HP Indigo shows the way to increase sales, reports Des King
HP Indigo is anticipating a 20 per cent plus uplift in equipment sales during the current financial year following the opening of a fully equipped demonstration suite at its Maastricht based European headquarters.
At the suite’s official opening on December 17, Alon Bar-Shany ceo of the combined Europe, Middle East and Africa division, confirmed that HPI was investing over $100M in its digital print business – of which industrial installations now represent 30 per cent of total sales. In addition to printers from the UK, the opening was attended by 30 prospective customers representing Benelux, France, Germany and Italy.
According to European sales director Tim Carter, HPI’s ws4000 dedicated label press has now achieved over 60 installations worldwide, of which 17 are sited in Europe. The most recent of these has been confirmed by Dutch based label printer aL, whose md Ton Lavrijsen said: “We see a need in the future for smaller runs of higher quality. Also, whilst it’s very difficult to bring new products onto the market at the moment, many companies are restyling their existing lines and this includes paying particular attention to the packaging in order to achieve competitive edge.”
The company estimates that it will increase its current €7M turnover by between 10–15 per cent in the first year of operation, with a combination of new and existing work going to the ws4000.
The company already maintains an off-line finishing department, and will be priming substrates on its Arsoma and Allied Gear flexo presses in addition to buying in coated materials from existing suppliers.
Lavrijsen also confirmed that aL is currently exploring the possibilities of extending the ws4000’s capabilities into flexible packaging applications. “This could be a very interesting development and we’re working on it. We’ve already done one test at Maastricht – but there are so many different materials that we’ll be looking at it again with HP later in the year.”
Seventy five per cent of all ws4000 press sales have gone to new customers, says Tim Carter, with the balance being taken up as upgrades on existing equipment.
Cambridge based Graphic Art has also now joined the growing list of Indigo users in the UK by confirming an order for the s2000 model for installation this month – significantly, the first UK screen printer to adopt the solution. Purchase price was said to be in the region of €345,000.
With a current turnover of around €4.2M in supplying printed membrane switch overlays and fascias for application within the telecommunications and medical sectors, Graphic Art is adopting digital to extend into new markets, says ceo Graham Scrivener. “We’re allowing a six-month run-up period, and will operate a single shift to start with – but we’re expecting to increase our business by around 20 per cent this year.
“Colour is a big issue on the Indigo; that is one of the unknowns at the moment, but we’re pretty confident. In some instances, we have to work to 0.6 of a deltory reading, which of course is exceptionally high compared with commercial print.”
Partner suppliers such as ABG, AVT, Cartes, Cooper Printing Machinery, Digital Die Cutting Systems and Nilpeter also look set to benefit from an estimated traffic of three to four prospective customers scheduling demonstration visits to HPI’s European headquarters each week.
“Based on the numbers of presses that they’re installing, HP estimates that we could be selling between 20–30 of our machines a year as a direct result of our involvement in the demo suite initiative,” says substrate coating specialist Cooper Printing Machinery’s principal Chris Cooper.
The Reflex coating machine primes all paper and synthetic substrates for the digital print process, with the roll-fed format selling for €45,000, and, claims Cooper, will save up to 60 per cent on materials costs with ROI within six months of purchase.
“Outside of digital, we’re selling up to 20 of these machines a year. If this takes off it could double our sales. It’s a totally new market for us.”
In addition to the Reflex on-site coating solution, other working equipment currently installed within the Maastricht demo suite includes a ws2000 press targeted at short-run and sampling applications; an s2000 press for small carton and POS packaging applications; a ws4000 16m/min label press; and the Omega DigiCon finishing line linked to a Cartes Laser 350 die cutting machine.
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