26 Sep 2020

USA TODAY production meets round-the-clock deadlines with help from HP

Hp T1120



  • USA TODAY needed to update its fleet of printers used for production proofing. The printers needed to reproduce accurate colours for the proofing process, be compatible with custom newspaper stock and provide a reliable, cost-competitive printing solution for the long term.



  • The HP Designjet T1120 Printer is a reliable printing solution designed for low total cost of ownership, high productivity and reproducing accurate colours.
  • HP Vivera inks, including a three-black ink set, produce a wide range of colours and fine detail for professional prints.



  • USA TODAY is experiencing a 10 percent increase in printing speeds using the HP Designjet T1120 Printer. This increase enables the production team to speed up their production workflow, catch errors faster and stay on schedule.
  • Outstanding quality from the HP Designjet T1120 Printer enables USA TODAY to produce additional applications such as high-quality special-edition commemorative prints for display purposes.
  • How to get ahead in the newspaper business


The newspaper business is notoriously fast paced and competitive, especially now that it must contend with online - and largely free - news sources. USA TODAY has stayed ahead of the game in terms of costs and productivity, thanks to a tech-savvy production department dedicated to adopting the latest digital inkjet technology for its proofing process.

Ron Cobbs, operations manager, has been a key player in the adoption of digital technology from the start. "We stepped into the fray early in terms of bringing digital technology into the newspaper industry. Starting ten years ago, we transitioned to doing inkjet proofs using HP Designjet printers.  Before that, all proofing was done on a web press, which was much more costly."

Along with Cobbs, Mike Grinder, production technician, helped jump-start USA TODAY's companywide digital transition at its 40 domestic and international print sites. Today the two colleagues are retooling the newspaper's proofing capabilities once again, upgrading the workhorse fleet of HP printers with the HP Designjet T1120 Printer.

Cobbs took a fresh look at available products before deciding on tried-and-true HP technology and the accurate colour reproduction and media compatibility offered by the HP Designjet T1120 Printer. The new HP technology builds on many of the digital benefits USA TODAY had been experiencing - enabling the print reproduction quality advertisers expect, while lowering production costs and improving workflow even further.


Accurate colour reproduction

As a major source of revenue, advertising is the lifeblood of newspapers. Any change in the technology or workflow must not detract from the newspaper's ability to serve advertisers. Accurate colour reproduction is essential to the proofing process, as staff check the colour of digital inkjet proofs against specifications to ensure advertisers are satisfied.

"We're finding some print houses and agencies we work with now have the same HP device and third-party software we use for colour management, so they can accurately reproduce the ad proofs there," says Cobbs. The colour consistency of the HP Designjet T1120 Printer and the rich gamut of HP Vivera inks allow USA TODAY's third-party vendor for colour management to accurately recreate the ad no matter where the proofs are printed.

Precise colour reproduction is also important for the newspaper's editorial content. USA TODAY uses a relatively high percentage of colour photos and graphics in its publications. Checking proofs against the originals allows the newspaper's production team to ensure matching skin tones or colours in graphs and charts. Thanks to the printer's resolution and wide range of colours, USA TODAY can achieve the exact colour it needs, every time.


Media compatibility enables time savings

The type of media USA TODAY uses is also essential to accurate colour reproduction. In fact, media compatibility was an overriding factor in USA TODAY's decision to go with the HP Designjet T1120 Printer. When proofing, the production department needs to see colours exactly as they will appear on newsprint.

The HP Designjet T1120 Printer has extensive media versatility, including compatibility with more than 35 types of Original HP media. To enable printing on USA TODAY media, the team puts its newsprint on rolls that feed into the HP Designjet T1120 Printer. "We also use HP high-gloss media to produce high-quality special-edition commemorative prints for display purposes," Cobbs adds.

Versatile media handling and reliability also help the production department save time. "Even using our custom media stock," Cobbs says, "we have no problem at all with feeding and handling." Printers in the newspaper's Virginia headquarters run nearly constantly-18 hours a day, six days a week, he adds.  "A simple paper jam could throw us off schedule, but we haven't had any downtime."

