographics market, which is currently mainly using LED technology with a little bit of Memjet,” said HP Graphic Solutions Business marketing director Francois Martin.

“There will be no need to trade off between operating cost, speed, quality and the ability to produce colour and mono. Today most firms have separate technologies, using inkjet for colour and LED for mono. We will offer everything in a single device."

Final specifications have yet to be finalised but the first machines will be 1,016mm wide and speeds are anticipated to be in the region of 20-40 A0 prints per minute. Unlike Memjet heads HP is using pigmented inks.

Martin added that although the primary market was reprographics “sign & display are perfect applications”, and although not initially specifically targeted at those markets some printers in those sectors would adopt the technology.

The wide-format page-wide printers are based on a new 127.5mm-wide print module, which is the third-generation of HP scalable printhead technology.

Each module uses six staggered four-channel heads with 6,336 nozzles per channel at a native 1,200dpi resolution.

The first-generation heads, which are 4.25inch-wide, were introduced in 2006 and are used in HP inkjet web presses and latex printers. Last year, the second generation of 8.57in-wide heads was introduced in the firm’s Officejet Pro X MFPs.

Martin described the underlying technology of the new print modules as “like Lego – we have the bricks, you can build what you like”.

“It’s a scalable printing technology, it could be 20, 40 or 60 inches wide and could be configured in one, two, three or four print bars. Potentially it is suitable for a range of print applications.”