After the completion of a very successful first course (Single Pass Inkjet System Design) at our Inkjet Winter Workshop in Barcelona we were lucky enough to be invited to a Products & Applications Tour at the Hewlett Packard Demo Center located just north of the city. In 2015 HP celebrated the opening of their new printer-shaped ‘Graphics Experience Center’. The demonstration center has 4,000 sqm of floorspace showcasing more than 35 printers and presses from their portfolio as well as many creative applications. This is the main center for customer demonstrations across the whole of Europe, Middle East and Africa.
After an eventful 30-minute taxi journey, including a small traffic incident, we arrived at the demo center. Once we had taken a moment to recover our nerves we were escorted through to the equipment hall. Having only entered the industry recently I found the scale of the machines impressive.
After a short introductory presentation from Carlos Lahoz of HP, he started the tour in a “shop” showing off many of the product possibilities from using their various printers for printing packaging and labels. Wine bottles, books, cosmetic containers, posters, food packets and much more. These items were under close scrutiny from our tour attendees, with people investigating the minute details of the print quality.
From there we ventured onto the main floor of the display area. It was great to see different members of the group sidling away from the speaker to investigate the various machines and samples throughout the room. One of the first machines on the tour was an Indigo packaging printer, followed by one of the large T2 inkjet commercial presses. This drew a lot of attention from the group with many lingering to get the closest view possible. After that we snaked our way around the room to make sure nothing was missed. The precise detail of the product display stations printed on corrugated cardboard also drew our attention. There was also a live screen showing the number of pages printed using HP printers worldwide – a spectacular number!
After we left the main room with the industrial scale printers, we stepped into another bright glass room filled with printers of all sizes, from small desktop machines up to wide format graphics machines. We spent quite some time here discussing and looking at the printers, with most peoples’ interest being drawn to the Pagewide array wide format machine, which was beautifully designed with a series of printhead modules that could be removed and replaced if necessary. The print quality from such a fast machine was very impressive.
One of the most interesting rooms in the building was the 3D printing room. With three machines in operation it was intriguing to see these machines working. This was definitely the most anticipated part of the tour. As we waited outside the glass doors for Carlos to finish his introduction you could feel the excitement around us. The 3D printing room was hot and loud, but this didn’t stop a stream of questions for the tour leader. The printers were printing plastic parts while we watched - it was fascinating to see the high production speed.
We were pleased to have a very positive response to the tour. One attendee said that they found the tour more informative and useful than visiting the HP stand at the Drupa trade show last year.
Amy Vigrass, IMI Europe