HP has launched its first home-grown print and cut units with two new dual-device wide-format machines that are set to dominate sales into signage market.

“This is a complete HP solution, with a printer and a cutter, with an integrated workflow,” said Jordi Casas, EMEA large-format production category manager.

“So, we are taking the whole workflow and making sure that the customer can control all the elements. So rather than end-users having to manage one printer from here and a cutter from somewhere else, now we can make sure the experience is well controlled, under the same workflow umbrella.”

The 1.37m-wide HP Latex 315 Print and Cut and 1.6m-wide HP Latex 335 Print and Cut were both shown at last week’s ISA Sign Expo in Las Vegas.

Prior to the introduction of the new Print and Cut series, HP worked with third-party partners for cutting devices, something it will continue to offer if requested by customers.

“What we’re doing is adding another option for customers, an HP option,” said Casas.
While the new HP-built cutter is a standalone unit, it will only be available to purchase as complete print-and-cut system with a Latex 300 series printer, at present Casas said HP has no plans to sell the cutter separately.

The new cutter has a maximum diagonal cutting speed of 1.13m/second with 3 G diagonal acceleration. It features a drag-knife with TurboCut and tangential emulation modes offering a cutting accuracy of +/- 0.25mm and a cutting force of up to 400g.

The print engines are the same as the as the existing 48sqm/hr HP Latex 315 and 50sqm HP Latex 335 printers.

“What we have done is put effort into the workflow and RIP integration, so that the solutions come with a ‘RIP in a box’, if you like, all fully integrated.”

The RIP automatically generates printed barcodes that can be read by the cutter to ensure seamless production.

Pricing for the Print and Cut machines will be set by resellers at a local level, but Casas said he expected prices to start north of €10,000 for the 1.37m-wide combination rising to circa €15,000 for its larger sibling.

Both configurations will be demonstrated at Fespa on a ‘Print and Cut’ zone on the HP stand, running applications including wallpaper, fabric transfers, and labels as well a raft conventional wide-format products.

According to Casas, HP primarily opted for dual device print and cut units, as opposed to an integrated single device, because running the printer and cutter independently in parallel offered a productivity boost of up to 50% over integrated printer cutters.

This was echoed by Mike Horsten, newly appointed HP sales manager large format graphics production EMEA.

“The huge advantage compared to inbuilt printer cutters, is that you can print overnight on the Latex machine and then take the reel off and put it on the cutter and then carry on printing, but that’s not possible with an integrated device – that’s the key benefit of running them independently,” he said.