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HP Scitex FB7500 exhibited again, at SGIA 2010 Print E-mail

Several times a year readers of the FLAAR Reports write and ask for my comments on the HP Scitex FB7500. They have already been flown by HP to HP demo centers in Israel, Atlanta, or Barcelona.

These same printshop owners and managers have also visited Durst factories in Lienz and/or Brixen, and VUTEk in Meredith or in Brussels.

I too have been to Lienz and Brixen (five times total) and to Meredith (about five times if you count the recent inspection visit by FLAAR Technical Writer Jose Melgar). And although I have been to Barcelona many times and to Israel several times, there are over 101 different models of UV printers to evaluate, so we can handle only those where a project-based evaluation is realistic.

Nonetheless, I have kept track of this flatbed printer, in part because it is the only dedicated flatbed in the HP Scitex printer portfolio.

Another reason to learn about the HP Scitex FB7500 is now the Gandy Digital Pred8tor is nearing completion. Yes, of course it did not actually print at SGIA 2010. But that will not stop Gandy Digital from completing it in time for ISA 2011. And by FESPA 2011 the Pred8tor will be in production.

HP Scitex FB7500 UV flatbed printer launched at SGIA 2008

HP Scitex FB7500 UV flatbed printer

Since VUTEk showed its DS flatbed prototype already at DRUPA 2008 in May, and since the Inca Onset is selling relatively well, HP needed to show that it also had a model in this field. So the HP Scitex FB7500 was shown at SGIA ‘08, albeit as a prototype.

The first question is whether it has a loader-unloader that is efficient. So far neither Durst Rho nor L&P Virtu has been successful with a loading and unloading system. They showed them in the past, but then never again at a trade show. The One Solution Vega printer, from a Unique Partner, has been shown only at one single FESPA event, then not at any other signage trade show. Of course the trend is to display such feeding systems only in a demo room or at a site-visit installation (since these printers are rather large for a trade show).

Actually the Scitex Vision CORjet loader/unloader is one that seems to function well.

By the time of SGIA 2008 and VISCOM 2008 we will know which printers actually appear, because the HP Scitex FB6300 disappeared before it was fully launched (the HP version of the Scitex Vision VEEjet+). Then the much touted HP Scitex FB6500 never appeared (other than at Barcelona 2006, shown to hundreds of admiring visitors). The HP Scitex XL2200 finally appeared a year late (at SGIA 2007) but its X2 MEMS printheads had issues and the entire XL2200 program was replaced by buying NUR and then rebranding the successful NUR Expedio printers.

X2 MEMS Printheads

Every new printer that HP announced at their Barcelona September 2006 extravaganza needed the X2 MEMS printhead to function. One suggested reason that none of these announced printers actually were shown at any trade show is because of problems with their X2 MEMS printheads. Only one of the announced printers survived long enough to be formally launched: the XL2200 was shown at SGIA 2007 but that was only to pretend to have a printer better than NUR; the XL2200 was not fully functional outside a lab or outside a trade show booth because the printheads seemingly did not hold up more than a few weeks before they needed replacing.

Evidently these issues are not unique to the X2, but occur in MEMS printheads per se.
Why does no trade magazine mention these issues? Why is there not one analyst who has written any article point out the downsides of MEMS technology? Hmmm, why do trade magazines (and Success Stories of PR agencies) never tell the full pros and cons of any printer?

Now the new HP Scitex FB7500 is re-introducing the X2 MEMS heads. It has 312 of these heads. The HP labs have had one full year to improve the heads after the withdrawal of the XL2200 printer. In this same 12-month period cationic ink has gone from “impossible” to fully functional (albeit very slow in the Gerber ion; but I have been in the Gerber factory and demo room; it works just fine). So if an ink can work at SGIA 2008 that failed at SGIA 2007, surely a MEMS printhead that failed at the same SGIA ’07 has a comparable theoretical chance of working by the time of SGIA ’08.

In 2007, the survival rate for an X2 printhead has been estimated to be a 100% failure over four months. This was an average of one printhead a day in the XL2200. Now the HP Scitex FB7500 uses almost twice the number of MEMS heads as the XL2200 dared to try. So clearly there have been advances; no printer company would launch a million dollar printer with heads that had a 100% failure rate.

So if you are about to consider the HP Scitex FB7500 printer, you need to visit more than the demo room; you need to discretely visit end-users and learn about how to handle replacement of the MEMS printheads: the time involved and the cost of each and every new replacement head.

Tons of new UV printers at SGIA 2008 including the HP Scitex FB7500

There were more new UV flatbed printers at SGIA 2008 in Autumn than were new UV flatbed printers at DRUPA ’08, that same summer which was supposedly the Mecca of printer trade shows. Because so many new UV printers appeared at SGIA ’08, we are evaluating only those where we have access to the printer for testing at a major demo center or at the factory. Thus for all the Yuhan-Kimberly textile printers, I spent a week in Korea evaluating them in-person. A trade show booth is too hectic.

So far it has not been possible to make time to get to the main demo room to inspect this HP Scitex FB7500, but it has been possible to see if functioning in the HP booth at SGIA 2010.

The HP Scitex FB7500 UV flatbed printer reviews
HP Scitex FB7500 UV flatbed printer evaluations
HP Scitex FB7500 flatbed UV printer at SGIA 2008.

Concordance of HP Scitex UV printers

The TurboJet is still known as the TurboJet, so needs no index listing. This has changed model numbers as the printer has been tweaked. But the basic printer is the same as it has always been for years.

NUR Tempo Q = HP Scitex FB6100 (aging and has issues)

Faster replacement for aging NUR Tempo Q= HP Scitex FB7500

NUR Expedio 3200 = HP Scitex XP2100

NUR Expedio Inspiration = HP Scitex XP2700

2.3 meter version, HP edition = HP Scitex XP2300

NUR Expedio 5000 = HP Scitex XP5100

NUR Expedio Revolution = HP Scitex XP5300

Samples of the HP Scitex FB7500 UV flatbed printer
HP Scitex FB7500 UV flatbed printer showing some samples at SGIA 2008.

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Updated October 18, 2010, after SGIA 2010.
First posted September 22, 2008. Updated October 14, 2008 at SGIA.. Updated Oct 21, 2008 after SGIA. Updated November 9, 2008.

 
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