Kodak event underscores its investments in technology to improve printers’ profitability and sustainability

The Value of Print Panel.
Kodak’s Value of Print panel agreed that print continues to be a differentiating and value-added medium.
Brad Kruchten.
Brad Kruchten discussed Kodak innovations that will help printers become much more profitable and much more sustainable.

Printers, industry analysts, media and industry influencers convened at Kodak’s worldwide headquarters in Rochester, New York, for its Taking Print Further event February 28 to March 1, 2018. 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 of the Print Systems Division at 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 be 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 end users of print. In a fascinating exchange about the value of print, a consensus 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 perspective, while digital plays an important role in their businesses, it’s not replacing print. Print is complementing digital campaigns that bring the tactile feel and vibrancy of colours 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 clients’ campaigns. “Committing ideas to a physical form, you’re elevating the experience,” he said. At the same time, 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.

Jeff Clarke.
Jeff Clarke discusses why Kodak X Sonora Plates will “transform” the printing industry.

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 insisted 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 technology’s capability to provide the same quality and speed they experienced with their unbaked plates.

Digital printing featured prominently in a discussion around the new Kodak Nexfinity Digital Press. 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 machine’s low running costs, higher speed and dynamic imaging technology,” said the OEM. The printers on this panel echoed similar sentiments from the creative end users. They said 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.

As the industry looks to the future, Tom Cavanagh, Kodak’s Chief Customer Officer and VP of Advanced Materials & 3D Printing, discussed Kodak innovations in conductive inks and printing processes to transform traditional commercial printing and enable advanced products that include printed electronics. He added that 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. 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.

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Tony Curcio is the editor of Graphic Arts Magazine.