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Today's graphic arts professionals count on digital technology more than ever to boost productivity and pump up their bottom line. Now, HP takes its long-standing reputation for groundbreaking digital printing a step further. With the launch of the HP Indigo 3500 and 5500 presses1, the best in digital printing just got better.

In an industry where quality is a key competitive differentiator, these new digital printing solutions follow HP's trend of improving print quality. They also pave the way for fresh business prospects. The new presses offer enhancements that improve photo and direct-mail printing, as well as exciting automation and workflow features that amplify productivity.

True-to-life photo quality

The HP Indigo 3500 and 5500 presses feature 7-color printing, producing offset quality and a photo look and feel.

R and R Images, a direct-marketing agency based in Phoenix, Arizona, was one of the first to test the HP Indigo press 5500. Rod Key, the company's president, was eager to judge the improvement in image quality, since R and R Images is known for high-grade, customized wedding albums. Key used the HP Indigo 3000 and 5000 presses in the past and knows that HP delivers superior quality.

"People look at our work and can't tell whether it's offset or digital," he said. Now, he's found that the HP Indigo press 5500 goes even further. "The quality is outstanding. It's the best quality we've ever seen on a digital press."

The HP Indigo press 5500 launches with innovative light cyan and light magenta inks that contribute to photographic image quality. Key believes the new inks will offer a competitive advantage as blues in the sky, greens in grass and skin tones appear vibrant and beautiful.

An automated application called the HP Indigo Photo Enhancement Server complements the new HP Indigo presses by enhancing image quality. The tool optimizes digital photographs prior to printing by applying HP Real Life Technologies, such as JPEG artifacts reduction, smoothing, shadow details, contrast and sharpening.

The HP Indigo press 5500 includes recently unveiled HP DreamColor Technologies, which better ensure color accuracy and consistency from print to print. HP DreamColor Technologies include ICC profiles to help operators get exactly the color they expect on a variety of media.

"From piece to piece, the colors are very consistent," Key said.

More work in less time

Speed means business for AS Hospitality, a Memphis, Tennessee-based company that designs, manufactures and markets printed products for the hospitality industry. AS Hospitality has been using the new HP Indigo press 3500 to print brochures, table tents and a variety of other materials that the company used to outsource to offset printers.

"We've been able to accept jobs that, in the past, we would have turned down based on cost or time," said Richard Brown, vice president of operations.

Because operators can now print pieces with variable data — such as hundreds of identical brochures with a different hotel address on each one — in a single run, AS Hospitality has eliminated or reduced several steps in its production process.

"It's allowed us to be more competitive in a quick-turn environment," Brown said.

The HP Indigo 3500 and 5500 presses deliver up to 68 pages per minute in full color. Efficiency is further improved with fully automated, more powerful end-to-end workflows, helping operators process more jobs while managing the overall flow of job information. Leading off-press and on-press digital front-end solutions, such as HP Indigo Production Stream Server and HP Press Production Manager, give operators the freedom to choose the best solution for their needs.

AS Hospitality used to have to transfer images onto plates. Now the company can send files directly from the computer to the HP Indigo press 3500.

"You go directly from the digital file to the HP Indigo, so you eliminate two or three steps in the process," Brown said. "Each one of those steps used to create waste and had potential for quality errors."

Efficient operation

Several other new features improve productivity and reduce downtime. The HP Indigo press 5500's on-press ink replacement lets operators change cartridges without interrupting the printing process — perfect for spot colors. R and R Images saves one to two hours each time operators change an ink cartridge. Because the company prints hundreds of thousands of pieces each month, the time savings can be enormous.

Even more efficient is the HP Indigo press 5500's paper input system, which includes continuous printing and a 4-drawer feeding unit that allows operators to stock multiple media types. And because the system is vacuum-fed, it's designed to be more robust and reliable.

"There's less starting, stopping and switching the paper out," Key said.

Variety means opportunity

Whether it's by offering current customers more options or opening new lines of business, the HP Indigo 3500 and 5500 presses benefit professionals with a wider range of media types, especially useful for direct-mail and photo printing.

Besides the company's trademark wedding albums, R and R Images also produces direct mail. A greater variety of media types can help make direct mail more cost effective.

"We're a very creative shop, so if we have more substrates to choose from, it may give us more options for our clients and more revenue," Key said. Textured substrates and linens might lead R and R Images to offer more product lines in the future.

R and R Images is experimenting with the 13 x 19-inch format, a previously unavailable size that Key said his clients are likely to be interested in. The new format allows more room to lay out 4 x 6-inch pieces, such as postcards or reply cards, making them easier to cut.

Saving green

One of the most interesting innovations in the HP Indigo press 5500 is oil recycling. After separating imaging oil and water, the press recycles the oil and directs it back to the ink tanks. This process reduces oil waste by half.

"Before, oil would be dumped out," Key said. "Now, we can keep reusing it."

This environmentally responsible feature also helps reduce monthly recycling costs. Key said it could save R and R Images at least 50 to 60 percent in imaging oil recycling costs.

Better business

Key said that R and R Images' biggest opportunity for new business with the HP Indigo press 5500 most likely involves photographic printing. Having already built a reputation around photo albums, the light cyan and light magenta inks could help the company extend its photo business.

"The quality of the HP Indigo press 5500 is becoming more photographic," Key said. "It's bridging the gap between traditional photographs and digital printing."

AS Hospitality is also able to extend its capabilities, thanks to higher quality and the ability to create customized pieces with the HP Indigo press 3500. Brown said that six months from now, he expects to have doubled the amount of products AS Hospitality is printing on the HP Indigo press 3500.

"Before, we wouldn't have been able to hit the quality level," Brown said. "Now we can bring printing in-house."
1Check with your sales representative for product availability in your area.
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»HP Indigo press 3500
»HP Indigo press 5500
»HP Digital Presses
»Commercial printing
»R and R Images
»A S Hospitality
Rod Key, President, R and R Images

"People look at our work and can't tell whether it's offset or digital. The quality is outstanding. It's the best quality we've ever seen on a digital press."

Rod Key, President,
R and R Images

HP Indigo press 3500

HP Indigo press 3500
Advanced on-demand printing technology, made affordable

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HP Indigo press 5500

HP Indigo press 5500
The productive digital solution with offset look and feel and true photo quality

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