PageWide is HP's much-vaunted answer to Memjet's 22.2cm single-unit head and, having been on the billing for about a year now, now enters the market in a number of machines. Most significant is the PageWide XL series; intended for copy shops, in-house and reprographics departments, HP will buck type and launch the largest first in the form of the PageWide XL 8000. This four-colour, dual-supply device will be available from June this year and is the only one of the series not to include a scanner; that said, this 1.02m (40") engine processes 30ppm at A1 onto a variety of papers, suiting it to the AEC and CAD markets as well as cartography and light point-of-sale work.
The PageWide XL 5000 is set to follow in November this year, with the XL 4500 and XL 4000 MFPs due on the market in January 2016. Coming in at 14, 12 and 8ppm respectively, each features hot-swap ink cartridges to maintain uptime, as with the 8000, and will be released in ten core markets – including the UK – in the initial onslaught. They also cut X-Y during print and can be supplied with a folder-stacker and dual stacker that HP has developed specifically to handle the high throughput of these machines.
HP doesn't envision PageWide purely as a proverbial-off-the-shovel platform, however. It's also putting these array-wide heads at the heart of its 3D print range, announced in tandem with its Sprout computer at the back end of 2014. By combining it with thermal ink-jet HP believes it's come up with a 3D process that is faster and more versatile than extrusion or laser sintering. Most exciting is the prospect of being able to provide each voxel – a 'volumetric pixel', and a word in HP-ese with which we'd better become familiar – with its own colour, tensile strength and even conductivity.
We'll have to wait until the second half of 2016 for an actual manifestation, but the as-yet unnamed Designjet 3D does have promise; HP should take the next year to think through the more complex aspects of entering this market, such as intellectual property and materials delivery. Before then, however, PageWide has already been incorporated within the Inkjet Web Press range, massively increasing the efficiency of HP's high-volume, narrow-format engines.