November HP Designjet and Latex Printer Deals and Rebates at LexJet

HP Z6600 Inks

HP has extended its big ink deal on the HP Designjet Z6600 Production Printer, is now offering a $3,000 instant rebate on the Designjet Z6800 60-inch Photo Production Printer, is continuing its HP Designjet 5000/5500 Loyalty Promotion, has updated its Designjet Cash In & Trade Up program, and is offering instant rebates on the new HP Latex 300 series printers.

All of these promotions are good through Nov. 30, are available through LexJet, and include…

  • HP Ink Bundle: Buy the new HP Designjet Z6600 Production Printerwith a full set of HP Original Vivid Photo Inks (773A) and get a second full set free, a savings of $1,600 on the HP 773A inks.
  • HP Designjet Instant Rebates: As noted above there’s a new $3,000 instant rebate on the HP Designjet Z6600, as well a $250 instant rebate on the HP Designjet T520 23-inch ePrinter and a $100 instant rebate on the HP Designjet T120 ePrinter. There are also a number of instant rebates on HP Designjet Care Packs. Contact a LexJet printer specialist for details.
  • Cash In & Trade Up: Get up to $3,000 cash back when you trade in an eligible large-format printer and purchase or lease a new HP Designjet T1300 44-inch PostScript ePrinter, HP Designjet T2500 36-inch eMultifunction Printer, HP Designjet T2500 36-inch PostScript eMultifunction Printer, or the HP Designjet T3500 36-inch Production eMFP with a three-year warranty. Plus, you can save $125 more on select HP Designjet printers when you add a qualifying HP Care Pack Service.
  • Designjet Loyalty: If you have an HP Designjet 5000 or 5500 series printer you can trade it in for a qualifying new HP Designjet or HP Latex Printer of up to $1,000 cash back with a mail-in rebate. You will be required to return the trade-in printer, but HP will pay for the return shipping. This promotion runs through Dec. 31.
  • HP Latex Instant Rebates: You can get a maximum rebate of $2,000 on the HP Latex 310 and HP Latex 330 printers with a combination of the $1,000 instant rebate and a Letter of Intent or the instant rebate combined with the Designjet Loyalty promotion. You can also get a rebate of up to $1,000 for the HP Latex 360 Printer with the Cash In & Trade Up promotion or a Letter of Intent. And, you can get a $6,000 instant rebate with the HP Latex 280.

For all the details, including qualifying trade-in printers and special pricing through LexJet on select HP Designjet printers, and for direction on what printer would work best for you, contact a LexJet customer specialist at 800-453-9538.

Last Chance to Cash in on HP’s Big Ink Deal for Designjet Printers

HP Designjet Z6800 Inkjet PrinterThis month only HP is offering a big ink deal on its new HP Designjet Z-series printers:

The big ink promotion ends on Tuesday, Sept. 30, so call a LexJet printer expert at 800-453-9538 today to find out more and to take advantage of the promotion before it ends.

And, for a rundown of all the special deals this month on HP Designjet and HP Latex Printers, click here.

Here’s a quick overview of the HP Designjet Z6600 and Z6800…

HP Designjet Z6600 Production Printer: Produce high-quality prints with HP 6 Vivid Photo Inks, which include Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and three shades of black (Photo Black, Light Gray, Matte Black). The three shades of black deliver rich density and smooth transitions for black-and-white prints. The Z6600 gives you a wide range of application options – from posters, photos and signs, to canvas and backlits – on a variety of print materials.

HP Designjet Z6800 Photo Production Printer: Get the same speed and application variety as the Z6600 with added features like an embedded spectrophotometer to create spot-on ICC profiles and a wider color gamut with the addition of Light Magenta and Chromatic Red to the HP ink mix.  The Z6800 also includes a built-in take-up reel, 775mL HP ink cartridges and heavy media rolls for unattended printing.

For an overview of HP Designjet Production Printers, check out the video posted previously at the LexJet Blog.

How to Make Canvas Printing Work for You, Part 3: Latex, Solvent, UV-Curable Printing

Canvas with the HP Latex Printer
Printing Sunset by Fredrix Gloss Canvas SUV on the new HP Latex 360 printer.