The media versatility of the HP Designjet T1120 Printer isn't the only feature helping to boost productivity. Grinder has also noticed a 10 percent increase in printing speed with the upgraded technology, in addition to the Original HP inks' ability to dry fast, allowing proofs to be handled almost immediately.


Digital technology helps newspapers thrive

As the newspaper and publishing industries grow increasingly competitive, HP is designing a broad portfolio of inkjet technology to enable them to operate efficiently. When the installation of HP Designjet T1120 Printers across USA TODAY's print sites is complete, the company's production will be able to benefit from increased productivity and lower costs.

Cobbs sums up their success transitioning to the new HP technology: "We're extremely pleased to have set up a digital proofing system that meets the needs of USA TODAY's production team, our advertising customers and internal customers in the editorial department. The HP Designjet T1120 Printer provides a dependable, reliable product at a great price point, backed by the service and support we need."

New compact desktop LED UV printer from Mimaki

Mimaki UJF-3042

Mimaki announce the launch of the UJF-3042, a desktop size UV LED inkjet printer that combines Mimaki’s award winning UV LED technology with a strong heritage in UV inkjet printing. The new machine is aimed at companies wishing to produce high quality output on materials up to A3 in size (300 x 420mm) with precise and vivid images onto uncoated substrates.

The UJF-3042 incorporates a newly developed inkjet print head that perfectly suits the requirements of this compact printer and enables an exceptionally good value for money proposition. Its cost-effective features include very low energy consumption through the implementation of LED UV curing as well as its ability to print to a vast choice of uncoated media. For screen printers, there are now no start-up costs and short run production is perfectly suited to the machine. Therefore not only can badges, cards, packaging, labels, stickers and display products be created but also the personalised imprinting of novelties, nameplates, electronics cases and other industrial products.

Capable of outputting process and white ink at up to 1,440 x 1,200dpi and printing with a variable dot, the Mimaki UJF-3042 accommodates uncoated materials up to 50mm thick. Glass, metal, wood, plastic and acrylic can all be printed to, and with high speed printing of around 4 minutes for an A3 imprint, including white, it’s an impressively quick solution. The inherent nature of a UV print forms a raised finish, so Braille and textured effects can also be produced on small signs and packaging mockups.

The LED UV Curing technology has multiple advantages over competing technologies – the aforementioned low power consumption not only benefits running costs, but also – because of the small amount of heat generated – materials that are heat sensitive can be printed to without fear of the media deforming. The inclusion of white ink means coloured, transparent and metallic substrates can be printed to with the white as an over or under printed feature, either as a pad or in perfect registration.

John de la Roche; National Sales Manager for Mimaki’s exclusive UK & Ireland distributor, Hybrid Services Ltd, remarks, “The launch of the UJF-3042 adds a really exciting model to Mimaki’s ever-growing UV curing printer range. We can cater for any requirement from desktop to super-wide and the trickle down of technology is now benefiting smaller users and new entrants.”

Mimaki include their powerful 16 bit Postscript RIP software as part of the package and with its relatively compact size, the printer is designed to fit through a standard door to facilitate ease of installation. The Mimaki UJF-3042 is available in the Spring through Hybrid’s network of authorised resellers and is anticipated to be very competitively priced for such a high end solution.

Nature photographers achieve traditional darkroom feel with HP large format printer

HP Designjet Z3200



Train nature photographers on how to print large format digital prints with outstanding image quality


Comparison of print quality among:

44inch (111.8cm) HP Designjet Z3200 Photo Printer using Original HP 72 Vivera pigment inks and the HP 73 chromatic red ink

24inch (70cm) printer from a competitor of HP's

17inch (43.2cm) printer from another competitor


Media solutions:

HP Baryte Satin Art Paper

HP Professional Satin Photo Paper

HP Hahnemühle Smooth Fine Art Paper

HP Professional Matte Canvas



Course participants were convinced more than ever about the advantages of digital technology

Strong preference among participants for the image quality of the HP solution

Black and white prints on HP Baryte Satin Art Paper were the most neutral they had ever seen

More detail visible in the shadows on HP prints than on those made using other machines

Reds and yellows on the HP colour prints were better than anything they had seen before

Participants were also impressed at how every HP print was good-there were no reprints

HP Designjet Z-series printers have resulted in a 15 percent increase in the Canfields' fine-art printing business and 100 percent increase in their portrait work

Bringing large format into the studio


John Canfield, Nature Photographer and Writer of articles and books on digital photography, has seen a growing trend for professionals in his field to print their own digital photographs in-house. Recognising this trend, the North American Nature Photography Association (NANPA) invited Canfield to hold a workshop on fine art digital printing at its annual summit in 2009. "A lot of photographers can now afford to put a large format printer in their studios," said Canfield, "and many are returning to the traditional surface looks of analogue darkroom days, only now they're using digital to achieve that same beautiful quality."

