Indigo Digital Press

Indigo Digital Press

Indigo is the name given to a series of Digital Offset Printing Presses made by the Hewlett-Packard Company in Israel.

The main uses for HP Indigo presses include general commercial printing, label, flexible packaging, folding carton and specialty printing. Its ability to print without films and plates enables it to create personalised short runs, changing text, images and jobs without having to stop the press. HP Indigo digital presses are particularly well-suited to consumer-generated web-to-print applications ranging from business cards to photobooks.

Personalised, full-colour direct mail and "transpromotional print," that combines invoices or statements with personalised promotional content, rapidly growing applications for digital printing.


The technology used is based on HP ElectroInk, which uses small colour particles suspended in Imaging Oil (Isopar) that can be attracted or repelled by means of a voltage differential. The ink forms a very thin and smooth plastic layer on the paper surface. The fact that these particles are so small ensures that the printed image does not mask the underlying surface roughness/gloss of the paper, as can be possible with some toner-based processes, bringing Indigo printing closer in appearance to conventional offset lithography, whereby Ink is actually absorbed into the paper.

HP provides the option for users to mix their own ink colours to match Pantone references. This is common with non-digital offset litho presses, and is one of the features that distinguishes the HP Indigo process. "Off-press" colours are mixed from 11 colour (from the 15 original) Pantone spectrum at an offline, ink mixing station. Users can also order special pre-mixed colours from HP Indigo, for example fluorescent pink. HP Indigo presses are available in configurations supporting four, five, six or seven colours.


The name of the press series, Indigo, comes from a company formed by Benny Landa in 1977, with the aim of creating photocopiers. However, the development of ElectroInk technology pushed him to create an offset press replacing the traditional ink with the new technology. The E-Print 1000 was the result and was launched in 1993.


HP, a long-term R&D partner of Indigo, acquired the business in 2002. There are several versions of the HP Indigo press, which can be broadly grouped by the Printing Engine (Series 1, 2) and by application - either Commercial (sheet-fed, mainly for paper printing), or Industrial (web-fed, labelling and flexible packaging).

Operators are trained by HP, at specialist centres in Barcelona (ESP), Boise (ID) or Andover (MA) in the U.S.. There are two main courses, initially a certified operator qualification and, once some experience has been gained with day-to-day maintenance issues, an advanced (also known as DPP or shared maintenance) course.

The Series 2 printing engine can be easily differentiated from the original format by the double sized PIP (dynamic plate), which allows the press to run twice as fast. Current models in this series include the HP Indigo press 5500, 3500 and w3250 (Commercial) and HP Indigo press ws4500 (Industrial). Previous Series 2 models included the UltraStream 2000, HP Indigo press 3000, 3050, w3200, 5000, HP Indigo press ws4000 and ws4050.

HP introduced the Series 3 engine at Drupa 2008. The first model to be introduced is the HP Indigo 7000 Digital Press (Commercial).


Early incarnations of the press were prone to suffer from banding, particularly about 100mm from the trailing edge, as well as ink adhesion problems. However with newer models these issues have been resolved and would only be seen in unusual circumstances, for example if the operator had the press incorrectly configured.

External links

* [ HP Indigo]
* [ Dscoop (Digital Solutions Cooperative)]

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