According to Kodak, Sonora X “builds on all the advantages of Kodak’s process-free technology, while adding significant technology advances that remove the barriers to process-free that previously existed for printers that have demanding performance requirements. With longer run lengths, faster imaging, and more robust handling capabilities than other process-free plates, Sonora X Plates can be used for nearly any application that’s typically printed with an unbaked processed plate,” said the OE. Kodak estimates that up to 80% of the offset print market will now be able to go process-free – including large commercial sheetfed printers, heatset and coldset web printers, offset packaging printers, and printers using UV and low-energy UV. In addition, the new Sonora X-N Process Free Plate will extend the technology to medium and large newspaper printers.
The new plate can print two to six times longer than Kodak Sonora XP Plates (depending on the application), while improved exposure sensitivity ensures that printers can “maximize platemaking throughput on even the fastest platesetters on the market.” A proprietary, enhanced anodizing and coating technology increases the robustness of the plate, so it can withstand highly automated or fast-paced operating environments where plate durability is crucial.
Since Kodak first commercialized its process-free technology in 2005, it’s continued to enhance the capabilities of these plates, rolling out Sonora XP and Sonora News Plates in 2012. The OEM’s Sonora X and Sonora X-N Plates are scheduled to become available worldwide in the third quarter of 2018, the company said.
“Kodak’s goal is to make printing more sustainable – and to make it profitable for all printers by eliminating processing and chemicals from platemaking,” said Brad Kruchten, President of Print Systems Division at Kodak. “Sonora X delivers a breakthrough for process-free technology. The dramatic improvements to run length and handling will enable the market fit for process-free to expand to up to 80% of the market, thus making Sonora X truly mainstream,” he added. Kodak is forecasting that the trend to process-free plates will continue, and predicts that 30% of its plate volume will be process-free by the year 2019.