The NANPA summit is the premiere nature photography conference in North America and, as well as a series of technology workshops, it includes presentations, reviews, and a tradeshow, all with the objective of educating and inspiring people interested in nature photography while also acting as a forum for networking. About 400 people attended the 2009 edition in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Signing up in advance for Canfield's printing workshop were 35 photographers ranging from very serious amateurs to professional landscape and wildlife photographers and specialists in stock photography.


Comparing output from different printers

The focus of the workshop was on preparation for printing-resizing, sharpening, creative borders, media selection, and colour management-and then the actual printing of sample large format prints using different output methods: a 44inch (111.8cm) HP Designjet Z3200 Photo Printer using Original HP 72 Vivera pigment inks and the HP 73 chromatic red ink; a 24inch (70cm) printer from a competitor of HP's; and a 17inch (43.2cm) printer from another competitor. During live demonstrations in Adobe Photoshop, participants practiced different types of adjustments and then carried out soft proofing on the computer screen. They learned how paper colour profiles are used, working with samples of Canfield's work on different media types including canvas and fine art papers. Part of the workshop consisted of the participants printing samples of their own work (having been asked to bring along files on flash drives for this purpose) and being given the final prints to take home.


The trainer's choice of printing materials

Depending on the image to be printed, Canfield recommends different paper types. "HP Baryte Satin Art Paper is one of my favourites," he said, "especially for black and white work; for that it's the main one I use. It produces prints with a really nice traditional look and feel. It has an excellent Dmax and a very smooth finish and tends to hold small detail very well. I also use baryte papers from other vendors, but my preference is for HP's. It does a better job of reproduction, the texture is the nicest, and it's consistent from one roll to the next."

Another of the papers that Canfield uses most is the resin-coated HP Professional Satin Photo Paper. "The resin gives a traditional texture," he said. "Colour reproduction is great. The paper has a wide colour gamut, and it works well with or without HP Gloss Enhancer." That said, the photographer always turns on the gloss enhancer setting on his HP Designjet Z3200 Photo Printer when printing on baryte and photo papers. "Using the HP Gloss Enhancer, there is no gloss differential on the prints," he said. "I get perfect gloss uniformity across the images. That always improves the print."

When it comes to a traditional photo rag, Canfield's choice is HP Hahnemühle Smooth Fine Art Paper. "On this cotton rag," he said, "I use the printer's matte black HP Vivera pigment ink, which provides a denser black than the printer's photo black alone would achieve. The paper works well for fine art prints, in both colour and black and white. The prints have a more expressive look about them, more so than on resin-type papers. This paper is excellent for exhibition prints and limited editions, which need to stand out."

When printing on canvas, Canfield prefers HP Professional Matte Canvas for both portrait and landscape prints. "This canvas has a very nice texture," he said, "and reproduces colour exceptionally well."


Black & white prints with a traditional darkroom feel

The HP Designjet Z3200 Photo Printer created quite a stir at the workshop. "The prints from the HP printer were extremely popular," said Canfield. "People who had experience with one of the two other printers preferred the quality from HP. Comments from participants were that the prints looked better than anything they had tried before. The black and white prints on HP Baryte Satin Art Paper were the most neutral they had ever seen. People were impressed."

Canfield's own verdict echoed the enthusiasm of his students: "The HP Designjet Z3200 Photo Printer using HP Vivera inks produces black and white photographs with a great traditional darkroom look and feel to them," he said. "The black is the deepest I've ever seen on an inkjet printer. It's right on par with traditional darkroom techniques. Blacks are completely neutral. There is no metamerism going from one light source to another. The printer's greyscale produces prints with an excellent tonal range, giving very smooth tonal transitions."

