HP, Showing Off Printing Labs, Proves 2D Can Also Impress

By Michelle Maisto  |  Posted 2014-07-28

Hewlett-Packard, on the cusp of entering the 3D printing market, has begun talking more about its ink-jet business. The effort is intended to remind, or make clear, its long history in the printing space and the depth of intelligence that's come from it. HP opened its Corvallis, Ore., lab in 1976, focusing on calculators, and a Vancouver, Wash., site in 1979 that was an impact printer division. The two soon began working together, and today they're deeply complementary, according to Sue Richards and Brad Freeman, who oversee research and development at the sites. Together the labs work on everything from the composition of the ink to the size of an ink drop (which has shrunk over the years from 220 picoliters to just 6) to the precision with which each hits a fast-moving page—whether in an HP office printer or the type of large, digital printing presses it creates for niche customers, and through which more than 800 feet of paper run every minute. "We've really taken our thermal ink-jet technology and pushed it into this industrial and graphics space. … There's so much opportunity," said Freeman.

Michelle Maisto has been covering the enterprise mobility space for a decade, beginning with Knowledge Management, Field Force Automation and eCRM, and most recently as the editor-in-chief of Mobile Enterprise magazine. She earned an MFA in nonfiction writing from Columbia University, and in her spare time obsesses about food. Her first book, The Gastronomy of Marriage, if forthcoming from Random House in September 2009.

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