KODAK NEXPRESS Presses Drive Long Term Customer Relationships

Posted on by Dave Erlandson | No Comments »

Over the last 10 years there have three main players in the very heavy duty cycle, high quality production color cutsheet market: Indigo, iGen, and Kodak NEXPRESS.  With Print 17 coming up it’s a good time to catch up on new developments. In this blog I’ll focus on the NEXPRESS.

The NEXPRESS was originally designed for high volume production and today there are many NEXPRESS customers who focus on traditional 4 color work.  For these customers it is common for presses to routinely run over 1 million impressions per month and some run as much as 2.5 million impressions per month.

However, while many customers are cranking out huge volumes each month other customers are leveraging the high value-added features and are making money with volumes as low as 150K per month. Features such as dimensional, clear, and additional colors enable customers to focus on niche markets that can be very profitable.

So what’s next for NEXPRESS?  As they promised at drupa 2016 they have extended the current platform with the ZX series, a new Opaque White Dry Ink and are about to make a new thick substrate upgrade kit commercially available. Kodak is also on track to launch a new platform with a working program name of  ‘Max’ and betas starting in September of this year. The new Max platform is expected to provide even more consistent color quality on longer runs at a lower running cost. The focus of the machine is to drive more offset transfer. The new platform is built around 3 core technologies

  1. At the heart of the new platform is a new high resolution, multi-bit LED writing system which provides for improved image quality with fewer artifacts, higher resolution, and a smaller, harder dot.  Ultimately this will enable faster speeds along with higher consistency in color and, in the future, can take advantage of smaller toner particles.
  2. Flexible Color. With the new platform users will be able to determine the order in which colors are printed. For example with today’s product white is printed last, but there are a number of applications where one wants to print white first and then print on top of the white. Other customers anticipate using the CMY with red fluorescing clear and normal clear or gold and clear. At launch, a standard color order will be available and increased flexibility will be added in via software updates over time.
  3. Screening Technology. Users will be able to manage screening “on the fly” and even within images, graphics on each page. The result is more consistency, more pages over time, less downtime, less toner usage, and longer part life.

The new platform configuration will launch with speeds of 70-100 ppm, but Kodak has demonstrated that the current paper handling platform in the NexPress can reach as high as 166 ppm. The paper size will be essentially the same except that the length of a sheet will be extended form 1 meter to 1.2 meters.

Technology innovations will keep coming as Kodak continues to invest in the platform with many of the new features being the result of input from long term partnerships with their customers, partnerships that enable both Kodak and their customers to grow their businesses.

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