One of the participants had brought along a black and white image of Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming. It was similar to a classic photograph by Ansel Adams, having purposely been shot from roughly the same position as Adams' original viewpoint. The workshop group printed the image on the HP Baryte Satin Art Paper using the HP Designjet Z3200 Photo Printer. "The photo has clouds in the sky, and there are really deep shadows on the mountain," said Canfield. "It possesses a very wide tonal range. The whites on the print hold the detail nicely-there are no blown highlights-and there is great definition between each shade of black. The owner of the image commented that he had not seen anywhere near as much detail in the shadows on other prints he had made of it."


Colour saturation, consistency, and accuracy

The excitement emanating from the workshop area of the summit was not only about the black and white print quality. One of the innovations of the HP Designjet Z3200 Photo Printer's 12-ink printing system, with its HP Vivera pigment inks, is the inclusion of the new HP 73 chromatic red ink. This addition widens the gamut of colours printable, bettering even the extensive gamut already available on HP's previous printer, the HP Designjet Z3100 Photo Printer. "Participants told me that the reds and yellows on the colour prints were better than anything they had seen before from other printers," said Canfield. "The HP 73 Chromatic Red Ink Cartridge significantly improves red tones, giving better saturation and colour accuracy."

However, a printer must not only produce outstanding-quality colour prints; those same colours must be repeatable on all prints and across different paper types. "The participants were impressed at how every HP print was good," said Canfield, "there were no reprints. With other printers, you sometimes have to reprint due to colour inconsistencies. With HP, colours are consistent from one paper type to the next. I change rolls and don't have to re-profile. All HP Designjet Z-series printers have onboard spectrophotometers, making it much easier to get prints with consistent accurate colours. That's at affordable prices all in one package-you don't have to buy separate profile-making equipment or software. The learning curve is easier, and the output is high quality."


Print permanence

Once photographers have printed their own large format prints, they want to be sure that the prints will last for years to come in exhibitions and galleries or in their clients' homes and businesses. "Image durability is very important for people buying prints," said Canfield. "No-one wants to spend money to see a print fade 2 years or even 20 years down the road. With output from the HP Designjet Z3200 Photo Printer, I am able to tell people that the print permanence rating is for over 200 years, which reassures them of their purchase."


Significant increase in business

With his wife Kathy, Canfield also runs a photo studio in Washington State, doing portrait work for clients in their local county area and printing exhibition prints for other fine art photographers. Using HP Designjet Z-series printers the couple have seen a 15 percent increase in their fine-art printing business and a 100 percent increase in portrait photography. "HP has made it easier and more profitable because of the lower costs of ink and media," said Canfield, "and we also turn printing around faster than our competitors do. Other photographers in our area are still sending print production work out to labs."

But the primary reason that Canfield chose the HP Designjet Z3200 Photo Printer over all others was its image quality. "That was the deciding factor," he said. "HP has a reputation for quality and long-term experience. They have been doing graphic printers forever and have the best range of digital colour products on the market. No-one can look at a print from the HP Designjet Z3200 Photo Printer and not be impressed with the image quality."


Mimaki introduce new Direct and Dye Sublimation Production Printer

Mimaki JV5-320DS Direct and Dye-Sublimation Printer

Mimaki announce the launch of its new large format direct and dye-sublimation printer – the 3.2m wide JV5-320DS. The new machine enables direct printing on polyester substrates at high speeds and with excellent results. The highly acclaimed productivity and quality features of JV5 have been merged in this model to produce outstanding print on textiles on a super wide scale. The JV5-320DS will be available early in the New Year commanding a slight premium over the current solvent version due to the additional features of the new machine.

The JV5-320DS is based on Mimaki’s award-winning JV5-320S solvent super wide printer and is designed for high productivity and accurate print quality requirements in the outdoor signage market. As this market is experiencing growing demand for outside signage on polyester textiles, for instance, for flags, banners and soft signage that are better catered for with water based dye-sublimation inks, Mimaki has designed the JV5-320DS.