In the previous installment we detailed canvas printing using aqueous-ink printers. Here, we’ll discuss the pros and cons of latex, solvent and UV-curable printers for canvas…

Latex Layout
HP pioneered the use of latex inks in wide-format printing, and recently released its next generation of HP Latex 300-series printers. There are other latex printers out there, but HP’s Latex printers are the standard and best suited for canvas printing since you don’t need to coat the canvas after it’s been printed. Latex inks provide more durability and scratch resistance than aqueous inks and are touted as environmentally-friendly. For super-high production, the HP Latex 3000 provides all the benefits of latex printing, plus higher speeds at billboard-sized widths. Click here to find out what LexJet’s technical support director, Adam Hannig, found as he put the new HP Latex 360 through its paces.

Cost: The cost for the new 64-inch wide printer (the HP Latex 360) is priced around $20,000, which offers the most quality and flexibility within the HP 300 series. Ink and media costs are about the same as they are for aqueous and solvent printers since latex inks work with many of these media types.

Operation: It takes awhile for the heating element on older latex printers to get to the right temperature for printing, but this time has been cut down dramatically with the new HP Latex 300 Series. With latex, you can laminate right away since the ink is dry and outgassed once printed.

Durability: As mentioned with solvent printing, the additional durability of the latex inks allows you to skip the coating step for most applications, though the customer may like the look of a coated print and request it.

Quality: The HP Latex 300 Series also promises to boost quality, inching ever closer to aqueous-quality levels. The fact is that most wide-format inkjet printers will produce the quality you need for high-volume décor canvas printing. If you have a pickier clientele for more custom canvas work you should request samples from the manufacturer/distributor of the printer you’re interested in using files you supply them.

Maintenance: Latex requires less maintenance than a solvent or UV-curable printer, but more than an aqueous printer, though the HP Latex 300 Series includes new features like a maintenance cartridge, instead of a maintenance tank, making maintenance easier and faster.

Solvent Solutions
Solvent printing was a godsend to the sign industry when it first arrived on the scene. Commercial sign makers were continually carping about outdoor durability and the lack of it before solvent printers were introduced to the signmaking scene.

Sunset by Fredrix Satin Canvas SUV
Sunset by Fredrix Satin Canvas SUV printed on a low-solvent printer.

Printer manufacturers rushed to meet this demand and developed a solvent ink set designed to permeate and penetrate vinyl. Aqueous inks are anchored to the surface by an inkjet coating, so the ink sits on the surface, making it less permanent. One way to look at this relationship between ink and vinyl is that solvent ink is like a tattoo and aqueous ink is more like a sticker.

Most of those early solvent inks were hard solvents that were rather caustic and as such could bite into just about any material. Since then, the industry has moved to low/eco solvent inks, so the media designed for these inks requires some sort of treatment or coating to ensure ink adhesion.

As such, more high-volume fine art and décor reproduction companies are migrating to solvent since it eliminates the need for post-print coating; just pick the canvas finish – gloss, satin or matte – and go straight to stretching and finishing.

There is a great range of printer types, from entry-level units that are 54 in. to 72 in. wide and cost between $16,000 and $30,000 to giant 16-foot super-high production printers that can cost up to half a million bucks.

For the purposes of the following solvent printer discussion, we’ll use the Epson SureColor S70670 64-inch low-solvent printer as our benchmark as it sits in that entry- to mid-level range, provides near-aqueous quality printing, and is similar in cost and overall capabilities to those in the same range manufactured by Mimaki, Roland, and Mutoh…

Cost: As mentioned earlier, solvent printers have a higher average entry cost. For typical operation, ink and media costs are generally lower than they are with aqueous printers. But again, media represents only a small percentage of a print operation’s overall cost, so it’s not a significant factor.

Maintenance: The latest generation of solvent printers typically require only an hour or less of maintenance once a month.

Operation:  Outside of minor maintenance, solvent printers will run continuously and similar to an aqueous printer. However, there’s usually a recommended drying and outgassing time recommended before lamination based on the printer model.

Durability: Solvent prints are extremely durable, opening up a wider range of applications that don’t require lamination or coating, including canvas.

