The DesignJet 5000 series was first introduced as a replacement to the older CP series (the 2000CP/2500CP of 1997 and the 2800CP of 1999).The CP series was one of the early commercially-available DesignJet models which offered photo quality images with accurate colours, that aimed to support Print Service Providers. The 4 inks lasted up to 24 months outdoors and 5 years indoors, with just 600 dpi, but it could print a respectably fast 12 x A0 prints per hour in normal productivity mode.
After this, the 6 ink DesignJet 5000 range was introduced in September 2000 – a veritable workhorse which was available in a plethora of choices; 42 inch or 60 inch, PostScript or Non-PostScript, UV ink or Dye Ink. It could print up to five times faster than the CP Series, had a better resolution of 1200dpi and covered around 90% of the pantone spectrum with its additional two ink colours.
Today the DesignJet 5000 series has a natural upgrade path laid out of a DesignJet Z6200 42 inch or the Z6600 60 inch – which provides you with the UV stabilised ink, PostScript capability and the 42 inch versus 60 inch choice. Upgrading your DesignJet 5000 seems like a pretty simple choice, doesn’t it?!
Spoiler Alert!! The upgrade path from the DesignJet 5000 series is not a “no brainer” and your business may benefit from you deviating away from the natural upgrade path. There! We’ve said it!
Don’t leap to the natural upgrade path – pay attention and focus on why you purchased the DesignJet 5000 in the first place. For example – did you really need to print up to 42 inches wide or did you simply need to print up to A0 size? You’re paying a premium for a greater width of print.
Also how important is speed versus print quality – the Z6200 concentrates on speed, the Z6600 concentrates on speed/high print volumes – but the Z3200 offers gallery quality prints far more advanced than either – at less than half of the cost!
Perhaps you purchased your DesignJet 5000 second hand at a bargain price with extra bells and whistles that you didn’t really need. For example, do you print maps or plans or engineering drawings up to A0 size? There are current printers which can be purchased for a far lower price than either the Z6200 or Z6600 but which will still give you double the line accuracy of your old 5000 series!
As I see it you have two main routes to choose from:
1 – THE DESIGNJET ROUTE
If you only ever want to print on paper, canvas, banners or film you can opt for a DesignJet. The DesignJet Z Series offers pigment based ink that will give UV stabilised and water resistant prints. Such inks aren’t really suitable for outdoor use, as you’d have to laminate for short term outdoor work. But, if you mainly print posters and canvas then the gallery quality DesignJet Z3200 printer is a definite “must” for your shortlist.
Likewise if you primarily print technical drawings and/or work in the AEC industry (architects, engineers and construction industry), then you’ll need the ability to print with a high degree of accuracy combined with great colour printing and you should consider looking at the two Hybrid DesignJet printers (Z2600 or Z5600) which are every bit as accurate as the Technical Printers (T series) but with a lower cost per copy or, alternatively, review the Technical printers on offer, noting that they use Dye based ink which will see your prints fade over time.
2 – THE LATEX ROUTE
If you are a more generalised print service provider or if you need a printer capable of doing everything that the DesignJets can do…and more besides (or if you just “want” an all singing, all dancing printer because “you’re worth it”), NOW is a good time to consider a Latex Printer.
This will offer you future opportunities for your business such as potential new revenue streams as well as get your creative juices running. HP Graphic Arts often show different businesses moving outside of their traditional sphere such as turning to bespoke printing, wallpaper printing, vehicle wrapping and much more on their YouTube Channel – and certainly the signs are there that bespoke printing will become huge (and even expected!) in the future.
For example, could you see yourself printing bespoke wallpaper or bespoke business decor to showcase your products (and potentially changing it within half an hour to match the next “customer type” to give you a competitive edge?). Did you want to run a special event and create your own backdrops on textiles, run up your own bespoke T-shirts, advertise your event using a vehicle wrap, create quick posters for indoor/outdoor use, create signage for fast emergency planning, protect your premises with window decals and create floor decals to utilise advertising floor space – PLUS still do all of your normal technical and graphics printing …PLUS print your own advertising banners and light boxes, product labels and external signage.
In short this is the second option. The HP Latex Option. A HP Latex Printer offers speed, quality and over 500 profiles of different materials with almost limitless possibilities. The Latex Printer offers durability and competes effectively with Solvent Printers because water is a main component of the Latex Inks, making it odourless and minimising harmful emissions (making it especially suitable for use in schools, hospitals and nursing homes etc).
If you’re looking to discover the very latest possibilities, then I wholeheartedly recommend that you review the HP Latex 115, 315 and 335 printers.