Printing Impressions

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DIGITAL digest

June 2008
Kodak Users Get the Real Deal

LAS VEGAS—More than 300 members of the Graphic Users Association (GUA) of Kodak Solutions recently gathered at the Wynn Las Vegas for the North American group’s annual meeting. “This year’s conference was our biggest and best yet,” said current GUA President Tom Clifford, who is also a prepress technology specialist with RR Donnelley.

Having “unfiltered access to executives and product specialists from Kodak” is a key benefit of attending the event, Clifford noted. “Most important, the team from Kodak. . .genuinely listens to our feedback and takes it into consideration when developing new products and features.” He also strongly encouraged attendees to make use of GUA’s online forums as a resource throughout the year.

For Kodak’s part, “the North American GUA Conference provides an invaluable opportunity to receive data and comments directly from users,” added Dave Wigfield, managing director, United States and Canada Region, Kodak’s Graphic Communications Group.

Phil Faraci, president and COO of Eastman Kodak, gave the keynote address. In regard to the company’s health, Faraci reported that the organization was able to keep its revenues roughly flat in recent years, despite the dramatic decline in film sales, and had returned to profitability in 2007. He said this was a major change that is enabling the company to have a new relationship with customers and focus on growth.

Kodak’s Stream ink-jet printing technology is expected to be one area of growth in the future, Faraci said. Given the technology’s offset-class quality and low print cost (on the order of 1 cent per page), he added that “it could be a very viable commercial printing platform.” The first press incorporating the technology is expected to print at more than 500 fpm and a resolution greater than 600 dpi for quality in the 150 lpi range.

In a later session on ink-jet printing developments, Stream color printing samples were passed around, including side-by-side comparisons to versions of the same pieces printed via offset. Most were image intensive, rather than heavy on text or featuring color screens. It took some degree of inspection to identify which was which, although the text was a give away in Stream samples. Those pieces only gave an indication of the potential quality since development is ongoing, and Kodak has said it doesn’t expect to commercialize a four-color press version of the technology until 2010.

The company planned to introduce the first Stream product at Drupa in the form of a 4˝ print head capable of printing with black ink at a 600 dpi resolution. Also set for launch was the Versamark VL2000 color ink-jet (drop-on-demand) printing system capable of printing 250 fpm at 600 dpi.
 

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