A visit to the HP Indigo centre in Singapore - The Noel D'Cunha Sunday Column

Prof TKS Lakshmi Priya is the head of the department of printing technology at Avinashilingam University for Women, Coimbatore. She says, the visit to the HP Center of Excellence (COE) at Singapore was an enthralling experience. Applications like Mosaic, VDP, and extended colour gamut, among others are making digital technology an important aspect in print.

In this Sunday Column, Prof Priya shares seven lessons she saw, heard, inferred and imbibed at HP’s Singapore centre.

02 Oct 2016 | By Noel D'Cunha

The HP Centre of Excellence is an eye-opener, exhausting but a knowledge treat and somewhat surreal.

That was CD Kumaravel’s, President, Coimbatore Master Printers Association - COMPRIA, rave about the HP Center of Excellence (COE), which heightened our anticipation. The idea for the visit though was mooted by Shridharan, USAM-DGM at HP Indigo Division, when the HP team conducted a workshop on digital printing for our students in Coimbatore in December 2015. Six months later, on 10 August, my colleague Dr A Arulmozhi from the department of printing technology at Avinashilangam University, Coimbatore, and I were on our way to Singapore and a visit that turned out to be “lessons” on digital printing.

There were about 100 other participants, besides us.

The Center’s ambiance was alluring, our goodies including name tags, placard, agenda, notepad and more, all of them showcasing the Mosaic feature available on Indigo Press and personalised using variable data printing (VDP).The conference hall was huge with a long stage and three screens projected with a welcome message. I wondered, how a stage could be long? Well, it was a hall in landscape orientation and not the conventional portrait one, obviously the stage along the length of the hall had to be a long one. Lesson one: Landscape or Portrait – Reach the Audience!

The morning session was packed with the top HP Indigo personnel on stage one by one – Edcent Chan, A Appadurai, Roy Eitan, and Lisa Watson. We were introduced to the objectives of the event and the phenomenon of graphics solutions business (GSB). For those who are new, GSB is the business of providing innovative, value-added and gorgeous printed products to your customers using new technologies thereby retaining existing customers as well as attracting new ones. One note-worthy illustration for an innovative business idea was picked up from Queen Elizabeth’s dressing sense – her colour choices are Pantone and she matches her accessories perfectly with her suits. Printing pictures of the Queen or making an album with such images can be a short-run, stringent colour tolerance case, and needs a versatile, economical printer for it. As academicians in a women’s university, we were looking out for innovative entrepreneurial opportunities for our students and this illustration was quite catchy. Lesson two: Keep all senses open for a business opportunity.


(r) Lakshmi Priya at HP event in Singapore

Arnon Goldman and Mahidi gave an insight to the HP Indigo series of digital Presses and their features in printing a wide range of commercial printed products, packaging printing and on cardboards. Features like use of multiple media in the same run, were mentioned. Later, Son Young Yun oriented us on the new avenues in photo album business using Indigo presses, while Steven Chow briefed us about the PrintOS.

What they spoke about and described, were exhibited category-wise in the COE. An entourage of exhibits followed post lunch. Numerous samples of wallpapers on various substrates including magnetic substrates and canvas were displayed. We saw products with raised prints, one-shot prints on transparent media, use of CMYK + orange and violet, and more. There were photo albums that replaced the silver halide phenomenon, replicas of master painting artists, printed mirrors and glasses, all of them in exquisite colour choices and finishing. The sample photo albums depicted value-addition and innovation in designing combined with creative use of the Indigo press’s ability to print on wide range of substrates, choice of colours, raised prints, spot colours, die-cutting and much more.

Venthini, director at Austriya Printers, Sri Lanka, a fellow participant in the event, shared with us, her experiences as a photo album printer and the how women can excel in this sector, especially with the now available digital printing facilities. Lesson three: Digital photo album business – a definite success for women.


(l) Priya with samples printed on HP

We had the opportunity to see the Tower of Production, the jobs printed in an eight hour shift on HP Indigo WS6800 digital press. The jobs consisted of labels (varying sizes - 95x25 to 170x65), ink colour choices (CMYK, six-colour) and of varying job sizes. The On-press Fast Ink Replacement (OFIR) feature was demonstrated, which provides zero downtime on ink changeovers. This idea of employing a Tower of Production to showcase the clout of the Indigo press, was far from usual – yet another lesson for us - Lesson four: Think differently.


One other thing that was striking at COE was the spick-and-span, unpolluted environment – the Indigo press lab and the ink plant. To keep the environment green they were nurturing indoor plants in small glass enclosures right beside the computers on the tables. However, one would notice that the plants aren’t too healthy and some of the leaves were drying up too. The explanation to this was paradoxical – plants grow well only if the environment is unpolluted – the more the carbon in the air, the more healthy the plants become. Lesson five: Benchmark your initiatives.


On the second day, the sessions were more technical, dealing with PrintOS, HP’s SmartStream Design, augmented reality and a visit to the ink plant. At the ink plant we noticed that the carpet at the door was a sticky one. Although warned, we got our footwear stuck on it for a couple of seconds. The sticky doormat was meant to remove any ink pigments that got stuck to our outer soles. What a way to keep the environment clean! Sorry, pics not allowed inside the ink plant. Lesson six: Implement your strategies any way.

We were on the lookout for the most important lesson – expenses and income. What we learnt was, if the product is of world class quality and one of its kind then the price you quote becomes the standard and HP Indigo guarantees quality if you have one-of-its-kind ideas. Lesson seven: Go get an HP Indigo Press!