Kodak launches Nexfinity digital press

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Kodak launches Nexfinity digital press
Kodak Nexfinity digital press

On 1 March 2018, Kodak announced the Spring 2018 availability of its Nexfinity digital press in the US, Canada, and Western Europe markets. Claimed to be most versatile sheetfed digital press on the market, Kodak says its low running costs, higher speed and improved color reproduction quality—attributed to what it calls dynamic imaging—will change how printers evaluate what can be run on digital.

Dynamic Imaging Technology is a patented Kodak innovation for digital printing that works by applying algorithmic adjustments to specific areas of an image, which optimizes image quality and consistency based on the image content in each area. The result (one imagines that it is analogous to local correction rather than general correction) is claimed to produce crisp text, hard lines, soft skin tones and beautiful skies on the same page, whether it’s for one print or millions. Featuring a new high resolution and multi-bit LED writing system, the press produces a broad range of applications including direct mail, commercial print, publishing and packaging.

“With the Nexfinity press, printers get a robust digital printing platform that delivers offset quality while driving down costs and equipping them with the flexibility and speed to handle an expansive range of applications for their customers, whether it’s an order for a few hundred or millions of impressions,” said Chris Balls, general manager, Equipment and VP, Print Systems Division of Kodak.

Superior image quality, speed and flexibility
Kodak says the new Nexfinity provides high information density at more than 1.8 billion pieces of image information per square inch rendering smooth flat fields and excellent image detail in the printed product. For example, the system can reproduce fine details on the fly, like highlight areas and consistency in mid-tones by adjusting the exposure levels for very high levels of print quality. The LED writing system provides 256 levels of exposure on the imaging cylinder, compared to laser systems that only are on or off, which means it provides excellent, consistent quality, utilizing closed-loop process controls that maximize uptime and lower running costs. With an increased range of 83 to 152 ppm and an expanded sheet length up to 120 cm, the press is capable of handling stocks up to 405 gsm (24 pt). When all of this is combined with the machine’s color sequence flexibility that allows for dry inks to be printed in alternative orders or combinations required by specific print jobs, the creative possibilities to help printers grow their business are extensive.

Stephan de Vries, chief executive officer at Fotofabriek in Groningen, Netherlands, commented, “Fotofabriek began using the Nexpress fifteen years ago, mainly because of its exceptional image quality. That’s important to our business because the main ingredient of our growth and what we are best known for is our photo books and albums. As the first printer in Europe to use the Nexfinity press, we are excited about the new applications we can offer. The Nexfinity press offers awesome quality, consistency and color uniformity that will allow even better products at more competitive pricing; with its long sheet option at 120 cm, we will be able to expand our photo offering by making beautiful lay flat albums, and with the ability to run thicker substrates we see the possibility to add new products for the retail market, like boxes and cardboard signs.”

Ben Shaw, pvice president of US Production at Mimeo.com, added, “At Mimeo, we strive to stay on the leading edge in terms of innovation and technology, so testing the Nexfinity press is a natural fit for us. In a short time, we’ve already run millions of pages on it, and we’ve been thrilled with the results. It’s really just an incredibly versatile machine that delivers a powerful combination of image quality, consistency, and low running costs.”

Enhanced productivity and workflow automation
For printers managing a variety of applications, Kodak’s new Multi-Press Station allows a press operator to handle multiple jobs on up to four Nexfinity presses from one location.

A new front-end enables flexible operation with a prepress toolset for imposition, trapping, color management, job specification and job management and reporting capabilities. It is also equipped with an automated workflow using JDF and JMF which are compatible with a variety of workflow solutions, including Kodak’s Prinergy. Fast ripping of short-run, image-intensive applications, as well as complex variable jobs keeps the press highly productive.

2023 promises an interesting ride for print in India

Indian Printer and Publisher founded in 1979 is the oldest B2B trade publication in the multi-platform and multi-channel IPPGroup. While the print and packaging industries have been resilient in the past 33 months since the pandemic lockdown of 25 March 2020, the commercial printing and newspaper industries have yet to recover their pre-Covid trajectory.

The fragmented commercial printing industry faces substantial challenges as does the newspaper industry. While digital short-run printing and the signage industry seem to be recovering a bit faster, ultimately their growth will also be moderated by the progress of the overall economy. On the other hand book printing exports are doing well but they too face several supply-chain and logistics challenges.

The price of publication papers including newsprint has been high in the past year while availability is diminished by several mills shutting down their publication paper and newsprint machines in the past four years. Indian paper mills are also exporting many types of paper and have raised prices for Indian printers. To some extent, this has helped in the recovery of the digital printing industry with its on-demand short-run and low-wastage paradigm.

Ultimately digital print and other digital channels will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future. For instance, there is no alternative to a rise in textbook consumption but this segment will only reach normality in the next financial year beginning on 1 April 2023.

Thus while the new normal is a moving target and many commercial printers look to diversification, we believe that our target audiences may shift and change. Like them, we will also have to adapt with agility to keep up with their business and technical information needs.

Our 2023 media kit is ready, and it is the right time to take stock and reconnect with your potential markets and customers. Print is the glue for the growth of liberal education, new industry, and an emerging economy. We seek your participation in what promises to be an interesting ride.

– Naresh Khanna

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