The five year, $1.4bn SPT research and product development initiative has allowed HP to put more ink nozzles on its print heads so they can spay ink faster and at higher densities than seen before. HP separates the ink cartridge, which holds the ink, from the print heads which delivers the ink to the paper for speed, longer life cartridges and less user intervention. Latest generation print heads are said to have a life expectancy of 90,000 pages or three years.
In its new SPT printers, HP’s designers have squeezed up to 3,900 nozzles onto a single print head. The greater the number of nozzles the faster the ink can be fired onto the page, and the faster the print speeds attained. The high number of nozzles per head also means more dots of ink can be sprayed in a square inch, which provides a marked improvement in image quality.
Its new OfficeJet Pro K550 is the first in what is to set to become a long line of HP business printers that incorporates SPT and Vivera, HP’s latest free-flowing ink that contains some carefully managed drying and anti-clogging agents. Currently, the new inks are targeted at the home photo consumer markets, but will slowly percolate into HP’s enterprise printers.
In draft mode, it is claimed that the OfficeJet Pro K550 system will output color prints at a cost that is comparable with mono laser printers, assuming a rate of 15% ink coverage. Currently businesses expect to pay a six-fold price premium for a color page over a mono print. HP said the K550 will print professional standard color documents at speeds of up to 10 pages a minute and black text documents at speeds up to 12 pages per minute. It claims the unit cost is up to 30% lower in color cost per page than achieved in laser prints.