Ernest Azzam, HP’s Large Format Printing Regional Business Manager Talks
HP boasts a strong portfolio in large format printing and last year the company also forayed into textile printing with brand new dye sublimation printers. To find out more about HP’s LF strategy in the region and challenges the company is facing in the wake of Corona virus we talked with Ernest Azzam, HP’s Large Format Printing Regional Business Manager. Here are the excerpts:
HP like many other companies played its part to first responders during Corona Virus pandemic, for example printing 200,000 photo stickers which were donated to an estimated 2000 medical personnel at a number of hospitals, what about in our region? What was HP’s contribution in relation with Covid-19 crisis?
HP along with local partners mobilized several initiatives in the region. From personalized face masks printed using HP Stitch technology to 3D printed face shields, such initiatives help the community during these tough times. On the other hand, already in March, HP has launched the Be Online program here in the UAE in partnership with Classera and Mirai to give schools and universities free access to a full ecosystem needed for a remote learning experience.
Do you see post Covid-19 related signage creates opportunities for printers here in our region?
We already see demand for new applications post Covid-19. The most prominent one is informational applications, like social distancing guideline stickers to help people stay safe, as well as messaging posters. These applications require durability and must be safe to use indoor, that is why we see demand for these prints on HP Latex technology increasing. Another opportunity is printing on rigid separators like plexiglass for cashier and service counters at supermarkets and retail outlets. Those can be personalized using rigid Latex printing technology to promote both safety and products.
In 2019 HP made its first move into textiles launching Stitch S series dye sublimation printers, first of all why HP waited so long to enter this lucrative market and do you thing HP will focus more on soft signage market launching more dye sublimation printers in future?
Dye sublimation for textiles is a well-established technology for several years. HP wanted to make sure, when offering new solutions to this segment, that we introduce technologies that help our customers, and not add just another dye-sublimation printing brand.
The new HP Stitch S series deliver the world’s fastest color-matching in the printer (using the built-in spectrophotometer), in the RIP and in the cloud. This helps customers avoid a lot of waste in time and material to match colors. The Stitch series feature also Thermal Inkjet print head technology – a unique innovation in Dye-Sublimation that help reduce time and waste. The technology also allows printing using transfer paper or direct to fabric with the same system.
The portfolio of Stitch S printer (S300, S500 and S1000) cater to all textile applications ranging from Soft Signage to Decoration, fashion and sportswear.
Another hot trend is décor printing, especially now that people stay more at home and work from home, do you see potential for HP’s LFP products in this particular market?
HP has been a major player in the Décor market for several years now using safe and odorless HP Latex Ink technology. We are working very closely with Print Providers focusing on Decoration. In fact, the first Print Provider to be officially certified as an HP Décor Print Specialist is Wallart Designs, a PrintPac Company based in Dubai. As our work environments both at home and in the office are changing, we believe that HP Latex technology will be used to personalize these environments.
Can you elaborate on HP’s PrintOS cloud-based platform, and why It is an important development and why printers should embrace it?
Growth is crucial for long-term success. In today’s market, it’s not easy to survive, much less grow and thrive. It takes creativity and continuous innovation, while handling volumes and increasing complexity, from shorter runs and turnaround times to more personalization. It requires greater efficiency and control 24/7. This can all be achieved, and at the same time simplify the production process from start to finish with the power of PrintOS. HP PrintOS is a print production operating system with web and mobile apps that help you get more out of your HP presses and printers and simplify production. The use of PrintOS will continuously improve the Printer’s operations, inspire their staff, and make better, faster decisions.
HP recently introduced new Latex R series of hybrid printers? What are the benefits of the new series?
The R-Series are the first Hybrid (Rigid & Roll-to-Roll) printers using HP Latex Ink technology. This is providing better print quality and colors, faster outputs and safer prints to use for both rigid and roll-to-toll applications. Whites that fade to yellow is a thing of the past with white HP Latex Ink, that means the customer will get the glossiest of whites on new substrates like wood and acrylic. Printing white has always been a maintenance and waste challenge as white ink is naturally denser than other ink. The HP Latex R-Series solves this problem for customers by keeping the white ink in an always ready to use state.
Will HP participate in Drupa 2021? Do you believe Drupa is still relevant?
We have cancelled all HP-sponsored, live, in-person events through the end of the fiscal year 2020 (Oct 31, 2020). In the interim, we are working to remain connected with our partners and customers in other meaningful ways, including hosting smaller virtual events