Dear Print Partner & Valued Customer,
As we close the books on last year and look ahead to 2019, I wanted to take the opportunity to wish all of Kodak’s valued customers a very Happy New Year and give you some updates on the exciting things happening at Kodak.
As most of you know we introduced a game-changing new product last year: KODAK SONORA X Process Free Plates. With SONORA X Plates, up to 80% of printers will be able to switch to process free plates. The technology breakthrough that led to SONORA X Plates centers around two areas. Kodak R&D scientists designed a novel, one-of-a-kind substrate that produces a very durable, robust printing surface, and they developed a unique coating system that improves imaging speed and run length capability. These innovations enable SONORA X Plates to deliver long run lengths, fast imaging speeds, and improved scratch resistance—features that will allow most printers to be able to go process free.
Kodak’s Technical Sales and Service Teams continue to work with customers around the world to help them with the logistics of switching to process free within a multitude of press conditions, workflows and infrastructures. This has enabled large, global print customers to switch to SONORA X with a seamless transition. Based on these trends, we expect our 2018 full-year results to show that 1 out of every 4 Kodak plates sold is now process free – and this will only continue to grow.
Backed by a world-class service team, we also continue to invest in the efficiency and reliability of our equipment portfolio. The newest TRENDSETTER and ACHIEVE Platesetters, for example, use up to 95% less power while imaging than similar competitive devices, helping printers reduce energy costs. And, the new KODAK Mobile CTP Control App lets printers monitor their CTP devices remotely, increasing uptime and productivity. As it relates to image quality and speed, you can expect to see several other new CTP products rolling out this year, including the new Multi-Pallet Loader (MPL) automation offering for the KODAK MAGNUS Q800 Platesetter.
Kodak also continues to invest in software that reduces waste and set-up time and produces double digit ink savings. Our PRINERGY Workflow Software remains the leading prepress automation solution for printers, helping them to increase throughput and productivity.
In electrophotographic news, Kodak launched the KODAK NEXFINITY digital press platform in 2018 to wide acclaim. The platform, based on a new, high resolution multi-bit LED writing system, is capable of running the widest range of applications, including transactional, direct mail, packaging, commercial print and photobooks. NEXFINITY comprised 40% of Kodak’s new press sales in Q3 2018.
We also recently announced a technology partnership within the 3D additive manufacturing space with Evolve Additive Solutions, based on the KODAK NEXPRESS platform. This is another tremendous example of leveraging years of investment, and applying Kodak technology in a growing, new market segment.
Kodak’s inkjet team has continued to focus on commercial print applications and placed multiple KODAK PROSPER Presses in 2018 along with new S-Series component installations. As the team looks ahead in 2019, Kodak will be increasing the focus on digital print in the packaging market and are excited to announce the new KODAK PROSPER Plus Imprinting System which is designed for packaging and product decoration applications. The new PROSPER Plus models will expand the capabilities for printers to leverage continuous inkjet as a complimentary capability to the KODAK PROSPER 6000S Simplex Press and the UTECO SAPPHIRE EVO (Flexible Substrates) Web Fed Solution. In addition, Uteco Converting S.p.A. has signed an agreement with Kodak to purchase Kodak’s latest inkjet printing systems featuring ULTRASTREAM Technology. KODAK ULTRASTREAM Technology first debuted as a conceptual demonstration at drupa 2016 with development plans for availability to OEM partners in 2019.
All these technology advancements are proof that Kodak continues to believe in – and invest in – the future of Print. Now that we’ve entered into an agreement to sell our Flexographic Packaging Division, the company has reached another important turning point in our transformation, strengthening our financial position and providing greater flexibility to invest in the technologies that are helping our customers to become more sustainable and profitable, while pursuing new opportunities for growth.
2019 will be a year of ongoing transformation, exciting new technology solutions and strong partnerships. We will introduce ongoing enhancements and technology upgrades to our equipment and software portfolios. And, we will work to be the strongest possible partner to you, our valued customer.
Thank you for your business and continued loyalty.
President Print Systems Division, Senior Vice President Eastman Kodak Company