At Labelexpo this week HP Indigo announced the 500th installation of its WS6000 series narrow web press, at Rako Group, which will install the press at its Chinese facility.

“This is the best-selling narrow solution in the industry – not just in digital printing, narrow overall,” stated HP Indigo vice president and general manager Alon Bar-Shany. “Seven out of ten digital presses sold are Indigo. This is a privileged position but we have to live up to the expectations of our customers.”

“Three things have driven our success: quality, versatility and reliability – these presses are built to work and last for years and years, and are capable of working 24/7 for months at a time,” he stated.

At the show HP also announced a new silver version of its ElectroInk, which will be commercially available at the beginning of next year. “We have big demand from the labels industry for this,” Bar-Shany added.

Also new is a high-slip white ink for shrink-sleeve labels.

The Indigo 20000 press for flexible packaging, and seven-colour 30000 B2-format carton press at Labelexpo were both running on HP’s booth. The firm has just announced the first beta site customers for both models.

Rako will beta test the 20000, as will Seikou of Japan and Swiss converter WIFP. The presses will be installed in January 2014.

The 30000 was shown with the Tresu iCoat inline coater for the first time, along with a Kama DC76 die-cutting unit.

Early customers for the 30000 include Nosco, Multi Packaging Solutions, Heret Packaging and ASG (formerly AGI Worldwide).

Again, the presses will be installed in the New Year. “We are taking orders at Labelexpo and have a long line of people looking at these solutions,” said Bar-Shany.

In the face of a slew of fresh competitors offering inkjet presses for labels, he stated: “No one technology will solve the needs of any industry, be it books, direct mail, labels or packaging.

“We believe that for labels and packaging the Indigo technology has significant advantages over other technologies, including high quality and a range of colours. We use inkjet in other markets where we think it has a fantastic value proposition.”

Quizzed about the likely competition from Landa, which has just put its beta installations back to the end of next year, Bar-Shany added: “Competition is always good, and we have dozens of competitors already. We believe our quality and versatility, and ability to scale globally give us a big advantage.

“We have built credibility over the past five-to-ten years. When we say the press will be in beta in 2014, we do it,” he stated.

HP said the volume of labels printed using HP Indigo presses was up 25% in Q3 2013, compared with the prior year, whereas growth in labels generally is around 5%.