HP Indigo 7800

What does the machine do?

HP’s Indigo 7000 series has always been the high-speed high-volume press for SRA3 cut-sheet applications. Until the bigger B2 10000 was launched at the last drupa it was the firm’s flagship sheetfed machine.

When was it launched and what market is it aimed at?

This June HP announced the 7800, a new top-of-the-range SRA3 machine, which replaces the 7600. It is aimed at printers who have volumes needing its high throughput but do not need a bigger sheet. According to HP Indigo the target markets are general commercial printers, photo printers and publications printers.

How does it work?

Like all the Indigo machines it uses HP’s ElectroInk liquid toner technology. All toner-based machines use lasers to write the image. The key difference is that the colorants are suspended in liquid rather than as a dry powder, which means the resulting prints look more like those produced by conventional inks.

How does it differ from previous models?

Inside the 7800 are a combination of new features and existing technology from both the 10000 and the 5600 that 7000 series customers had been asking for to improve quality, productivity and application range. From the 10000 the 7800 gets its on-press inline spectrophotometer, while from the 5600 it gets the one-shot printing option. In one-shot mode all the colours are assembled on the blanket and then transferred to the substrate in one shot. HP says there are three advantages: for heat-sensitive materials it prevents registration issues, on delicate material it reduces the chance of scratches and for photo applications it ensures tight registration for the highest quality and sharpness.

There is no speed penalty in one-shot mode, but it does result in an increased click charge of around 50 per cent, which means it is only justifiable for high-value applications and substrates.

The spectrophotometer carries out a number of functions. As it is in the press it can automatically create a substrate profile for new stocks, which can then be shared with any other Indigo. According to HP this is a big aid for smaller firms that cannot afford to employ a colour specialist.

It can also be used to ensure that the press matches a common standard, enabling colour matching across multiple presses, sites and even companies, if work is being outsourced or shared by a network of printers. It can also be used to check and adjust colour to make sure it is to spec. Lastly, it can be used to produce a report on the colour conformance of a job.

How fast/productive is it?

The mechanical speed of the press is unchanged at 120 A4 ppm, but HP says the productivity benefits come from the new features that improve uptime and reduce the need for intervention, such as the spectrophotometer and Smart Scheduling, which it says is like having a smart production manager in the press. Smart Scheduling analyses the jobs in the queue and reorganises them by substrate, sheet size, colour, and print mode. HP claims that by minimising changeovers it can increase productivity by 50 per cent.

There is also the EPM option, which produces a 33 per cent speed increase and lower costs over conventional CMYK by dropping the black ink. It is the opposite of UCR/GCR.

What is the USP of the machine?

Versatility – the 7800 is as happy churning out volume work flat-out on standard stock as it is producing added-value work using the range of special colours and printing effects on challenging textured, synthetic and metallic substrates.

How easy is it to use?

The inline spectro reduces the need for in-depth colour expertise for the operator.

 

The alternatives

KODAK NEXPRESS SX3900

Kodak kicked off special effects in digital several years ago using the fifth unit for special effects and security features. A long-sheet option handles stocks up to 914mm long for leaflets of up to 8pp. The NexPress range is modular, meaning users can start with a slower machine and upgrade as volumes increase. Enhanced productivity and lower cost modes are available. Kodak offers a toner-only pricing model, rather than a click charge, for more flexibility.

Max sheet size 356x520mm (standard), 356x914mm (optional)

Speed 120 A4 ppm (131ppm with long-sheet option

Number of colours 5

Stock weight range 60-350gsm

Contact Kodak ANZ

 

FUJI XEROX IGEN150

At 150 A4 ppm, the iGen 150 is the fastest of the SRA3 machines in CMYK. There are no additional units for special effects or colours, so it is more suited to high-volume applications rather than added-value work. The long-sheet option enables sheets up to 660mm long to be used for 3-up A4 production.

Max sheet size 364x660mm

Speed 150 A4ppm

Number of colours 4

Stock weight range 60-350gsm

Contact Fuji Xerox

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