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September 2009
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Kodak Looks to Prosper

DAYTON, OH—To lay the groundwork for the announcements it planned to make at PRINT 09 in Chicago, Kodak invited a group of industry analyst and media representatives to the home of its continuous ink-jet (CIJ) printing technology.

The facility continues to be the hub of Kodak's Versamark development and manufacturing activities, including the new Versamark VL6000, but it is the company's Stream technology and newly named Prosper product line that for now are the bigger draw. Advances in toner-based printing were also addressed, specifically the NexPress SE series.

Many of the product specifications and details of the Prosper Press page production system were being held for release at PRINT 09 and, therefore, will be included in the show coverage published in the October issue of Printing Impressions.

Kodak has revealed that the ink-jet press will have a print width of 241⁄2˝ and will be available in configurations with prices ranging from $1 million to $4 million. It will output up to 3,600 A4 images per minute and supported coated and uncoated stocks (treated for printing via ink-jet) in weights from 45 to 300 gsm.

Stream uses silicon nozzles that emit a stream of ink under high pressure, which is broken into drops by applying heat to modify the surface tension. This design, combined with the distance of the heads from the substrate, is said to improve operation (reduce clogging) and achieve "offset class" print quality. The nozzles are in self-contained jetting modules that reportedly can be replaced by the operator in about a minute.

Kodak initially plans to commercialize the Prosper Press through two programs. Slated for installation between the first and third quarters of 2010, "Market Pioneers" will be the first users, but the company insists these will be more than beta sites. "Market Leaders" are expected to go online starting in the third quarter of 2010, which could be considered a controlled release prior to full commercialization.

Webcrafters Inc., a book printer headquartered in Madison, WI, has signed a letter of intent to be a Prosper Press Market Leader, which it will use to produce low- to mid-length runs of products ranging from educational and college texts to trade books, catalogs and atlases. The company posted $100 million in revenues in 2008 and currently operates two Kodak NexPress S3000 digital production color presses on the digital side of its business.

—Mark Smith

 

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