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The Fundamentals of HP Indigo's Digital Offset Color Printing Process and How It Rivals Mechanical Offset Printing

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In recent print shows, the Indigo Division of HP has introduced new presses based on the new BID development system, the fastest digital color printing products in the industry and with photographic quality capabilities for the high end photo market. “Digital Offset Color” is a process combining HP's unique electrically-responsive ink, “ElectroInk”, with a specially-developed thermal transfer process and a fast color switching technique. These are complemented by an ultra-high performance multi-beam laser scanner and unique image processing software. Pumping through the heart of HP's Indigo digital press is its propriety ElectroInk. ElectroInk enables these liquid electrophotographic printing presses to deliver prints of true offset quality. Only one to two microns in size, charged ElectroInk particles form highly defined characters, line work and halftone dot patterns. The “look and feel” of offset is achieved by a combination of ElectroInk's high saturation and extended color gamut and its unique ability to replicate the surface gloss of the underlying paper stock. The very small particles form extremely thin ink layers, less than one micron thick, enabling both high quality and low cost. Latent image formation, Binary Ink Development, and thermal offset transfer are discussed.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2002

More about this publication?
  • For more than 25 years, NIP has been the leading forum for discussion of advances and new directions in non-impact and digital printing technologies. A comprehensive, industry-wide conference, this meeting includes all aspects of the hardware, materials, software, images, and applications associated with digital printing systems, including drop-on-demand ink jet, wide format ink jet, desktop and continuous ink jet, toner-based electrophotographic printers, production digital printing systems, and thermal printing systems, as well as the engineering capability, optimization, and science involved in these fields.

    Since 2005, NIP has been held in conjunction with the Digital Fabrication Conference.

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