Printers, industry analysts, media, and influencers convened at Kodak’s worldwide headquarters for its “Taking Print Further” event, Feb 28 – March 1. The two-day forum featured the latest Kodak technology innovations that are pushing what’s possible in the process free, digital and functional printing categories while fostering robust discussions on the trends influencing where print is ultimately heading into the future.
“Kodak is committed to taking print further, with significant investments in new technology that address the needs of printers today and well into the future,” said Brad Kruchten, President, Print Systems Division, Kodak. “From our process free technology to advances in functional printing, Kodak’s historical foundation in materials science, deposition science, and digital science are perfectly suited to contribute to the necessary innovations that will enable printers to me more profitable and sustainable.”
The event’s Taking Print Further theme was highlighted through several panel discussions that brought together the views of Kodak, printers and the end users of print. In a fascinating panel about the “Value of Print,” a consensus opinion emerged from representatives from the world of photography, design and publishing. Each discipline continues to embrace print as a differentiated and value-adding medium in an increasingly digital world. From the creative’s perspective, while digital plays an important role in their businesses, it’s not replacing print. Print is complementing digital campaigns with print activations that bring the tactile feel and vibrancy of colors that only print can bring to life. Tad Carpenter, who co-runs the design and branding studio, Carpenter collective, noted that his firm continues to embrace print, as a differentiated medium for client’s campaigns, noting that, “committing ideas to a physical form, you are elevating the experience.” At the same time, the panelists encouraged printers to create a richer dialogue with the creative community to demonstrate the untapped possibilities that print can bring to their ideas for their own clients.
In two concurrent sessions printers discussed how Kodak led innovations in process free plate technology and digital printing are enabling them to operate more profitably and sustainably, while also helping them move into new markets and increase the value of print. At the event, Kodak’s leadership in developing process free technology took a big leap forward with the introduction of SONORA X Plates, which Kodak CEO, Jeff Clarke stated will “transform the industry.” The breakthrough product enables up to 80% of offset printers to make the switch to process free printing plates. On the panel, current users of KODAK SONORA Process Free Plates emphasized that the plates sustainability features are very important for their businesses. Equally important in their minds is the technologies capability to provide the same quality and speed they experienced with their unbaked plates.
Jim Tomblinson, VP operations at Modern Litho in Missouri, a current KODAK SONORA XP Plate user who has been testing the new KODAK SONORA X Plate, commented: “This new plate will ink up in 20 sheets and is in color before the press is ready. We already print at 240lpi, and are looking to reach 300lpi with SONORA X. I have never seen a tighter rosette on the plate which means I can print cleaner tints than with stochastic.”
Digital printing featured prominently in a discussion around the new KODAK NEXFINITY Digital Press, which is set to become the most versatile sheet-fed digital press on the market. The technology is built on the success of the award-winning KODAK NEXPRESS Platform and is set to change how printers evaluate what can be run on digital, because of the machines low running costs, higher speed and dynamic imaging technology. The printers on this panel echoed similar sentiments from the creative end users. They expressed that in a dynamic marketplace, printers need to continually look at new ways to serve their customers, by offering new applications, building in greater flexibility into their operations, while at the same time delivering outstanding print quality.
Stephan de Vries, CEO at Fotofabriek in Groningen, Netherlands, commented, “The NEXFINITY Press offers awesome quality, consistency and color uniformity that will allow even better products at more competitive pricing. With its long sheet option at 120cm, we will be able to expand our photo offering by making beautiful lay flat albums, and with the ability to run thicker substrates we see the possibility to add new products for the retail market, like boxes and cardboard signs.” Hear directly from Fotofabriek about their long history of award-winning success with the KODAK NEXPRESS Platform in this video.
As the industry looks to the future, Tom Cavanagh, Kodak’s Chief Customer Officer and VP of Advanced Materials & 3D Printing discussed how Kodak is innovating in conductive inks and printing processes to transform traditional commercial printing and enable advanced products that include printed electronics. This emerging and growing opportunity will empower printers to strategically transition their businesses, delivering solutions for a more connected world with significantly improved operating margins. Underlying the forward-looking approach of the conference, Kodak also demonstrated the important work the company is doing to help printers satisfy the “triple bottom line” of ecological and environmental responsibility; business and financial health; and social awareness. These efforts pervade Kodak’s product development, with examples like SONORA Plates, where printers are saving money and reducing their impact on the environment or in the company’s efforts to bring the print community together to help boost literacy rates around the world through its Print For Good program.