Printing Technology


HP Indigo

How would you describe HP Indigo digital printing in two sentences?

The HP Indigo digital offset technology generates extraordinary print products on demand at high process speed. The product line includes sheet-fed presses for various formats and web-fed presses, with presses originally developed for job and commercial printing and for the industrial production of labels and packaging.

What is special about Indigo digital printing?

The HP Indigo printing technology is similar to conventional offset printing and produces on a wide range of substrates. Additionally special types of ink can be used in a maximum of seven inking units significantly increasing the colour gamut, creating the best possible environment for designing and simulating special colours. Pantone colours are matched with an accuracy of up to 97%. Users can also mix special colours.

HP Indigo digital printing is frequently called digital offset printing. Why?

The HP Indigo press uses laser technology and liquid ink (HP ElectroInk). The print unit configuration in the machine with an imaging drum, a rubber blanket cylinder and an impression cylinder is a close equivalent to conventional offset printing.

How does HP Indigo digital printing work?

Digital printing is the most direct printing process, because print data are immediately processed in the printing unit without further transformation. Initially, the laser imaging unit transfers the print image to the imaging cylinder. In a first step, this generates an electrostatically charged image. The charged liquid ink, the HP ElectroInk is added to the imaging cylinder via the plate inking rollers to cover the exposed areas. The print image is now visible and first transferred to the rubber blanket cylinder, followed by a complete transfer to the substrate mounted on the impression cylinder, where it dries and solidifies immediately. After all inks have been applied, the sheet is available for reverse side printing and further instant processing.

What is possible? And what isn’t? Which colours can be used?

For HP Indigo, more colours are available in addition to the process colours CMYK. Orange, violet and green significantly increase the colour gamut of the machine. HP ElectroInk digital white widens the scope for design purposes and is frequently used as a background colour on coloured substrates. Brighter colours such as light magenta, light cyan and light black achieve brilliant results in the photo market. In the final stage of production, finishing effects are obtained by using digital matt and UV red. With the new colour fluorescent pink, innovative ways of designing digital print products are developing. Metallic and thermochromic inks are not available yet.

Which print runs are cost-effective? Which papers, grammages and formats are suitable?

HP Indigo is suitable for almost all materials. All substrates prepared in the inline priming unit can be used in the press. Grammages range from 60 to 350 grams and for folding boxes up to 450 grams. Sheet formats from 320 x 460 mm up to 500 x 700 mm (max 530 mm x 750 mm) are suitable for printing.

HP Indigo digital printing is particularly suitable for…..

Dynamic/customized printing

Print runs with diverse variable contents

Print runs with an output of one print product

Small print runs

Repeat orders

Time-sensitive orders

Orders with continuously changing contents (topicality)

Meanwhile, HP Indigo is not only available in a small, but also in a medium-size format? Why is this special? 

The size 70 x 50 cm leads to the development of new digital print products and business models that previously did not exist in the market of digital printing.

What are the geographic and historic origins of the technology?

Benny Landa founded the Israeli company Indigo and launched the first digital printing machine Indigo 1000 using liquid ink in 1993. At the beginning of 2000, Hewlett Packard bought the company. From then onwards, digital offset technology was continuously developed.

How do you see the future of HP Indigo digital printing? 

Productivity and quality will improve over the coming years. In addition, we will continue to see the development of new inks and fitting finishing technologies.

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