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HP's Jeremy Brew defends the environmental benefits of Latex inks and the two Latex printers

Late last year Wide Format Online magazine was asked by HP to interview their Designjet Specialist, Jeremy Brew in response to claims by their competitors that the Latex inks and the two Latex machines were not as environmentally friendly as HP were claiming.

We spoke with HP's competitors and received their basic complaints which hopefully we have reproduced here in question format for Jeremy.

jeremy brew copy.jpgBelow are published the questions we asked Jeremy and the answers he has provided.

WFOL) Would you agree that the additional electricity consumed by the Latex machines by the heating units detracts from the claim by HP that these machines are truly 'green' machines and the effective 'total' carbon footprint is substantially higher than the solvent and eco solvent machines as a result.
JB) It is a myth that HP Designjet Printers using Latex inks use more power than a solvent or eco solvent printer.  HP Designjet Printers using Latex inks have many significant advantages over solvent and eco solvent based printers.  Prints using HP Latex Inks are completely cured inside the printer, requiring no external heaters, dryers or drying racks; which means less power usage and less real estate space.  HP Latex inks also produce very small amounts of VOC's (volatile organic compounds) and no HAP's (Hazardous Air Pollutants), eliminating the requirement for expensive filters and ventilation units, which again reduces power usage.  Water-based HP Latex Inks require no special handling, no warning labels and no special disposal requirements.  HP Designjet Printers using Latex inks utilise unique automatic maintenance cycles, meaning operators have no exposure to dangerous cleaning chemicals which are required on some other solvent based printers.
So with HP Latex inks, you don't need external dryers, ventilators, space for drying/hanging prints, cleaning chemicals, swabs and gloves.  HP Designjet Printers with Latex inks truly are the environmentally friendly solution.
WFOL) Are your customer's made aware of the fact that the Latex machines consume far more electricity than a conventional solvent or eco solvent printer.
JB) On our printer datasheets HP publish the "peak" draw of our printers.  This is the maximum draw the printer may achieve during the warm-up phase.  The actual power usage during printing is significantly lower.  As an example, the average power consumption during printing on a HP Designjet L25500 Printer is about 2.7KW /hour.  This is lower than many traditional solvent and eco solvent based printers and is in fact, only slightly higher than a standard household room heater.
WFOL) The heating units on the Latex machines heat the media to a temperature of between 100 -120 degrees C,  does this in any way limit the media choices that can be printed on these machines.
JB) The curing system inside the HP Designjet L25500 and L65500 printers force heated air across the surface of the media.  This process completely dries and cures the prints inside the printer.  As with any printer, there is a very small range of media that are not compatible with the HP Designjet Latex printers.  However, the unique properties of HP Latex inks mean that in addition to standard outdoor media, these printers can print on a far wider range of textiles, polyesters and uncoated papers than a solvent or eco solvent based printer.  HP have also taken the hard work out of media selection, by creating a Certification process for 3rd party media on HP Latex Printers.  This can be found on our Latex solutions page, and this extensive list is growing daily.
WFOL) Can you provide an average ink consumption per square metre printed on the Latex machines. How does this compare with an average eco-solvent and solvent machines when printing the same image.
JB) HP Latex inks have a similar rate of consumption to most eco solvent printers.  The amount of ink used is hugely dependent on the file and media.  In our own testing, a very heavily saturated file used up to 25 mls for a sqm, whereas a standard retail POP print, used as little as 7ml for a sqm.

WFOL) Can you provide an average ink cost per square metre given all the costs involved by a typical customer, including the additional electricity costs and all other consumables.
JB) Similar to the above, this is hugely dependent on the file.  At Australian RRP, factoring in all consumable costs excluding media, the HP Designjet L25500 printer supplies cost is roughly 30 cents per ml.  The HP Designjet L65500 is roughly 23 cents per ml.  Using Energy Australia's 100% Green Power Option costs of 6.6 cents per KWh as a guide, an HP Designjet L25500 printer running in a quality mode of 9 Sqm /hour will cost roughly 2 cents per square metre for electricity usage.
WFOL) We have been advised that Latex ink consists of approximately 10% Formaldehyde. Is this true? Are their suitable warnings on the ink packaging of the dangers of Formaldehyde.
JB) Our Material Safety Datasheets are readily available on the HP website.  There is no Formaldehyde in the list of contents.  In fact, the composition of HP Latex inks mean they do not require any warning or hazard labels, another unique property in the Large Format Outdoor Ink market.

HP Australia