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Tech Buzz

HP Latex 315/335 Print and Cut Solution

The competitive nature of print can bring about feisty exchanges in an attempt to be deemed ‘the best’. Brian Sims finds out how the HP Latex 315/335 Print and Cut Solution measures up

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HP’s Latex print and cut solution comes in two versions, 54? (model 315) and 64? (model 335)

Fighting off the competition

The printing industry has to be one of the most innovative industries as it constantly brings to market new technologies and processes which can bring even the simplest of items to life. This competitive spirit within our industry can also bring about some feisty internecine exchanges in an attempt to prove the latest kid on the block has a killer edge on the established technology. As most independent observers repeatedly reaffirm, these new products actually start to fill and make new markets as much as they replace older technology.

This month, we have lifted the covers on a new technology that is finding its feet in a number of signage applications. The HP Latex 315/335 print and cut solution is a new technology that does not fail to reach the claims made by the print industry giant. The printers come in 54" and 64" versions, being the 315 and 335 respectively.

HP’s Latex 315/335 Print and Cut Solution has a cut speed up to 113cm/sec



At the heart of these printers is the use of new latex inks that makes the output durable for outdoor applications and uniquely claims to make major inroads into production time by being able to print and cut at the same time.

The ink is the key element to the printer that can print to a resolution of up to 1,200 x 1,200dpi and in a range of colours including black, cyan, light cyan, magenta, light magenta, and yellow.

At the heart of these printers is the use of latex in the inks used on the printer that makes the output very durable for outdoor applications


To complement these inks, there is a HP Latex Optimizer which is in place to achieve high image quality by immobilising pigments on the substrate.

Speaking of the feisty exchanges, the competition to latex is the eco-solvent process and their claim is it is superior to the HP technology in terms of durability, versatility, speed, and cost. So, what are the counter claims?

Looking firstly at the ink, you can see the rationale for the counter claim the latex ink is actually more durable than its counterparts. The ink is water-based and in suspension is a mixture of pigment and latex. The process of applying it is not revolutionary, but once applied, the ink is dried and during this part of the process, the latex actually melts and the pigments are trapped and shielded from the environment.

This latex cover stops attrition or deterioration of the vibrancy of the applied ink. This, HP claims, means the outdoor durability of the latex ink is superior to the eco-solvent counterpart. HP states the latex-based ink will provide outdoor durability of up to six years when laminated and three years without.

Versatility key

The second counter claim is that latex ink is more versatile. Albert Hemanz, EMEA LFP product manager at HP, says it is actually more versatile, with an easy example being porous substrates where latex gives a better performance compared to solvent machines thanks to the ink collector (for porous textiles) and the fact that the inks are shielded on the surface.

Hemanz says none of its competitors have such a broad portfolio of certified medias, with HP providing up to 500 profiles to enable users to print on fabric, vinyl, paper, and most other printable signage materials.

Next up is costs, which is always a contentious area that can be a minefield to get clarity over. The problem is, where do you start and stop with your boundary of cost? HP does accept the Latex Print and Cut devices do take longer to warm up. However, it underpins its confidence in the device by stating that, once at production temperature, it uses power comparable to a household iron. Moreover, in time HP states it uses less energy, as powered ventilation is not needed.

The final broadside is focused on speed. The claim is that the Latex print and cut device has a lower speed than the competition. HP’s counter claim looks to the whole process and not necessarily just the physical speed.

Obviously, the interpretation of this could be considered subjective, but it is viable. Hemanz points out that HP is not slower than any of its print and cut competitors in any area. Also, there is no post process drying of the latex-based inks and the work is completely dry as it leaves the printer, and that along with the ability to print and cut means there are major savings in time from original substrate to finished product.

So, if we are being convinced by the argument of the latex inks, what else on the HP 315/335 printer is there to convince us to buy one?

It goes without saying the device is of the highest build quality, nothing less than you would expect from HP, which has built a reputation on excellence. The native 1,200 x 1,200dpi is achieved with HP831 Latex print heads, which can be exchanged in minutes to retain day one quality. Maintenance is also simple as the printer has large apertures to allow access, and automatic drop detection and nozzle replacement.

It goes without saying the device is of the highest build quality, nothing less than you would expect from HP which has built a reputation on excellence


The second element of the HP 315/335 is the cutter. You can cut quickly and efficiently with Drag Knife cutter technology, which can be used to provide the exact amount of ‘kiss’ for vinyl, paper-based products, and polyester films. It even comes with barcode technology, meaning you can leave the device unattended to complete high precision cutting in your absence.





 
The substrate is delivered by reel from the rear of the device, to free fall with media basket available to avoid the printed matter hitting the floor.

Wrapping the whole process up in a very neat operator friendly bundle is the HP Signage Suite, which can be used as a job creator and is a web-based solution. Then the automatic cut lines system is brought by the RIP, HP Flexi Sign.

This printer gives a wide gamut of options: window and vehicle graphics, wall decals, and any type of adhesive decal your customers’ imagination can conjure up


This printer gives a wide gamut of options: window and vehicle graphics, wall decals, and any type of adhesive decal your customers’ imagination can conjure up. Posters, POS materials, and any number of display items can be considered as both possible and viable on the HP Latex 315/335 Print and Cut Solution. Importantly too,
they will still look colourful and vibrant a number of years later considering the claims of the new latex ink technology.


Brian Sims, principal consultant, Metis Print Consultancy, www.metis-uk.eu


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