The majority of the benefits from the current JV5-320S are incorporated into the JV5-320DS in such a way that the highest productivity and excellent image quality are achieved on this direct and dye-sublimation printer. During printing on polyester substrates, inks can easily pass through the fabric underneath. Therefore, the JV5-320DS is equipped with an ink catching trough to prevent the ink that penetrates the fabric staining the back side. In addition, a new drying fan will dry inks directly after printing in order to prevent media sticking during the winding process.
The JV5-320DS also features Mimaki’s new Spray Suppressor System that improves printing consistency even further.

John de la Roche; National Sales Manager for Mimaki’s UK & Ireland distributor, Hybrid Services Ltd welcomes the introduction of the JV5-320DS; “We’re answering market demands for production printing of grand format soft signage with this machine.”

“The desire to print directly to polyester seems to be on everyone’s lips at the moment and with the new JV5-320DS, it’s a commercial reality.”

The JV5-320DS achieves a maximum resolution of 1,440 dpi and is equipped with Mimaki’s AMF (Automatic Media Feeder) for stable feeding of heavy media up to 130kg. Print speeds vary according to resolution between 60.3 sq m/h (540 x 720 dpi) for long distance viewing to close up viewing of 44 sq m/h (at 540 x 1,080 dpi). Mimaki’s proven Sb52 dye-sublimation ink with their superior colouration characteristics are used – delivering vibrant colour and deep hues. The printer also features the optional, MBIS (Mimaki Bulk Ink Supply System) that provides an ink load of 2 litre containers and thus caters for long uninterrupted print runs while at the same time saving money on ink.

Minicom Digital Signage Unveils New Video Wall with up to nine displays in Ultra-HD

DS Vision Wall

Minicom Digital Signage, the leader in “last mile” player-to-screen connectivity platforms for the Digital Signage marketplace - unveils the DS Vision Wall - an innovative, Ultra High Definition (UHD) display wall solution for digital signage applications powered by YCD.

DS Vision Wall is specifically designed for the in-store market. With outstanding specs and dynamic control, venues can create a unique brand experience utilizing visual content, with flexibility and creativity.

Minicom DS Vision Wall can drive up to nine displays in their native HD resolution, in any shape and configuration. It comes with bezel compensation and will run with any vendor display. Furthermore, it supports most of the common multimedia file formats, resulting in major cost savings by avoiding expensive post production to adaptation of content to displays.

Minicom Digital Signage multiscreen Video Wall, integrates audio and video for unparalleled clarity and impact. The DS Vision Wall can support three, four, six, or nine digital signage screens of any size in any matrix, arranged in the configuration that best utilizes your space and content. Place one stunning image on a video wall and dramatically change the mood and atmosphere of the room, or use multiple targeted digital messaging images to inspire a call to action.

DS Vision® Wall can be used for video, advertising and audio purposes with additional customization tools including Flash animation overlays, RSS feeds, crawls, and so on. DS Vision Wall comes in three configurations ready to go (out-of-the-box), to support three, six, or nine screens of any size, allowing for easy deployment without the need for customisation.

Screens can be mounted in different ways – vertically, horizontally or side by side. DS Vision® Wall provides the freedom to design any matrix combination for maximum effect.

Case Study: HP Designjet L25500 Latex Printer

HP Designjet L25500 latex printer


  • Grow printing business by offering new products and applications while continuing to supply the robust output demanded for its core business applications
  • Eliminate outsourcing to save 2-3,000 Euro/month and increase profit margins by 50 percent
  • Offer printed output with lower environmental impact in "sensitive" environments


  • HP Designjet L25500 Printer using HP Latex Inks and HP Embedded Spectrophotometer with Advanced Close Loop Colour Calibration


  • Versatility from single printing solution to successfully compete for higher image quality business to grow revenue streams while still serving established customer demands
  • Profit margins on outsourced printing increased by 50 percent by bringing printing in-house
  • Increased customer satisfaction, faster turnaround and higher quality signage
  • Sell HP Latex printed output for "sensitive" environment applications such as health service sector, restaurants, fresh food stores or kids' toy shops

The year 2009 marked twenty years of business for tot.rètol, a sign printing shop based in Igualada, outside Barcelona in Spain. Joan Torrents, general manager and owner, has successfully exploited his business experience and know-how as a printing professional to steer tot. rètol through the economic downturn that came with the credit crisis, perhaps the most challenging period since tot.rètol started business in 1989. tot.rètol use "hard" solvent printing technology, a term commonly used among printing business professionals to distinguish it from eco-solvent printing technology. They print on PVC, banner and transparent vinyl for tradeshows banners, point of sale displays and outdoor store signs.

