Kodak Will Show the 5000XL at Graph Expo (and Other Prosper News)

Jim Hamilton
Sep 9, 2010

I found out this week that Kodak has decided to bring the Prosper 5000XL to Graph Expo (October 3-6, Chicago). This will mirror what Kodak did at IPEX and will represent the first showing of the device in North America. It’s good news and for those who haven’t committed to attending, it provides another reason to come to the show. There’s more about Prosper in the news as well. You should have a look at Eric Owen’s blog in Output Links for some insight on Prosper, but here’s a quick take on the recent developments:

  • There are now two Prosper system installations — Kodak customers Offset Paperback Manufacturers (Laflin, Pennsylvania) and SAGIM (a French print service provider using the system for books) represent the first two installed beta sites of Prosper standalone systems (other companies have Prosper S10 Imprinting Systems running in conjunction with traditional printing presses). Both have the Prosper 1000 (the monochrome version of Prosper). Kodak reports that Offset Paperback Manufacturers (OPM) will be the first site to get the process color Prosper 5000XL and that the device is being installed now. Kodak said that in the past month OPM has been produced salable books at a volume of up to 1.7 million book pages (approximately 3,850 books) per day on its Prosper 1000.
  • The first Prosper 1000 placement in Australasia — SOS Print and Media Group in Sydney, Australia will be installing a Prosper 1000 for book printing in November. This is the first Prosper 1000/5000XL announcement in Australasia (there have been S5/S10 Imprinting System announcements, for example, in China). SOS says that it will consider upgrading the device to the full-color 5000XL version.
  • Another Prosper placement will be announced at Graph Expo — Kodak expects to make an additional placement announcement about a 5000XL at Graph Expo, but they can’t say yet who (or where) it will be. The Prosper sites that have been announced are Consolidated Graphics (5000XL), King Printing (5000XL), OPM (1000 and 5000XL), SAGIM (1000), SOS (1000), and World Color (5000XL). This doesn’t include the placement that was announced at Rotomail (see below).
  • The announced Prosper 5000XL at Rotomail will not be installed there — Rumors had been flying recently that the announced placement in Italy of a Prosper 5000XL at Rotomail would not happen. The rumors turn out to be true. Eric Owen, Worldwide VP Sales for Kodak’s Digital Printing Solutions group noted that Rotomail was withdrawing “because the timing and requirements of the beta program do not fit with the needs of Rotomail’s customer base.”
  • Kodak’s Prosper S10 Imprinting System is now capable of printing process color — The Prosper S10 Imprinting System was initially released as a monochrome product with the intent that one day it would support process color. Kodak recently announced that Lehigh Direct, U.S.-based direct marketing company, would be the first to have that capability. (See my earlier blog: “Kodak’s Prosper S10 Imprinting System Now Capable of Process Color” for more details.)
  • Coated stocks as a differentiator — Kodak has promoted Prosper’s ability to print on clay-coated stocks as a key benefit. This has the potential to expand the application set dramatically. To date, placements of high-speed color continuous feed devices in the 10 million+ duty cycle category have been heavily weighted toward transaction, direct mail, and some book printing environments (see my earlier blog on this topic “Transaction Printers Are the Leading Adopters of High-Speed Continuous-Feed Process Color Digital”). As devices add the ability to print on economical coated stocks, the application set will grow to include higher quality documents such as promotional pieces, color books, catalogs, custom publications, and magazines. Kodak believes that its Stream continuous inkjet (CIJ) technology has advantages over drop-on demand (DOD) in terms of printing on coated stocks. All of the other inkjet products in this class today use DOD technology.

The pace of announcements for all vendors will accelerate as Graph Expo approaches. The news that Kodak will bring the 5000XL to the show follows Screen’s announcement that it will have its TruePress Jet520 there. At this point it doesn’t appear that HP (Inkjet Web Press) or Pitney Bowes (IntelliJet) will have a device on the show floor, but I expect that others such as Agfa (Dotrix), Océ (JetStream), and Ricoh (InfoPrint 5000) will bring hardware. I’m not sure yet whether Xerox will bring the 490/980, or whether it will repeat the high-speed inkjet tech demo it showed at IPEX, but in any case there will be plenty of high-speed continuous feed color activity at the show. That makes Graph Expo a must for anyone interested in this developing product area.

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