One example of early technology we've seen at this week's HP (opens in new tab) Labs event is the company's new Optical Media Advance Sensor. This tiny component provides between two and 10 times better print accuracy by making sure the print heads are correctly aligned with the paper.
Introduced to Tech.co.uk by HP expert Dr Ross Allen, the sensor works by taking images of the paper and correlating them. The system is designed to get best results from paper with less-than-desirable quality. "The cheaper the paper, the better it works," joked Dr Allen.
But is it coming in consumer products? "No, not for a while," he said. The sensor had been 10 years in development and would be debuted first on higher end imaging kit, he added.
On inks, Allen talked about the resistance of prints to sunlight and said the ideal would be that a pigment particle would be resistant to UV light. Allen added that pigment inks provide high durability alongside high indoor and outdoor fastness. Pigments don't actually permeate into the paper, so need a fastener to make them stick.
Allen said his main message was that the control of an ink's physical and chemical performance is crucial to overall performance. He argued against third party inks because of the lack of consideration of operating conditions within print heads - such as the pressure and viscosity of the ink. "We say inks and printers are designed as a system," he said.
This morning's session also covered solvent inks, used for printing large-format heavy-duty matter such as that for bus advertising. It was shown that HP creates its industrial inks so that they are able to be used in large-format situations, such as prints on poster boards, without fading or water permeation.