After more than a year of public statements that Kodak’s Enterprise Inkjet division was for sale, the company has decided to keep it. According to the press release there was “strong interest” and they had “multiple offers” but Kodak concluded that these “did not reflect the value of the business.” And so they will keep it and reclassify it under continuing operations (it had been switched to “discontinued”). Randy Vandagriff has been named the new President of the Enterprise Inkjet Division. Phil Cullimore, the previous division head, is leaving Kodak.
Last May in the months after Kodak’s decision to sell the division I wrote:
Kodak Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey Clarke suggested that a company with a larger sales and distribution footprint in digital printing markets would be better suited to help Prosper achieve its economic potential.
Now the decision is being positioned as a “pragmatic decision” based on improvements in the business (balanced with the scale of the offers received). In other words, no one came up with a good enough offer. Clarke said that the Prosper group performed well in 2016 with a 40% increase in annuity sales and that expectations were high for this year. He’s also optimistic about the division’s next-generation UltraStream technology, which he expects will go to market in 2019. In related UltraStream news Kodak said that it will begin delivering evaluation kits to a total of 17 companies, including Fuji Kikai, GOSS China, Matti, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Printing & Packaging Machinery, and Uteco. The companies will use the kit to explore the integration of the technology into future printing solutions.
In April, Kodak held an inkjet-focused briefing in Dayton, Ohio to update industry analysts on their current status, new developments, and drupa 2016 plans. The event provided an excellent opportunity to get an up-close look at Kodak’s inkjet offerings, including some technology demonstrations that will be highlighted at drupa 2016 (May 31st to June 10th in Dusseldorf, Germany).
It’s an important time for Kodak’s Dayton-based Enterprise Inkjet Systems Division. drupa 2016 is fast approaching, and the division has big plans there. The next generation of Stream head technology (UltraStream) will also be on display as a technology demonstration. Perhaps most importantly, Kodak’s board has announced that the Enterprise Inkjet business, including the Prosper Press Platform, the S Series Imprinting Systems, and related products are for sale.
Kodak, with a sizeable booth in Hall 5, will be the fifth largest exhibitor at drupa. From an inkjet perspective, Kodak plans to showcase Read more »
A few years ago, you could not turn around without hearing or seeing something about digital printing. The noise has quieted down, but the changes keep on coming.
Offset press manufacturers now send out a press release every time they sell a system because it is such a unique event. There is still a good market for offset presses, but it is smaller that ever and getting smaller.
Komori and KBA were the only press makers at the PRINT show. Komori actually had a press. “Find us by following the noise,” I was told.
Digital printing volumes are growing nicely, but no one notices. Read more »
Shortly before PRINT 2013 Collins Ink Corporation changed its name to Collins Inkjet Corporation in a move that the company said reflected “Collins’ expansion into printer upgrades, parts, and support.” At PRINT 13 Collins made it clear exactly what it meant by that statement when it announced that it would refurbish Kodak Versamark equipment, beginning with Kodak’s 5120 and 6240 print heads. Readers will likely recall that Collins, formerly a close Kodak partner and ink supplier, severed the relationship in a contentious battle beginning in October of 2011. (See “Collins Ink Terminates Agreement with Kodak Versamark”.)
At Hunkeler Innovationdays this week (February 11th to 15th in Lucerne, Switzerland), Kodak announced a new version of its Prosper high-speed inkjet printing system. The Prosper 5000XLi includes a new extended paper path, an improved transport/drying system, new more durable inks, and software improvements that better leverage existing camera/sensor feedback systems. Key to the features of the 5000XLi are items that improve quality for many applications, but particularly for high-coverage output on coated papers. For those types of applications, the optional Image Optimization Station (IOS) provides an in-line treatment (an aqueous coating) that allows users to use commodity papers instead of more expensive inkjet-treated offerings. The 5000XLi will replace the Prosper 5000XL. Upgrades will be available for current Prosper 5000 systems. The 5000XLi will be available immediately after Hunkeler Innovationdays.