Quality: Solvent printers, particularly Epson’s, have made great strides in quality. Though you’re not likely to find the same quality as you will with aqueous printers, there are certain models that come very close to aqueous quality. It’s also important to keep in mind that quality is not only a function of the printer, but of the color management workflow and the media being printed to.

Printheads: Most solvent printers use piezo printheads, which are more durable and long-lasting than the thermal printheads typically found on aqueous printers (excepting Epson’s aqueous photo printers, which also use piezo heads).

Curing Time
For some, UV-curable printing represents the Holy Grail of sign printing because it’s the only wide-format technology that allows direct printing to board materials, such as Coroplast, Gator Board, Sintra, and even doors and tabletops. UV-curable inks are cured or set using UV lamps that are built into the printer so the inks adhere to more materials.

And, with the advent of hybrid UV-curable printers – those that can switch from flatbed to roll-to-roll, such as the CET Color X-Press – the printing potential becomes almost limitless. But with this seemingly limitless capability is an attendant complexity.

Moreover, UV-curable inks are generally not designed for the canvas printing process. The inks are simply not flexible enough for the stretching process, but should be fine for mounted or framed canvas prints.

Applications: A UV-curable printer eliminates the painful application step for board applications; simply print and go. Almost everything, excepting vehicle graphics and stretched canvas, is fair game for a UV-curable printer, allowing more opportunities to make a difference with specialty graphics.

Durability: The durability of UV-curable rivals solvent, and rarely needs lamination, unless you’re looking for a different texture or more rigidity for roll materials.

Quality: For canvas printing, UV-curable printers are really a last resort. If the bulk of your work is direct-to-board printing and you have an occasional canvas project you could certainly do it, particularly if you aren’t planning to stretch and frame the canvas. Some shops print directly to a pre-stretched blank canvas, but in that case you have to paint the edges as most people expect either a gallery wrap (where the image continues onto the edges of the frame, usually mirrored) or a museum wrap (a solid color on the edges).

Cost: Low-end UV-curable printers start at around $60,000 and range up to half a million dollars for a high-quality production printer. The hybrid CET Color X-Press and others like it were designed to strike a balance between economy, production and quality as the lower-end machines are not as sturdy and reliable, while the higher-end industrial printers represent an extraordinary capital investment. You can also use less-expensive uncoated materials and UV-curable inks are generally less expensive.

Maintenance: UV-curable printers require more detailed and time-consuming maintenance about once a month.

Operation: Because of the relative complexity of UV-curable printing, and the need to adjust the printhead height based on the material running through the printer, the variables in the process increase proportionately. Plus, you may need an additional operator, at least part time. High-performance, high-volume printers burn through material quickly, and the material used is often quite heavy. Where a roll of 36 in. wide material is easily loaded on an aqueous or solvent printer by one person, a 300 ft. roll of 60 in. material can weigh around 100 lbs., so someone else will need to be available to help load heavy materials or big boards onto the printer.

For the rest of this series, click on the following links:

Part 1: Materials, Finishes and Textures

Part 2: Printer Technologies for Canvas

Part 4: Coating Canvas

Part 5: Canvas Wrap Options

Videos: Handy Tools for HP Latex and Designjet Printers

HP Latex and Designjet Accounting FeatureThe Embedded Web Server is a tool provided by HP that provides a lot of great information about your HP Latex or Designjet printer. Among many things, basic items like ink levels and printhead status can be found here. However, there are also some advanced features that you might want to take advantage of.

Whether you are running the HP Latex or Designjet printer, the Accounting Feature contains a lot of great information about your print history (the first video embedded below). This tool can help by tracking your costs from previous jobs. Additionally, you can use your historical print data to help bid out future jobs.

If you are using an HP Designjet PostScript printer , you can submit a job to the printer right from the Embedded Web Server (the second video embedded below). The Submit Job feature allows you to print a file, as is, without ever opening it in a printing or imaging software. Best of all, no specialized training is required. If you have any questions about these features, HP Latex and Designjet printers, or anything else, give us a call at 800-453-9538.

Print-N-Stick Fabric and the Frozen Tundra of Lambeau Field

Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame Exhibit Triad Creative Group

Triad Creative Group recently completed a Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame exhibit called Touchdown! for the Neville Public Museum in Green Bay, Wis. So I asked Triad’s project manager, John Toth, a rhetorical (or stupid; you make the call) question: “So… Are you a Packers’ fan?” There was a pause, a chuckle, and, “Absolutely!”

