HP inaugurated its worldwide HP PageWide C500 Press demo center attracting converters from around the globe for a VIP customer experience at corporate facilities. The customer event marked the unveiling of commercialized HP PageWide C500 technology, announced in 2016 at drupa.
Corrugated converters from Korea made up the only Asian representation at the event. Other customers at the event arrived from the UK, Italy, Belgium, Finland, Russia, Portugal, Spain, Greece, Canada, the US and Mexico.
In addition to live press demos, the program included sessions from HP technology ad brand marketing experts, brand owners, converters, and market experts.
“The industry has been waiting for a post-print single pass solution that delivers offset quality for mainstream production using water-based ink – and the HP PageWide C500 is it,” said David Tomer, general manager, HP Scitex, developers of HP PageWide Industrial post-print solutions.
“There is no question today whether digital print is the future for corrugated. The only question is how fast,” Tomer said in opening remarks at the event taking place at the HP PageWide C500 production facility in Caesarea, Israel from 12-14 June.
Ten customers have already signed orders for the press, Tomer said.
Commercial installations are now in progress at Smurfit Kappa in Austria and LIC in Italy. Two additional presses will ship this month to Dusobox and Chief Digital in the US, with CompanyBox to follow.
“The digital corrugated packaging market is currently experiencing a 25+% five-year CAGR rate in value, and significantly higher in volume. The market is moving faster than predicted – with very significant growth expected to continue,” according to Dr. Sean Smyth, packaging analyst, Smithers Pira, who delivered a corrugated packaging market overview to the event.
Smyth explained the printing market is already well experienced with digital and has seen the potential: “Now corrugated is quickly moving into the digital game to capture the same benefits,” he said. Online commerce is a huge trend favorable to digital corrugated packaging, Smyth noted. “Boxes delivered to customers are an opportunity to interact on a personal level following the online purchase. Unboxing has become a massive social media craze.”
According to Smyth, water-based inks, such as those used by HP PageWide Industrial, have an advantage with the increasing concern of safety of printing inks for foods and other sensitive applications with human contact.
Additionally, Intertek announced HP is the first digital corrugated printing vendor that has met its guidelines for safe use of printing inks, following a detailed analysis.
HP provided Intertek with digital print samples produced on HP’s PageWide T1100 Series and PageWide C500 presses, using its true water-based inks. Intertek conducted detailed laboratory tests on these prints to measure migration limits and ensure safety requirements in accordance with global regulatory and industry guidance, including Swiss Ordinance, Nestlé Guidance, FDA, EU Framework, and others. As a result, Intertek used its Guidelines to validate HP’s safe use of Printing Inks in a clear and comprehensive summary, which can be shared with HP customers.
In reaction to HP’s compliance with the Intertek guidelines, Edoardo Finotti, chief technology officer, Model Group AG of Switzerland, said: “Through the last years, I’ve talked to various digital vendors about the food safety of their solutions. This work done by HP with Intertek is excellent and the best I’ve seen. It proves that HP deeply understands the industry needs, and demonstrates that HP knows what it does. With this document I can confidently go to any of my customers, and prove to them that the HP true water-based ink technology meets all their requirements.”
HP PageWide C500 application showcase
The HP PageWide C500 demo printed food packaging, toy packaging, and a print quality file of C500 capabilities including 4 pt text, color gamut, fine lines, skin tones and barcodes. In addition, some were printed with interactive HP Link technology barcodes.
An applications showcase included fresh fruit trays, wine boxes, toy boxes, samples printed on coated and uncoated board for comparison, electronics products, and shelf-ready packaging.
Georg Fischer, CEO of the Smurfit Kappa Central Europe Corrugated Division said: “We chose the HP PageWide C500 for our Interwell site in Austria for its offset print quality and technological advances including the suitability of its water-based inks for food packaging. This press will further enhance the service we provide for our customers by extending the marketing and branding capabilities of our packaging solutions.”
Providing a cost-effective digital alternative for offset lamination and flexo production, the HP PageWide C500 prints on a wide media range at 75 linear meters (246 linear ft) per minute using HP’s Thermal Inkjet technology.
Mondo Del Vino, an Italian wine brand, shared its experiences in successfully engaging customers with digital print. The brand is creatively using HP digitally printed wine boxes by spreading the image over six or even 20 boxes that are displayed in a huge stack formation in floor space in stores to attract customers.
The next C500 open house event for customers is scheduled for November.