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HP Designjet 9000s and HP 9000sf lite-solvent discontinued Print E-mail

Earlier in 2009 all models of HP lite solvent printers were discontinued. This will also affect their resale value used. This is a polite way of saying that any printer which is discontinued will have less resale value once it is no longer a priority of the manufacturer or distributor.

Plus, almost every month a printshop owners mentions one or another issue with their HP 9000s solvent printer.

Possible systematic issues with the Hewlett-Packard HP DesignJet 9000s, and HP 9000sf

Hewlett-Packard Designjet 9000s and HP Designjet 9000s reviews
HP DesignJet 9000s printer

The HP Designjet 9000s is the Seiko ColorPainter 64s with a slightly different ink chemistry. It has a USB2 connection, a new high speed dryer option and an APS (air purifier system).

The HP Designjet 8000s, 8000sr, and 8000sf are an entry-level model: not as fast as the model 9000 and thereby costs less. All these printers are designed by Seiko and were originally manufactured by Mutoh. But once HP took these printers over from Seiko, Mutoh withdrew, so HP had to find a different manufacturing plant.

HP is aiming the HP Designjet 9000s and 9000sf at screen printers, digital print shops, and outdoor sign makers. Unfortunately I have received a diary of problems from an end-user. I discretely checked around and learned that the same issue is a known problem. Every single owner of an HP Designjet 9000s tells me of the very same problem.

Hewlett-Packard Designjet 9000s and HP Designjet 9000s evaluations
The HP Designjet 9000s showing some samples at ISA 2008.

The switch from Seiko distributing the printers to HP handling them as the Designjet 9000s and Designjet 9000sf was announced on January 24, 2006. But unfortunately the demand for this printer had already peaked. The original Seiko ColorPainter had such excellent color saturation and pop that the FLAAR Reports praised the results (so hundreds of our readers bought the Seiko version). But after HP took over, there had to be another manufacturer (Mutoh declined to manufacture for HP), there were changes in the printer and ink and there was never any FLAAR Report on the HP Designjet 9000s or 9000sf.

The price of the ink got raised and skewing problems became common knowledge, and sales declined. Also Mutoh introduced their Intelligent Interweaving capability on competing solvent printers (Spitfire Extreme and Rockhopper Extreme). It was possible to spend an entire week at Mutoh Europe to study these two Mutoh printers and their new software. As a result, tens of thousands of people around the world downloaded the FLAAR Reports on the innovative software of these Mutoh printers. We do not have any FLAAR Reports on any HP solvent printer software in part because I have never had an opportunity to test them in a demo room or otherwise study them. There have been too many other interesting printers readily available elsewhere such as the IP&I Cube 260 and other entry-level printers such as the Raster Printers T600UV, a flatbed with impressive print quality.

Mild-solvent ink is better than eco-solvent and a bit less intrusive than full solvent

Eco-solvent ink was a misleading concept in the beginning years. We are greatly relieved that HP did not fall into the eco-solvent pit, since we did not accept the first two generations of eco-solvent ink whatsoever.

Mimaki USA found the eco-solvent concept so misleading in 2003 that they decided to voluntarily withdraw their JV-2 printer rather than foist this chemistry on the public. Only when the ink chemistry was considerably improved did Mimaki gingerly release their version. In the meantime Mimaki also offers a mild-solvent.

Seiko cleverly skipped the first two waves of eco-solvent mania altogether. Seiko waited and then featured mild-solvent. HP has removed some of the more obnoxious chemicals even in mild-solvent and so has a slightly less obtrusive ink, as you would expect for a company like HP.

Gradually all the other companies that tried to foist the concept of eco-solvent inks on unsuspecting sign shop owners are quietly dropping their early generation eco-solvent inks and brewing stronger inks. Now the third generation of eco-solvent ink is out. Quality (on the Mutoh printers I inspected during a week in Oostende, Belgium) was gorgeous.