Prosper 5000XLi at Mercury Print in Rochester, New York
I had a chance to see the Prosper 5000XLi running live at a user site in Rochester, New York. The site, Mercury Print (www.mercuryprint.com), has had its Prosper 5000 since July of 2011 and served as the beta site for the new 5000XL. It has also added the monochrome Prosper 1000, which was installed at the end of December.
This week Kodak made news with the announcement by CEO Antonio Perez that his company will focus on commercial, packaging, and functional printing. The choices are not surprising, given prospects now for conventional document printing (down) and for “unconventional” printing such as packaging and labels (up). Kodak is fortifying for life after its planned exit from Chapter 11 next year and has made good choices, all markets where there is still growth for digital printing.
Each of these is available as a free download from InfoTrends, just click the link above. All of these white papers relate to one or more key trends from drupa 2012, including high-speed color inkjet systems, hybrid inkjet configurations with offset or other processes, substrates for inkjet that open up new application opportunities, and the move to B2 format digital. If you have questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This week Timsons, in collaboration with Kodak, announced the T-Press, the largest format inkjet document printer so far in an end-to-end production line targeted at mid-volume book runs.And the width is impressive, with a 53” or 1.35 metre web width, allowing for an 8-up production across the width of the web for a typical A5 book format. Linear speed of the printer is 600 ft/min (200 m/min) and resolution will be 600 by 900 dpi. This roughly translates into 7,500 A4 or letter size impressions. The T-Press is a monochrome web-fed printer, but future full colour versions were not ruled out.
Timsons and Kodak are partnering on this dedicated short-run book printing solution according to their areas of expertise. Timsons developed a dedicated press design, including the finishing line. Kodak is supplying the Stream heads (the basis of the Prosper presses and imprinting heads), workflow, and front-end. Timsons is a dedicated manufacturer of analogue book printing and finishing equipment and draws from a lot of experience in materials handling. In designing the T-Press Timsons did not simply put the inkjet heads onto an existing offset press design, but redesigned the paper path for an optimal location of the inkjet heads and driers and a minimal web length to reduce start-up waste. The front and backside printing units are in a stacked configuration so the unit is relatively compact, despite the wide web.
I’ve just completed a white paper on Kodak’s production inkjet substrate strategy. This is an important topic because the success of the new class of high-speed production color inkjet printers is closely tied to the availability ofÂ substrates that can produce good results on these devices. At the same time, the prices of those stocks have to fit the business model of high-volume printers. To achieve their substrate strategy, Kodak has taken a two-pronged approach. This includes working with paper mills to create affordable inkjet-treated stocks while, at the same time, developing an in-line inkjet treatment solution (called IOS – Image Optimizer Station)Â that allows users to have the greater flexibility to use a stock of their own choice.
Kodak Prosper 5000XL with IOS (the IOS is the second unit from the left)
In the white paper, we look at how Kodak has built its strategy on a foundation of knowledge in substrates, inks, color, and image quality. This white paper is the first of a two-part series. The second white paper will explore substrate strategies for achieving high-quality output on inkjet systems, and particularly how substrates can be leveraged in ways that may go against conventional wisdom. The first white paper is called “A Two-Pronged Approach: Kodak’s Inkjet Substrate Strategy” and it isÂ available on the InfoTrends web site as a free download. I’ll post a follow-up blog as soon as the second white paper becomes available.
In this video blog I discuss a marvelous print sample that was produced by SPC, Specialty Print Communications. What I find particularly interesting about it is how it combines two technologies: high-speed process color inkjet and web offset lithography. With leading edge technologies such as this, you often need a well-designed print sample to show off your new capabilities. SPC does that very well. So first, here are the specifics. On the web offset side, this was done on a Goss Sunday 2000 press using process colors and a 175 line-per-inch halftone screen. The press is also capable of laying down spot gloss, either UV coating or varnish. On the inkjet side, the images were produced by a Kodak Prosper S10 imprinting system set up to produce process color at 600 dots per inch in two 4.16” bands across the page. SPC notes that you need to leave a 4” space between the inkjet bands, which they refer to as channels. The piece was printed on a 7-pt.NewPage TrueJet gloss cover stock.