HP Inc. Takes Printing into Textile and Decor Printing, Voice-Command Printing, More

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Custom Mort and Chandon packaging produced by HP printers.

In a far-ranging interview with CNET, Enrique Lores, head of HP Inc.’s printer business, took a look at where HP Inc. is heading in printing, including, by the end of this year, HP printers for printing on fabric and garments such as sportswear.

Lores noted that HP Inc.’s printer business brings in about $20 billion per year, making up about 40 to 45 percent of HP Inc.’s revenue, and about 80 percent of HP Inc.’s profits. Since 2015, when the Hewlett-Packard Company was split into HP Enterprise (enterprise products and software) and HP Inc. (PCs and printers), HP Inc.’s “business has started to grow again,” with HP Inc.’s revenue growing for the last five quarters.

Packaging and labels printed with HP industrial printers.

HP Inc. Sprocket portable photo printers.

Cardboard product stand printed via HP digital industrial printer.

HP Inc.’s printer products now span the gamut from its pocket-size Sprout photo printers, to consumer and home inkjet and laser printers, to A3 and A4 office and enterprise copier/MFPs, to large-format latex-ink printers for printing banners, wallpaper, and more, to digital presses for label and package printing, to PageWide Web presses for printing books, mail, and corrugated packaging, and of course, 3D printers for prototyping and manufacturing.

According to Lores, by the end of the year, HP will also be launching its first textile printers for printing on fabric. Lores told CNET: “Our interest in textile is going to be more in sportswear, because for every kind of fabric you need to have special type of inks. You can print curtains or big textile signs. We will be expanding to T-shirts or other types of garments when we a design new type of ink.”

Lores explained that applications for its future textile printers could possibly involve services under which the user uploads a shirt design and a company prints it for them.

As for consumer photo printing, while HP already has a voice-activated printer (see here), Lores told CNET that, for its Sprocket photo printers that are popular with millennials, it may be extending voice management to enable easier photo printing, so that, for instance, users could print photos stored on the Google Photos Web site with the voice command: “Print this photo.”

HP Inc. voice-command printer – see here for more information.

Car wrap produced by HP Inc. specialty latex-ink printer

Our Take

HP Inc. continues to expand from just printing on paper to printing on other materials, including printing on plastic, wood, aluminum, ceramic, acrylic, cardboard, and textiles, producing everything from printed wall paper to car wraps, and in particular, leveraging its inkjet-printing technology beyond printing on paper in the office, to commercial and industrial printing applications, as well to 3D printing.

Moreover, aside from service contracts and lease agreements, ink and substrate sales are one of the most lucrative way to ensure after-sales revenue. With these specialty printers, HP Inc. will sell even more substrates than with its consumer and office inkjet printers that primarily use widely available plain paper, and with custom inks in particular, is more likely to stay well ahead of third-party suppliers.

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