Knowing that Triad Creative Group is located in nearby Brookfield, I should have known better. Still, it had to be asked, because being a fan would make the project that much sweeter, and it was.

Photo Mural Triad Creative GroupHowever, it wasn’t easy. Perhaps the most difficult and time-consuming aspect of the project was typing in the names of each and every Packer Hall of Famer, then adjusting their individual hand-sketched portraits that would ring the walls surrounding the trophy case.

It’s a temporary exhibit at the museum that runs through Feb. 28, 2015, but it doesn’t look temporary, thanks to the work of Triad Creative Group, which also builds custom structures for exhibits and trade shows through its division Rent-Ex. The look of permanence was important to Toth, from the structures surrounding the exhibits to the graphics applied to them.

Triad Creative Group Exhibit“It was challenging in that they didn’t have a large budget, and we came up with the best way to represent the exhibit with the budget they had. We built those walls so they could use them again for different applications,” explains Toth. “And, with the Print-N-Stick Fabric from LexJet they can pull off the graphics without damaging the surface and use the walls for whatever they want. Without the Print-N-Stick material it just wouldn’t work.”

Toth says they use Print-N-Stick Fabric almost exclusively for their booth rental business because the graphics can be easily peeled off, rolled back up on the release liner and the customer can store and re-use them as needed.

Green Bay Packer Trophy Case Triad Creative Group“It’s a win-win-win all the way down the line. It’s a wonderful product. It goes down very easily; it’s extremely forgiving. If it sticks to itself it’s very easy to get it off. I show it to clients and wad it up in my hands, pull it back apart and stick it back up. You’ll be darned if you can find a crease in it; it’s amazing,” says Toth. “The imaging quality is absolutely fantastic. We’ve done everything from product shots to the faces in the Hall of Fame exhibit that were hand sketched. Everything, including the small copy, was crisp and legible. We use the HP Latex Printer. It doesn’t require a laminate, so there are increased savings and value there. And, it’s very easy to trim.”

For the Hall of Fame exhibit they wrapped each 24-foot-long wall section in Green Bay green with the sketches and info about each Hall of Famer on Print-N-Stick Fabric. Black-and-white photo murals of classic Packer football moments were added to the inside curved corners of the wall facing the main displays. Triad Creative Group also built the trophy case, complete with motion sensors to prevent potential theft of the priceless NFL championship and Super Bowl trophies housed inside.

“The photo murals are 4′ x 9′ feet and even with the curve of the wall they went down in one fell swoop; we had them down in ten minutes,” says Toth. “With the exposure this gets the images have to look high-quality, and they looked fantastic when they were finished.”

Print, Cut and Go with HP Latex Printers, Summa and Graphtec Cutters

HP Latex Printer and Graphtec Cutter

At first blush, it would seem that a print-and-cut, all-in-one solution would be the quickest and most efficient way to achieve die-cut prints. However, HP has partnered with Summa and Graphtec to offer an alternative combination that can improve production of cut-out graphics.

HP Latex prints are dry and ready to go immediately; there’s no need to wait 24 hours for prints to outgas and dry before laminating and cutting. And, since latex prints provide excellent scratch resistance and durability, lamination is unnecessary except for specialty applications like vehicle and floor graphics.

Moreover, with printer/cutter combos you typically make sacrifices in speed, quality or both. With the combination of the HP Latex Printer and a Summa or Graphtec cutter you maximize quality on the print side and speed on the cutting side.

Other benefits of the HP Latex Printer and separate cutter combination include:

  • Multiple jobs can be completed even if one station is busy
  • Separate machines allow multiple jobs to run at the same time: print only, cut only, and print and contour-cut
  • If the print/cutter combo breaks down, the entire production line goes down with it

If you’d like to find out more about combining HP Latex Printers and Graphtec and Summa cutters, contact a LexJet customer specialist at 800-453-9538.

Graphtec cutters optimized for HP Latex Printers include the FC8600-130 and FC8600-160. Summa cutters include the S Class D Series and S Class T Series. LexJet now carries the new HP Latex 300 Series Printers and the cutters are available upon request.