Through a partnership with Hewlett Packard (HP) and Esko, Cal Poly’s Graphic Communication Department has installed new equipment that will give students hands-on experience integrating the technologies of digital printing and commercial printing and packaging.
HP donated a variable data Indigo ws4000 series web press valued at $188,000 and Esko donated a Kongsberg iCut variable data diecutting system worth $179,000.
The web press and diecutting technology will be used by graphic communication students in advanced digital printing classes and by professionals attending industry seminars and workshops conducted by the Graphic Communication Institute at Cal Poly.
The workflow resulting from these two systems allows printing runs of one or multiple images and moves them to the iCut for variable diecutting of individual or multiple images. The iCut is based on Kongsberg technology, combined with iCut software tools designed for short-run production work, in sheet and roll form.
Cal Poly graphic communication Professor Malcolm Keif and Department Head Harvey Levenson led the effort to bring this digital web press and diecutting workflow together. “The Esko team has been very supportive of our program,” Keif says. “They are involved in educating our students, working on industry outreach, collaborating on research, and hiring our graduates. Esko epitomizes our industry/education partnership.”
Levenson, who coordinated the HP partnership, says, “Since HP acquired Indigo in 2001, we’ve been working together to educate students and companies in how to market, sell and integrate digital printing technology into commercial printing and packaging. The ws4000 series press compliments our Indigo sheet-fed press and expands our capabilities to teach a workflow representing present and future opportunities for the graphic communication industry. Capturing, printing and die-cutting digital images – static or variable – in a closed-loop workflow represents a direction that will keep the commercial printing and packaging industries viable in the years ahead.”