Kodak continues to expand into digital printing

There were many pioneers in the field of inkjet printing. One of the first companies to see the potential of digital printing was Eastman Kodak Company, which saw opportunities in direct mail. Today, Kodak has inkjet presses covering the full range of prints, with award-winning inks to go with them.

Looking back, Kodak’s history of inkjet innovation stretches back more than five decades.

“Beginning in 1967, Kodak produced dye-based inks for first-generation CIJ and DOD printheads for narrow-width sizes for variable printing of transactional, direct mail, letter solicitation applications , printing at 300 meters per minute,” said Randy Vandagriff, senior vice president of printing for Kodak.

“Kodak followed with breakthroughs in 4-color full-page transactional printing in the 1990s; high-speed color printing of books, newspapers and direct mail with its third-generation PROSPER technology, using nanoparticle-based water-based inks that deliver superb print quality, brilliant color and performance over a wide range of substrates.

Kodak draws on its expertise in creating inkjet inks and optimization primers in a wide range of black-and-white and color printheads and full-width printing systems, including the offerings of its KODAK Stream and ULTRASTREAM Inkjet Technology product lines.

Today, Kodak serves many markets, including the commercial printing, direct mail, publishing, personal care and packaging markets.
One of Kodak’s keys to success is its inks. Vandagriff noted that Kodak’s unique strengths in materials science and chemistry provide a deep understanding of colorants, humectants and other components used in inkjet inks and optimizer fluids.

“KODAK Stream and ULTRASTREAM Inkjet Technologies are proprietary continuous inkjet (CIJ) writing systems designed to deliver exceptional quality and industry-leading speed,” added Vandagriff. “Kodak printheads feature precise silicone nozzles that incorporate the latest industry advancements in microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) and complementary metal oxide semiconductor (CMOS) technology, as well as unique deflection for precise drop control.

“Kodak’s strategy of using primers to optimize ink performance on difficult substrates allows print converters to deliver the quality and performance their applications demand, at significantly faster print speeds than other inkjet technologies on the market,” noted Vandagriff.

Vandagriff observed that sustainability and R&D are key priorities for Kodak.

“Kodak’s water-based inks are more durable than conventional solvent-based inks. They do not contain PVC or phthalates, making them safer for printers, consumers and the environment. Because the inks are water-based, no harsh chemicals are needed for cleanup. This prevents potentially harmful substances from ending up in waste streams and the water supply. »

Kodak is committed to investing in R&D to meet the changing needs of printers.

“We listen to our customers and focus on solving their problems,” Vandagriff said. “From offset to digital, we offer a portfolio of industry-leading products and solutions that will help our customers be productive and profitable. We also offer world-class support tailored to the specific needs of our customers to keep their processes and presses running at peak capacity.

Recent introductions from Kodak’s R&D team include KODAK PROSPER QD Packaging Inks, which were recognized with a 2020 InterTech Technology Award for Innovation.

“QD packaging inks are revolutionary in enabling high speed, high quality and low consumable costs on films and plastics for the production of flexible packaging,” said Vandagriff. “Another breakthrough was the commercial launch of KODAK PROSPER Personal Care Inks for printing on nonwoven substrates that have been market tested for consumer safety and qualified for direct skin contact.

“Kodak continues to explore applications, such as flooring, wallpaper, countertops, where our inkjet print inks and primers provide excellent print quality and are compatible with post-printing processes, such as lamination and post-coating, to meet market demands for durability. added Vandagriff.

Vandagriff said Kodak looks forward to continued growth in the world of digital printing.

“With less than 4% of the more than 52 trillion pages produced digitally, Kodak envisions a future of strong growth for digital printing as trends and pressures for economical short runs, more personalization, faster faster to market, less waste and sustainability will continue apace,” Vandagriff said. “Digital capabilities will increase in speed, economy and performance and will continue to evolve to meet these demands. .

“Another driver of the digital shift will be the ability to mitigate the risks posed by supply chain issues and rising prices for energy, aluminum and other raw materials that impact offset plates and conventional printing processes. Kodak expects to be at the forefront of inkjet technology and to play an important role in establishing digital as a valuable complement to the offset printing in many applications.

343 State Street
Rochester, NY 14650

Specialties: Presses and digital printing inks.


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