HP's Latex Truck: the value of taking to the road
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By Sophie Matthews-Paul
22 July 2011
HP takes to the European roads with latex printing technologies
The concept of a roadshow is not new, and it fits into today's model where we expect our groceries and books to be delivered to our door – rather in the same way that, in days of yore, a grubby lorry would bring us coal or a man on a specially equipped bicycle would offer his knife-sharpening skills. But, in recent years, we've all been expected to make the effort for most major purchases and services by travelling to where we can find them. In industry terms, this normally involves finding our latest demonstration centre or booking a flight to visit a trade show.
A few enterprising companies pursue the touring theme, extending to a series of dates in different locations in the hope of enticing local people along who, lured by the convenience factor, should easily be able to free up a bit of time to attend. But businesses don't just want to see the same old technology arriving in a car park nearby so HP's gone a step further with its special latex truck and decided to visit huge chunks of Europe by road.
I first saw HP's 16.5m-long specially adapted truck parked up at FESPA Digital in Hamburg. Inside it was a fully working Designjet L25500 unit demonstrating jobs which can be produced using the company's latex printing technologies. A feat of imaginative design, it's a bit like a Tardis as there's a mini theatre and presentation area along with vast numbers of sample prints on different materials – and lots of interested people. Even the walls are covered with examples and there's a range of household items wrapped to demonstrate the marriage of comformable films with latex inks (it wasn't practical to try and house a vehicle in the truck).
Some might ask why it isn't enough just to see technologies at trade shows, and whether there's sufficient reason and incentive to take to the road in a sizeable lorry. But not everyone has the time for detailed explanations about products and what they can do during the buzzing atmosphere of an exhibition hall. Companies have members of staff who don't get the chance to visit industry events but often those who stay at home are the people actually using the machines.
The truck's first stop after leaving Germany was France but such have been the interest and popularity of everything it contains that other countries have now been added. And, not surprisingly the UK and Ireland are also on the agenda, with dates being planned for later in the year. Watch this space and we'll let you know when the latex road trip arrives over here.
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