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Updating Evaluation of Hewlett-Packard 5000 to the newer DesignJet 5500 and 5500ps Print E-mail

FLAAR editor Professor Nicholas Hellmuth was at Seybold 2002 when the HP 5500ps was first shown to the public. Members of FLAAR staff had also been present at the Seybold tradeshow years earlier when Hewlett-Packard introduced their impressive HP DesignJet 5000 and HP DesignJet 5000ps.

The 60" print capability means that the HP 5000 and 5500 are both faster than any 44" Epson piezo printhead, such as Epson Stylus Pro 1060 0. Piezo technology is limited in number of nozzles making them inherently slow. The 60" width of the new HP 5000 and 5500 helps sign makers with the trend to wider jobs. Unlike Hewlett-Packard, Epson is unable to offer a 60” print capability.

In early January 2001 Dr. Hellmuth tested the HP UV pigmented inks for the HP 5000 and 5000ps. The results from the evaluation of these new inks for outdoor and indoor longevity have been added to the latest versions of the FLAAR Reports. Just realize that "UV" is a completely erroneous nomenclature for those HP inks; it has absolutely nothing to do with UV-curing (HP has no UV-cured flatbeds at entry level at all). The HP "UV" inks are merely pigmented inks with a mistaken designation (this was before UV-cured inks became popular, so it was not their fault). Today (2007), no new HP ink uses this confusing designation.

While on the subject of ink, although we like the HP pigmented ink, the HP dye-based ink for all their printers 2000-2005 is not very long lasting (as in only about 5 months; or just a few weeks if in high heat and humidity).

large format color printer Hewlett-Packard 5000
Hewlett-Packard 5000

HP UV pigmented inks are sufficiently colorful that dye inks are not necessary. The color gamut of these inks is outstanding. Archival pigmented inks are also available and are easy to interchange. Regardless of which type of dye is used the printer itself is a real workhorse. It prints on textiles, silk, cotton, metal foil, all photo media, watercolor paper, backlit, for posters, signs, banners, vehicle graphics such as bus wrap and all kinds of commercial uses.

It would be difficult for Roland to match the color gamut of the HP UV pigmented inks in the red and cyan ranges since the HP inks are of a completely new formulation. People who us e Epson or Roland constantly write FLAAR to complain that they cannot get Coca-Cola or fire-engine red. Two Roland dealer s were very honest and reported that Roland pigmented inks were unable to reproduce segments of the red color gamut. We at FLAAR therefore noted with some mirth the Roland’s recent ad claims specifically stating they were outstanding in the red spectrum. Epson's ads also list as benefit s certain features their printers are unable to accomplish. Yet despite some shortcomings both companies’ printers have numerous positive features.

Epson and Roland and all piezo users say that "blacks are impossible with pigmented inks." Yet we at FLAAR have printed all kinds of deep, rich pitch-black blacks with the HP pigmented inks. Of course companies like Epson, Roland, Mimaki, Mutoh and others who sell printer s with Epson piezo printheads will not reveal this tidbit of information. They also will not tell you about the problems with Epson blacks and they will say "no pigmented ink will give a deep black, so you might as well buy our Piezo printer."

It is sad for us at FLAAR when we receive e-mail from people who say "every printer sales rep says that their printer is the only one that can do everything perfectly." Since FLAAR does not have to sell printer s we can tell it like it is: ColorSpan thermal printheads provide fast production speeds with impressive color quality. You can do dual-parallel six- ink sets with either dual dye, dual pigmented or one set dye and one set for pigmented so you can change on the fly. We installed a ColorSpan DisplayMaker X II and use one set of all 12 colors for maximum photo quality. Now we are installing an 11-ink set in our ColorSpan Mach 12: quad-back with seven colors, which beats Epson's seven colors. For more information ask for the FLAAR report on ColorSpan printers.

The new Hp5000 arriving at flaar Offices
A brand new HP 5000ps arriving to the new FLAAR digital lab.

Canon, also with thermal printheads, beats any piezo printer for speed. Canon now offers pigmented ink, giving thermal printhead technology significant advantages over piezo printheads. Epson, Roland, Mimaki, and Mutoh are all limited to using the identical Epson piezo printheads.

Nonetheless we at FLAAR liked the Mimaki JV4 because of its advantages over the Epson. Mimaki and also Mutoh tend to have less banding. If you feel you need or prefer a piezo printer we recommend the Mimaki. The Mimaki has dual sets of printheads with a total of 12, so it is much faster than the corresponding model of Epson printer.

For further information on the differences between the Mimaki and HP printer s contact Global Imaging Inc. They handle both HP, Mimaki, and also Vutek printers..

For CAD, GIS, Wide Format Inkjet Printers, Print-for-Pay and other HP DesignJet needs another certified HP dealer is ColorDNA.

Today, in 2007, the HP is a printer of the past

The HP 5000 and 5500 were the best selling 60" printer ever made. These two printers are essentially identical; the 5500 is just a slight update to the 5000. Today, at last, they have been replaced by the HP Z6100, with eight ink lines. But Canon has a 60" printer with twelve ink lines since last year.

And today there is more competition than Canon; today (2007) most people are switching to eco-solvent and mild-solvent. We just spent a week in the Mutoh European factory headquarters and demo room, and quite frankly found the quality of their Spitfire Extreme and their Mutoh Rockhopper 3 Extreme as good as the old HP 5500.

Another competitor is the ColorSpan 5440uv series (four different models).

The HP 5000 + 5500 sold over 49,000 machines (more than Encad and Canon put together). But today, with Mutoh's quality with much longer-lasting inks, and with so many printshops switching to UV-cured flatbed pritners, it is unlikely the HP Z6100 will sell 49,000 units.

Even FLAAR has switched from water-based to mild-solvent, eco-solvent, and UV-cured. We have not evaluated a single HP printer for over two years now, but have almost a hundred evaluations of UV-cured and now solvent printers.

 

Most recently updated: May 6, 2007.
Previously updated, June 8, 2005, 2005, March 2004. Feb. 10, 2003. Dec. 2, 2002. Oct. 20, 2002.

 
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