Kodak Prosper Ultra 520 inkjet press

Closing the gap to offset

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The new Kodak Prosper Ultra 520 continuous inkjet press closes the gap with offset in quality and productivity Photo Kodak
The new Kodak Prosper Ultra 520 continuous inkjet press closes the gap with offset in quality and productivity Photo Kodak

Printers know the benchmark for quality, paper choice and operating cost has historically been the offset printing process. That’s where Kodak’s Ultrastream Inkjet technology comes in which is redefining what’s possible with inkjet in terms of productivity, output quality, flexibility, and customization.

Kodak invented new inkjet technology and leveraged it to build a revolutionary inkjet web press – the Prosper Ultra 520 – that closes the gap with offset. Now printers can achieve offset quality on glossy papers, with high ink coverage at a speed of 152 meters a minute (500 feet per minute) – all with lower ink costs. The new press is perfect for any print service provider producing books and manuals, brochures and marketing collateral, catalogs, direct mail, or transaction and trans-promo documents.

Kodak could have used drop-on-demand (DOD) like everyone else. But based on its more than 50 years of expertise in inkjet technology, Kodak understood that closing the gap with offset required reimagining inkjet. The Kodak Prosper Ultra 520 powered by its proprietary Ultrastream inkjet technology – does just that, offering new levels of quality, speed, reliability and low running cost.

The new press can deliver 2,020 A4 pages per minute (2,148 letter size) printing 2-up. The press accepts paper web widths from 203 mm (8 inches) to 533 mm (21 inches). The maximum print width is 520 mm (20.5 inches), which allows for a wide variety of imposition formats consistent with traditional offset presses. The Prosper Ultra 520 prints at a resolution of 600 x 1800 dpi (200 lpi offset quality equivalent) on 42-270 gsm papers, including glossy and standard offset stock (with an optional pre-coating station).

Kodak Ultrastream overcomes the limitations of DOD

Kodak Ultrastream provides the ultimate in line straightness, highlights, detail, and color fidelity, and consistency over long runs. It offers numerous advantages over other inkjet technologies. Ink drops are created faster than DOD and this allows just one array of print heads to print the full 520 mm width at 500 fpm, unlike DOD systems that must slow down and/or add extra print heads.

Drops travel to the paper faster than DOD and this targets them exactly for better quality. Moreover, drops are round and precise, unlike DOD that has misshapen drops and extra satellite drops, which leads to jagged edges on text and lines and less sharp images. And unlike some rival presses, the Prosper Ultra 520 does not need to print spit bars and color lines between jobs. This means there is no ink and paper waste from printhead maintenance required by DOD presses to prevent nozzle clogging.

Inks that make a difference

Prosper Ultra 520 runs eco-friendly nano-particulate aqueous Kodak pigment CMYK inks for the lowest cost and highest quality available today. One low-cost ink is used for all papers, even glossy – unlike some competing systems. Kodak’s proprietary ink pigment milling process means the press delivers a 95% larger gamut than SWOP offset and can match 93% of Pantone colors (within 4 dE). This enables the Prosper Ultra 520 to print vivid images with vibrant colors, match brand colors, and exceed customer expectations.

For maintaining consistently high quality and highly efficient throughput, the press employs Kodak’s patented ‘Intelligent Print System’ which continuously monitors and optimizes stitching, color-to-color, and front-to-back registration. This automated feature also helps avoid costly waste.

Small footprint, huge capabilities

The new Prosper Ultra 520 has a compact and robust press design. Thanks to its small footprint and range of specifications, it can be installed in most any production facility without extra expenses for establishing a special digital pressroom. The Ultra 520’s open architecture allows printers to work with a variety of vendors for unwinders, rewinders, pre-coat and post-coat units, and finishing equipment.

The Prosper Ultra 520 is available in two versions – the Prosper Ultra P520 is targeted at publishing applications and commercial print – up to moderate ink coverage. The P520 model has two dryers per side of the web – four in the complete press.

Then there’s Prosper Ultra C520 – the right choice for commercial printers producing direct mailers, inserts, catalogs and books even those with high ink coverage on coated papers. The C520 has four dryers per side – eight in the complete press. The C520 features a proprietary intelligent drying system using near-infrared technology. The innovative drying solution combined with Kodak’s low humectant pigment inks are the key to printing heavy ink coverage on glossy papers at the press’s top speed.

Press controls and job management are handled by the new Kodak 900 Print Manager which is based on an extremely efficient hardware configuration. The compact digital front end employs the state-of-the-art Adobe APPE 5 RIP and runs the press at peak performance with easy set-up, make-ready, and a sophisticated job queuing system. The system accepts all the leading file formats such as PDF, PDF/VT, and AFP and supports connectivity to JDF/JMF compatible prepress and finishing devices. These features ensure optimum compatibility and integration of the Ultra 520 in today’s connected production environments.

A press in a class of its own

With offset-comparable output and exceptional productivity, the Prosper Ultra 520 represents a revolution in inkjet production printing, closing the gap with offset. At 2x to 3x faster than competing systems in its highest quality mode, it delivers unrivaled productivity and efficiency. Thanks to these unique capabilities, printers can transition more work from higher cost offset or toner devices to grow their business. That’s why the Ultra 520 is truly inkjet reimagined.

Let us prove it to you with print samples comparing the Prosper Ultra 520 to offset. Or we can even arrange a virtual demonstration for you, click here for more information: https://www.kodak.com/go/prosper520

Randy Vandagriff, president, Digital Print, Kodak

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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