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Taking the Latex Technology to the Next Level

Exclusive Interview with Ernest AzzamHP’s  Regional Business Manager, Large Format Printing for Middle East, Mediterranean and Africa

HP introduced latex technology in 2008 and has refined its Latex since then to meet the demands of Print Service Providers (PSPs. Some pundits argue that  latex is now the de facto technology for wide format printers. In order to find out more about the latest trends about the latex technology and HP’s new wide format printers we talked with Ernest Azzam, HP’s  Regional Business Manager. Here are the excerpts: 

During 2021 HP held a virtual product launch for its Latex line of roll fed wide-format printers, and outlined its strategy for its Latex printing technology, which the company had introduced in 2008. According to Guayente Sanmartin Head of Global and General Manager, Large Format Printing, HP. HP’s goal is to make wide-format printing easy and accessible for everyone everywhere. The question is how?

Latex ink technology, being odourless water based, allows for easier usage indoor and outdoor. These inks have no hazardous air pollutants and no special ventilation required. It is the only technology in the large format signage market to have UL ECOLOGO® Certified inks and ZDHC-approvedx and toy safety. This allows large format prints to be used safely in a much wider range of spaces including hospitals. On the other hand, the printers themselves are easy to use and require much lower intervention and maintenance. This allows more users to use these printers in an easy way while providing professional results. A clear example of how HP is helping Large Format Printing get easier is the way we introduced white ink usage. When white ink printing was introduced using UV technology, it was and still is such a hassle, that users moved away from it as much as possible. With HP’s Latex easy white ink printing handling, we see more and more customers printing white again, and promoting this application to their customers. Moreover, the HP PrintOS cloud-based application allows the customers to configure, use and monitor any printer remotely from anywhere.

HP Latex 700W

What are HP’s latest offerings and developments in Wide format inkjet printing sector? 

We recently introduced the HP Latex L700/w and L800/w printer series, that brought new levels of quality and production. They also introduced, a world first, Latex ink white printing for 64” printers. HP continues to innovate focusing on solutions that allow customers to grow their market segments, especially with profitable applications.

What are the latest trends in wide format inkjet printing, special colours such as white, more speed, material flexibility? 

As mentioned above, with HP Latex White Ink and printing technology, we have noticed that customers who are buying the printers are promoting these applications to their customers. The ease of use and handling combined with the whitest white, are contributing to an increase in demand for white printing applications. HP continues to innovate in areas that allow the customers new profitable applications such as decoration and a growing range of printable materials.

What about sustainability? What is HP’s approach to sustainability? I believe now customers demand that more than ever. 

All vendors talk about sustainability, but at HP, we are taking a very wide approach to this important topic. Starting from the Latex ink, it is the most environmentally certified technology. HP Latex prints are recyclable, returnable, or non-hazardous and safe for disposal. They are also compatible with multiple eco-conscious media. On the other hand, HP printers and supplies contain UL validated ocean bound plastic and recycled plastics. HP’s sustainability focus covers impact, footprint, integrity and human rights, supply chain responsibility, solutions and much more. But we also took sustainability to the next level with the HP Amplify Impact program. This program certifies and enables HP partners and resellers to drive more meaningful impact for a more sustainable future. This gives the partners access to trainings, tools and  world-class resources and most partners in the Middle East region have taken the pledge and signed up for the program. It will also allow them to help their customers with more sustainably responsible decisions, workflows and solutions.

HP-Latex-700-Ink-CLUP-scaled

HP introduced Latex technology in 2008 and I think now this technology is its sixth generation, can we claim the Latex is now the de- facto technology for wide format inkjet technology?

HP Latex technology has taken the leadership in sustainability, quality and new applications. A key indication of the success of Latex technology is that other vendors have been trying to introduce their own Latex ink-based printers for a few years now.

What about your sales figures in the Middle East Vis a vie the rest of the world, are they encouraging?

Similar to all businesses, the recovery after the covid period is still going on. There is a lot of potential in the region and we see continued growth in demand especially with all the activities and events happening in the area.

According to HP, PSPs need to “deliver a unique visual experience with more emphasis on style and a variety of substrates, colors, and surfaces, so how HP is planning to help PSPs achieve this?

HP Latex inks provides bigger colour gamut on multiple substrates allowing better quality prints and visually appealing results. On the other hand, HP Latex inks provide prints that keep the texture of substrates like wood or aluminum which gives a more professional and artistic results vs. UV inks that look like stickers on top of the materials. One more example is Latex white ink printing for vehicle wrapping, with latex ink being flexible and very suitable for car wrapping, customers can print white designs on transparent material and use it for unique car wrapping designs. All these features enable unique and stylish designs on multiple surfaces.

What about print media? How active HP is in offering media for wide format printing? What are the new types of media offered by HP?

HP continues to innovate and introduce Large Format media for new applications and demands from customers. One of those are non-PVC banner material that help reduce environmental impacts. Innovations in wallpaper, fabric, Canvas and more are allowing new and innovative solutions for users.

Are they recyclable? 

We have a very long list of recyclable media that can be checked on HP’s website. In addition, there is a list of medias certified for different industry standards such as FSC Certification, REACH compliance, UL Greenguard and CE certification.

Let’s talk about software and workflow for a change: HP has been promoting its Site Flow workflow which according to HP takes an agnostic approach because to print production workflow, how about with wide format printing environment, does this system is also works for wide format printing environment, if not what kind of workflow is used for wide format printing? 

HP introduced a few years ago PrintOS platform for production workflow supporting HP Indigo, HP Large Format Latex and Production DesignJet as well as HP Pagewide Industrial solutions. PrintOS helps customers optimize their print operations, automate production and open new opportunities.

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