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Digital dexterity

Nov 1, 2009 12:00 AM

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At Dscoop Israel 2009, this October, HP's (Palo Alto, CA) Indigo Division vice president and general manager Alon Bar-Shany shared his ongoing strategy to drive digital print growth. While the world economy pulls back from the brink, he notes HP and many of its customers have fared better than conventional offset as well as some other digital press vendors. The reason? Innovation. Leveraging the Internet and partnering with customers are critical strategies for surviving a recession and emerging as a company positioned for growth in the changing print landscape.

“When people get used to digital media [such as the Kindle], publishers will have to look at things differently,” Bar-Shany says. He cites digital printing's strengths for tackling short-run work and innovative cross-media applications as advantages that will help publishers evolve. “We're hearing more and more — not just from HP Indigo customers but from countries and states including California — that digital printing is better for the environment,” he adds.

HP Indigo continues to advance its technology, bringing products announced at Drupa to market and developing new workflow and service innovations. HP is now in final testing on white ink, a much anticipated development that will open up new applications with colored stocks on the Indigo. The white ink is expected to be available in early 2010.


Direct benefits

Diane Fischer launched L&D Mail Masters Inc. (New Albany, IN) from her home 24 years ago. She started out as a direct mail service provider, running black-and-white digital equipment. The next evolution of Fischer's business is underway following her installation of an HP Indigo 7000 in March 2009.

“L&D Mail Masters recognizes that diversification is the key to growth through an economic downturn,” says Fischer. “HP's ability to consult with us on directions for expansion, plus the invaluable experience we had learning from HP Indigo users through Dscoop, proved that an already trusted supplier like HP could deliver solutions like the Indigo 7000 and SmartStream Director to help take L&D to the next level.”

The HP Indigo 7000 brought her shop into full color production and helped solve a problem of overtaxed monochrome machines having frequent stoppages. “Uptime was a big factor,” Fischer explains. With the monochrome equipment still running, the 7000 also added significant capacity. “It's been very good for us,” she says.


Moving forward

Howard Owen, owner of Stafford Printing (Stafford, VA), installed a five-color HP Indigo 5000 in his conventional offset shop in 2007. “We were running toner-based equipment for short runs, and it just couldn't keep up,” he says. Stafford Printing runs jobs of 20-200 pages on the HP Indigo, with occasional jobs in the thousands. The press produces a lot of digital books, ranging from promotional materials to instruction manuals.

“The past year has been tough,” Owen says, “but you look past it and focus on moving forward.”

That's sage advice for any printer as we work toward economic recovery in 2010.