Along with the milestone-marking sale, Kodak introduces the new Flexcel NX System ’16 and next generation flexo and inkjet printing at drupa.
Kodak marked a significant milestone in the worldwide adoption of its mainstream flexographic plate technology with the 500th order of a Kodak Flexcel NX System. The purchase was made by Poland-based flexographic prepress provider Multidruk.
“We just celebrated the sale of the 500th unit of the Flexcel NX System. That’s a significant step forward for the industry. Eight years ago, when we launched what is Flexcel NX today, flexo packaging was considered a low-cost technology. But here we are today with the 500th unit of the Flexcel NX system sold. Quality flexo really is becoming mainstream,” said Chris Payne, general manager and vice president, Kodak.
Kodak used drupa 2016 as a launchpad to launch the new Flexcel NX System ’16, which builds on the NX technology. The new Kodak Flexcel NX System ’16 includes Advanced DIGICAP NX Patterning with Kodak patented Advanced Edge Definition technology that is said to dramatically improve ink transfer in the broadest range of print applications.
“With the Flexcel NX technology, there is an an increase in productivity and quality. We’ve been very focused with the interaction of ink at the plate, and further improving that efficiency and quality. The Flexcel NX ’16 system focuses around optimising the print jobs for better quality,” said Payne.
The Flexcel NX ’16 system is able to control ink flow at the edge of objects, to result in cleaner print, increased contrast and greater visual edge definition. Implementation of the system is streamlined with NX tags for the application of multiple patterns on a single plate layout.
The new features, combined with Kodak imaging and material technology, enable the Flexcel System ’16 to be able to serve the wide-ranging demands of flexo print applications, including wide web flexibles, narrow web labels and paperboard printing, with a single plate type. This gives prepress operations that switch from competitive technologies the added opportunity to reduce inventory, errors and complexity. The new system can also be utilised by corrugated post-print customers.
“The reception from customers has been absolutely fantastic. Some of the companies in the Southeast Asian region are in the food supply chain, so they seek ecologically sound solutions,” Payne added.
Kodak bolstered this commitment to sustainability by demonstrating a preview of next generation flexo technology, Ultra NX. This technology aims to achieve highest quality, print efficiency while being as environmentally conscious as possible. The Ultra NX will include all of the benefits offered by existing Flexcel NX technology, with an eco friendly plate processing solution.
“This is where we can help, with sustainable technology. We know we can get to that quality with water based inks so that the toxicity of UV and solvent inks in food packaging suddenly becomes less of an issue. Over the next decade you will see a drive in that direction. And we really believe the Ultra NX technology will lead the industry,” added Payne.
When asked on reception from Asia Pacific at drupa 2016: “Asia is a key target for us here. In terms of people wanting to invest in new technology today, there are people from China and India, Southeast Asia through to Australia. The full portfolio of our technology is available here, from offset plates, to CTP, to packaging, to our digital printing and workflow solutions – and they are all fully available in Asia.”
“We’ve had a good mix of customers on the broad spectrum. The Asian customers are not that different today from the rest of the world - the print shops in Asia is the same as a print shop in Latin America and Europe,” Payne continued.
Kodak Inkjet Update
Kodak also used drupa to showcase its next generation inkjet technology termed Ultrastream. The Ultrastream technology was demonstrated in an an 8” configuration on a narrow-web press for labelling and small format printing. This technology claims to be able to produce a high resolution output as a result of smaller ink drop sizes, superior drop placement and substrate interaction.
“The Prosper portfolio is high speed inkjet. Ultrastream is the next generation of Prosper. Essentially, it’s using electrostatic drop deflection,” said Payne.
Using electrostatic charge plates to deflect ink droplets will allow the ink to be smaller, therefore be able to deliver the high quality.
Payne added that Ultrastream will be an offering that will be deployed mainly through OEM partners and system integrators. Kodak has already secured eight partners to work with the new inkjet technology.
Ultrastream is capable of printing 600 x 1800dpi at speeds of up to 150 meters per minute on a wide range of paper and plastic substrates. Its modular printhead can be implemented in varying widths ranging from 8” up to 97”, and will be available with Kodak’s Digital Front End (DFE).
The Ultrastream inkjet technology offers a different value proposition from the Stream technology in Proper presses: “Ultrastream is a lower productivity offering, at a different price performance. By definition it has a smaller footprint, so it can be configured to a smaller system. The system is aimed at printers who demand a high image quality to integrate into their application-based production systems,” said Payne.
In mid-March 2016, Kodak announced it was in talks to sell the Kodak Prosper inkjet business. The company asserts commitment to completing the sale, reporting that it is ‘on track’. Prosper interest is high, as at the close of drupa, Kodak reported notable sales of the inkjet presses.
Japan’s Toppan Forms Co Ltd purchased a Prosper press, making it the largest Kodak Prosper customer worldwide. The company intends to use the new PROSPER 6000C Press for variable textbook and business mail printing. Two other Prosper 1000 Presses have also been sold to customers in the Asia Pacific region.
Read the full version of this article and more print news in Issue 9 of Print Innovation Asia.