HP to bring OfficeJet Pro X technology to large format

HP's Juan Igancio Calderon shows off a PageWide printhead for large format printers at HP Discover

HP’s Juan Igancio Calderon shows off a PageWide printhead for large format printers at HP Discover

LAS VEGAS – HP has announced plans to bring the PageWide technology it introduced with the OfficeJet Pro X into its large format printing lineup, and an executive expects that change to accelerate the move to managed print in the large format market.

At its HP Discover event here this week, HP showed off a PageWide printhead that will be the centerpiece of its next generation of large format printing, expected to debut about a year from now. Traditionally, these products have used LED printing, which is fast and low cost, but monochrome only. By introducing the inkjet-based PageWide, HP introduces colour to this class of printer, whle considerably increasing speed, and at the same time, the company insists, dropping cost.

The printhead HP showed off is five inches wide, with an offset between upper and lower banks of nozzles that allows the printheads to be “stacked” across like Lego pieces. As a result, the printheads will be able to be put together in any increment of five inches.

“It delivers colour at the same time as mono printing, with a lower cost than existing LED printers, and twice the speed,” said Juan Igancio Calderon, vice president of strategy and market development in HP’s graphic solutions business. “We haven’t just caught up with LED, we’ve doubled the productivity.”

It’s showing off the technology so far in advance of general availability, Calderon said, because it intends to spend the next year getting the ecosystem of applications, systems, and channels in place to support the product launch when it comes next year. The channel will play a big role in those plans, because Calderon said the company sees the switch to the new technology driving a lot more of its wide format printing business towards managed print.

“We want to integrate the DesignJet fleet into MPS contracts,” Calderon said, especially when the new products are used in enterprise environments. “We think that because these new devices will offer much higher productivity than before, there’s going to be higher demand for a pay-per-use model.”

Calderon said the company also sees potential to move to managed print within its other main DesignJet constituency, production houses. The logic there is much the same – with the higher-volume product in place, HP believes those customers will move towards the predictable cost structure that managed print affords.

“It will give them a total running cost that is much lower than what they have today,” Calderon said.

The effort also fits nicely into HP’s overall push to move more of its printing and imaging business from transactional to contractual, a point it has stressed to the channel at numerous points over the past two years.

The company is looking at its channel as a key differentiator, Calderon said, in going after a market where its competitors are predominantly direct-sellers.

“We want to capitalize on our strength in the channel, and we’re focused on a channel-led strategy,” Calderon said. “This is a new market for us, so we need to take the time to establish the right partnerships, the right tools and mechanisms with our channel partners.”

Branding for the new products within the DesignJet family has not yet been set, but Calderon said partners should expect HP to turn up the volume around the PageWide technology in the months to come, both on the enterprise printing and the large format printing sides of the market. That will include the technology finding its way into more of HP’s printing products, and more attention paid to the technology brand as it powers those printers.