EXCLUSIVE: HP readies for further digital print growth in 2016

HP expects digital printing to grow further in the corrugated sector in 2016.

HP Indigo 30000 Digital Press at drupa mn

Gido Van Praag, vice president and general manager, Graphics Solutions Business, EMEA at HP, told Packaging News that the company is ‘revolutionising’ the label market with digital products. “The HP Indigo 2014 continues momentum in label space. The WS6000 series has now registered 1000 units in two years between the 2013 and 2015 editions of Labelexpo.

For corrugated he said there is a vast improvement in technology from a year ago.

“Important opportunity – printing companies realise the potential of shorter run lengths, and many realise it is time to look beyond traditional printing methods. He said the pressure is now on corrugated converters to deliver more than ever before, as the demand for more impactful and cost effective packaging grows and run lengths and turnaround times shrink.

“We have opened up corrugated for display units – particularly through the HP PageWide Web Press T1100S  Inkjet T11S with a 2.8m width co-developed with KBA. In the flexo market, since their commercial availability in May 2014, HP has sold more than 70 HP Indigo 20000 and 30000 Digital Presses to packaging customers producing flexible packaging and folding cartons worldwide.

He said the digital print giant continues to be involved in unique projects – such as the Bud Light cans mass personalisation project involving 200,000 cans. Another on-going project he mentioned was Oreo – which used HP’s customised software to enable customers to personalise Oreo packs to design a Christmas theme.

“The technology engages customers and their consumers in exciting ways. They demonstrate that brands recognise the endless possibilities of digital print.”

For 2016 he predicts more growth in digital printing and in its digital press orders.

The company concluded its single largest HP Indigo order – from the Rako Group in Germany, which featured a HP Indigo 20000 Digital Press and nine more units of HP Indigo WS6800.

“The best is yet to come – we are just scratching the surface – clients such as Tesco are looking to drive consumer engagement. There is innovation galore in the market. I am a firm believer in this digital revolution,” said Van Praag.

HP dominates the digital print market, with more than 50% of market share.

“We have to make sure we don’t become complacent. It’s very dangerous to become comfortable – we must stay humble and stay close to customers.”

He said HP is always investing in R&D, and the focus is to maximise print volume for customers.

“Our philosophy is that existing customers are as successful as possible, and I would rather have one press at a customer site running at 90% than two presses at 30%.

“Training and development with customers are the secrets of our success. Good products are important, but are only an entry ticket to market – they don’t sell themselves. The industry requires innovative printing companies and brands to innovate,” he said.

Van Praag revealed that HP is working with a number of products and expects some ‘exciting stuff’ to come up next year which will capitalise opportunities that only digital offers.