Eliminating outsourcing to double profit margins

Joan Torrents describes the business scenario that drove them to explore alternative printing technology to solvent-ink printing. "tot.rètol until recently was a solvent-only technology sign making business. Our solvent printers were adequate for our standard signage orders but customer orders sometimes include a portion of prints demanding higher quality. To ensure a single supplier solution and achieve greater customer loyalty we satisfied all their needs by outsourcing what we couldn't print on solvent. The problem is our profit margins were halved when we outsourced. The second problem is that reduced profit margins meant we could not compete for jobs that demanded only, or principally, high image quality. Also, turnaround times can double with outsourcing, excluding tot.rètol from competing for business with tight deadlines," states Torrents, concluding, "The economic crisis meant print volumes from core solvent-ink applications were down 40 percent. The HP Designjet L25500 Printer has allowed us to expand our applications and products and still serve our core business for robust, durable output. We are seeing our printing volumes grow strongly and we believe we can still do much more."

Making new profits

Joan Torrents explains how the HP Designjet L25500 Printer allowed tot.rètol to successfully compete for new business. "We recently bid for a high image quality job that demanded 150m2 (492ft2) of in-store signage up to 2 x 4m (6.6 x 13.1ft) on vinyl. The viewing distance was short so our solvent printer was not an option due to the low image quality it offers and possible banding. It was an important opportunity as the job was for an advertising agency - an ideal customer in terms of return business. By using the HP Designjet L25500 Printer, as opposed to outsourcing, we were able to make an extremely competitive offer to acquire the new agency as a customer and still make a profit. Delivery time was halved from six days to three by printing in-house. Without in-house printing it is very unlikely that we could have beaten the competition to win the job. The customer was satisfied with our printing service and we have become their first choice supplier," Torrents states.

Versatility offers more sellable applications

Torrents believes printed output with a lower environmental impact will give them an extra competitive edge for certain applications. "Printed output using solvent inks may be perceived as unsuitable in certain types of activities, particularly those widely used by the public. The health service sector, restaurants, fresh food stores or kids' toy shops are a few examples where environmental health and safety are of paramount importance. Printed displays in these "sensitive" environments represent an ideal application for Latex output from the HP Designjet L25500."

HP Latex Printing Technology represents a no-compromise alternative over tot.rètol's solvent ink technology. "A regular client requested some attractive 60 x 60cm2 (23 x 23in2) coffee table tops for their outdoor terrace bar. Output needed to be tough and weather resistant. In the past we would have used our solvent printer and then laminated the output. We printed the job on white vinyl at a higher quality and more quickly on our new HP Latex printer and laminated output to avoid scratching," Torrents says delightedly.

Innovation without complication

As a new, unfamiliar technology to tot.rètol, any initial concerns they had about its implementation were soon dispelled. "Our operator has lots of experience with large format solvent and the HP Designjet L25500 Printer was extremely easy to manage in comparison. It was very, very easy to learn without any special training. Media loading is easy even on your own. It is very clean and maintenance is automated. The printer adopts convenient, user-replaceable cartridges instead of the bottles and tubes used for solvent. You have to be careful not to leave marks with solvent," Torrents says, adding, "The print speed is great and prints are dry when they come off the printer so you can finish and laminate immediately. Ink usage is more efficient than solvent - up to 30 percent less per square meter. To avoid clogging, solvent technology has bigger printheads and regular cleaning and purging is required. Solvent ink is not absorbed so well on certain types of media. We've noticed poor adhesion on Backlit media so ink can run and print results are less reliable," Torrents claims. The embedded spectrophotometer and advanced close loop colour calibration are highly appreciated. "You get reliable results on any media you need to use. Automatic colour calibration and creation of ICC profiles is easy," Torrents adds, concluding, "Although this technology was new to us, HP is a prestigious brand with reliable, quality products and HP has offered us a qualified and professional post sales service whenever we have needed it. That gives you peace of mind."