Kodak Prosper Press pigment inkjet inks technology

Ultrafine particle dispersions with high stability

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Comparison of cyan pigments milled by either a conventional or a micromedia milling process.

What if you could … achieve a wider color gamut, offer a broader range of substrates for inkjet printing, and have state-of-the art ink development which is environmentally friendly using water-based inks … all delivered at a reasonable cost? Apparently, you can, with aqueous nano-particulate inks and dispersions from Kodak Prosper, which brings years of experience and market-proven expertise to the development and commercialization of nano-particulate inks and dispersions. Kodak formulates, develops and manufactures high-performance inks and dispersions that are ideal across a wide range of processes and applications.

The cutting-edge materials science inside the Kodak Prosper Press pigmented inkjet inks is just the latest example of over 100 years of researching, inventing, engineering, and manufacturing of imaging materials. Three key interrelated core competencies have been leveraged to produce the world’s most advanced pigment inkjet inks that have been fine tuned for Kodak’s Prosper inkjet presses: (a) micromedia milling materials and process engineering, (b) imaging colorant chemistry, and (c) pigment dispersant chemistry. The company has brought these technological innovations together to produce the Kodak Prosper Press pigment inkjet ink set.

In the early 1990’s, when color pigment inkjet inks were first becoming available in the marketplace, they were notoriously problematic for issues such as nozzle clogging, kogation (The gradual and inevitable degradation of the print head of a heat-based inkjet printer from residual ink and/or impure water – wiktionary), poor color gamut, and differential gloss. The existing conventional milling technologies, pigment grades, and dispersant technologies were simply inadequate to produce small enough and stable enough pigment dispersions.

Fortunately, at Kodak, comminution technologies capable of producing very narrow, sub-100-nm dispersions had already been invented and commercialized for different applications. This milling process, often referred to as ‘micromedia milling’ uses a proprietary polymeric milling media and a proprietary milling process to efficiently grind most pigments to median particle sizes of well under 100 nm.

Ultrafine particle dispersions with high stability

Producing such ultrafine particle dispersions is one thing but producing them with pigments selected for optimum imaging performance and producing pigment dispersions with extremely high stability toward particle growth or settling, is quite another. This is where Kodak’s rich heritage in producing ultra stable colloids and dispersions for both silver halide imaging and liquid electrophotographic printing, combined with our vast knowledge of imaging colorants, both dyes and pigments, was leveraged to commercialize the first set of reliable, high image quality, and high image stability pigment inks for wide format commercial inkjet applications in the late 1990s.

The pigments were carefully selected to (a) maximize color gamut, (b) maximize dispersion stability, and (c) maximize fade resistance. The choice of dispersant is critical to both particle comminution and particle stabilization. Suffice it to say that commercially available dispersants are inadequate for these purposes. Kodak has screened literally thousands of commercial and proprietary dispersants, both molecular and polymeric, and in the process, found only a few classes of materials that are up to the task.

When comparisons are made with Kodak and other competitive or offset ink sets, several key points are clear. Kodak’s nanoparticulate pigment inks demonstrate proven quality, flexibility and scalability. Key benefits include the ability to print superior color gamut and tonal scale with less pigment, jetting module improved reliability and efficiency and the ability to customize formulations to enhance specific attributes.

The Covid-19 pandemic led to the country-wide lockdown on 25 March 2020. It will be two years tomorrow as I write this. What have we learned in this time? Maybe the meaning of resilience since small companies like us have had to rely on our resources and the forbearance of our employees as we have struggled to produce our trade platforms.

The print and packaging industries have been fortunate, although the commercial printing industry is still to recover. We have learned more about the digital transformation that affects commercial printing and packaging. Ultimately digital 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.

Web analytics show that we now have readership in North America and Europe amongst the 90 countries where our five platforms reach. Our traffic which more than doubled in 2020, has at times gone up by another 50% in 2021. And advertising which had fallen to pieces in 2020 and 2021, has started its return since January 2022.

As the economy approaches real growth with unevenness and shortages a given, we are looking forward to the PrintPack India exhibition in Greater Noida. We are again appointed to produce the Show Daily on all five days of the show from 26 to 30 May 2022.

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