Site-Visit Case Studies of HP solvent ink printers in the future

We have been concentrating our efforts during 2006-2008 for site-visit case studies of UV-cured inkjet printers, and have now visited and prepared the following first-hand reviews:

ColorSpan 72UVR and 72UV X; DuPont Cromaprint 22uv, what it is really like to own a Chinese-made UV-cured printer; Gandinnovations Jeti UV flatbed (two different site-visits, one in Europe, one in Minnesota); Gandinnovations Jeti UV roll-to-roll (site visit in Portugal)? Infiniti UV printer (two different site-visits, one in Latin America, the other in Missouri); ? L&P Virtu, site visit in Nevada Luscher JetPrint (two different site-visits, one in Europe the other in Missouri) Vutek 200/600 (two site visits, one in Minnesota the other in Missouri)? Zund 215 (two different site visits, both in Missouri)

For year 2008-2009 we would like to undertake comparable site-visit case studies of solvent ink printers, including the HP series. This will depend on budget availability. Since the university does not provide funds (they state that these funds should come from industry), we have to raise the money to undertake the site-visit case studies, factory visits, and demo-room inspections.

During 2008 things are changing: the Mimaki JV5 improved (by changing ink, improving several irksome hardware issues, including how the printheads were handled). And most importantly, a new improved ink was developed. So for 2008-2009, the Mimaki JV5 became a serious competitor for the HP Designjet 9000S. And even more of a competitor is the new Mimaki CJV30 print and cut series of solvent printers. There is nothing like these available from HP. The Mutoh Spitfire Extreme, Mutoh Rockhopper 3 Extreme, Mutoh ValueJet, and now Mutoh Blizzard are also selling well.

If you speak with people who deal with the HP Designjet 9000s on a regular basis, they all mention that some media some times will skew. And that access to cleaning dust bunnies behind the printhead carriage is awkward to access. There are a few other minor irritations (but no printer is perfect). But the fact that HP announced to the public that it would no longer continue with Seiko sort of knocked the bottom out of the market potential for any or all HP solvent printers. The manufacturers of Roland, Mimaki, Mutoh, and even Seiko are jublient since now they can sell more of their own solvent printers.

External add-on after-market infrared IR heaters for drying solvent ink

HP makes their own HP Designjet High Speed Dryer, but since HP is neither an IR infraed dryer manufacturer itself, and actually not yet solvent ink company (other than purchasing Scitex Vision, NUR and taking over Seiko's solvent printers), it is not surprising that other brands of optional auxiliary IR heater dryers are better, including if you compare costs. Most printshops that we visit prefer the BBC Industries Black Body Digi Dry infrared heater dryer for their solvent printers. I visited on large printshop that had rolled their HP infrared heater into a corner to junk it and had bought a Digi Dry from Black Body. This is how FLAAR learns about which products function: we ask printshop owners. Once we learn what printshop owners prefer, we visit the factory where the products are made. Black Body is made outside St Louis, so it is easy to visit this factory.

After-market replacement ink for the original HP OEM light-solvent inks

Many companies make after-market inks for the original Seiko ColorPainter 64s as well as for the HP version: Designjet 9000s. But the third-party replacement ink we know the best is that of Sam-Ink.

FLAAR inspected the ink factory, interviewed the ink chemists and all the software and ink cartridge container software team. Then we visited several end-users who are using after-market Sam-Ink on a daily basis. The results of our evaluation are in a new FLAAR Reports on after-market inks for the HP Designjet 8000s, 9000s, and 10000s versions of the Seiko printers.

Seiko has re-introduced their own mild-solvent printers

At DRUPA 2008 Seiko introduced it's own new solvent printer, the Seiko ColorPainter H-104S. This will not be OEMed (rebranded) by HP. By early January 2009 Seiko + HP jointly announced that HP would not continue rebranding Seiko ColorPainter printers under the HP brand name. Shortly thereafter the Seiko H-74S was introduced and then the Seiko V-64s value line.

 

Most recently updated May 10, 2010.

First posted January 30, 2006. Previously updated February 17, 2006, Oct 5, 2007, May 29, 2008, August 14, 2008, January 12, 2009, September 28, 2009.

 
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