Blog: February 16, 2016
Topics: Innovation

HP’s priming agent invention

Accelerating the transformation of analog to digital printing

The advanced technology and platform solutions (ATPS) is the technology development hub driving innovation that creates and leverages key assets in print technology and physical sciences to grow imaging and printing. The ATPS team utilizes “5 levers”—inks, print heads, hardware, writing system, and media—to develop technologies to meet customers’ needs.

Priming agent technology is a great example of media chemistry innovation enabling new applications to help expand publishing and grow packaging markets for HP PageWide web presses. Similar to primer used prior to painting a wall, a very thin layer of priming agent is applied using a flood coater to the media substrate in order to enhance the print quality and durability for high-speed inkjet printing.

Innovation

Typically, to meet customers’ print quality and durability requirements, printing hardware companies would partner with paper mills to develop specialty inkjet media with optimized coating chemistry for inkjet printing. But this resulted in higher-priced specialty inkjet media due to manufacturing inefficiency, lower volume, and additional products and inventory to manage. 

The desired goal in the inkjet printing industry is to be able to print directly on low-cost coated offset stock. However, coatings used in offset papers are designed to repel water, including water-based inks used in inkjet, resulting in print quality defects and drying issue at production speeds. Thanks to the out-of-the-box thinking of the ATPS team, HP has a completely new approach to solving this classic challenge. Priming Agent, a water-based coating that is specifically designed for HP inks, is flood coated to coated offset stock with a PrimeCoat hardware, which is inline integrated with web press, prior to digital printing. This new priming solution allows PageWide web press customers to print on a wide range of standard offset media without compromising quality or productivity. 

Challenges

There are many challenges throughout the development process like being quick to market, having limited tools and resources, and extremely aggressive performance and cost goals, but none of these challenges stopped the team. The passion for customers, a risk-taking mentality, and persistence lead the team to success. 


"I love to hear the enthusiastic response of our customers. They not only love the quality, but feel it’s strengthening the entire offering."
Dr. Haigang ChenATPS R&D Program Manager

Customer success

The ATPS team is already putting their priming solution to great use as part of the HP PageWide T200 and T400 web presses in the publishing markets, as well as, HP PageWide Web Press T400S in the packaging market. The solution has gained tremendous interest from current and future PageWide web press customers, and enabled multiple new press deals.

According to Dr. Haigang Chen, ATPS R&D Program Manager, customers really appreciate the technology advancement.


"I am thankful to be part of the innovative team that allows us to bring new ideas to established products that are making a real impact on the print industry. I hope someday in the future, when digital printing dominates the market and analog printing is obsolete, I can proudly tell my friends that I was part of the team that changed the printing industry, just as smart phones replaced feature phones!"
– Dr. Haigang Chen, ATPS R&D Program Manager

Future

The team is not stopping there. They are working on a new generation of priming agents to further strengthen the portfolio and enhance the performance while reducing the cost. In ATPS, innovation never ends. It is the printing technology center developing the cutting edge technologies to transform the printing industry from analog to digital. 


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