A new digital label and packaging press from HP Indigo will be unveiled in May at Drupa, the large German print show. To be called the ws6000, the press will be geared toward longer-run, higher volume print jobs, and will have a four-color output of about 100 feet per minute, twice the speed of the current ws4500 press.
The ws6000 addresses jobs up to about 4,000 linear meters (13,000 linear feet), and would offer cost advantages for converters producing more than 300,000 linear meters per month, according to the company. The ws4500 is targeted at customers with monthly volumes of 150,000-300,000 linear meters.
The new press prints up to seven colors on a broad range of substrates, from 12 microns (0.5 points) films to folding carton media at 450 microns (18 points). One feature that printers might find attractive is the repeat length of 38.58” (980mm). The HP Indigo ws6000 will also be presented at Labelexpo Americas in September. The company expects that it will be available for delivery in early 2009.
On his Lightning Labels Blog, digital label printer Peter Renton, who prints with two ws4500s, wrote the following: “I expect the WS6000 to quickly become the best selling digital label press, but I will go further here. I actually expect that it will become the best selling label press (of any kind) ever. Traditional label printers will simply not be able to ignore digital any longer.”
“We look at the market served by various print processes, and we try to go for a lower total cost of ownership so that we can address a bigger piece of the analog business,” says Vince Pentella, HP Indigo’s business manager. “Just about everybody in conventional printing will have to take notice of the digital press now as an extremely viable contender for a piece of the business.”
Pentella emphasizes that the new press in no way will replace the ws4500. “We see this as complementary,” he says. It is expected that the ws6000 will be priced several hundred thousand dollars higher than the ws4500.