On 19 April 2020, Eastman Kodak announced its acquisition of the assets of ECRM Incorporated’s CtP (computer-to-plate) device business for the graphic arts and newspaper industries. Based in Massachusetts, ECRM was a global leader in imaging technologies for the graphic communications industry. The transaction includes the equipment, contracts, inventory, and intellectual property of the acquired business. The financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
Kodak offers a portfolio of traditional and digital solutions that help printers, including thermal CtPs and thermal offset plates, which it pioneered. It develops and sells prepress and workflow software and digital presses – both drum and toner and continuous inkjet for commercial and packaging applications. Its CIJ flexible packaging presses are developed in collaboration with Uteco. The acquisition will strengthen Kodak’s position in the CtP segment of the commercial and newspaper printing industry. ECRM was a formidable manufacturer of violet laser CtPs preferred by some Indian language newspapers because of their speed and simplicity of operation.
An imaging company from the start, ECRM was founded just north of Boston by the legendary American engineer William Schreiber while he was a professor at MIT. Schreiber was also a visiting professor at the Indian Institute of Technology in Kanpur from 1964 to 1966. He motivated the first generation of Indian engineers and students to develop the software and hardware for implementing Indian scripts using computers.
“This acquisition reflects Kodak’s commitment to the printing industry and our focus on investing in growth,” said Jim Continenza, Kodak’s Executive Chairman and CEO. “Acquiring these assets of an impressive company like ECRM makes us an even stronger player in the CtP category, and we will continue to look for ways to better serve customers across the spectrum of traditional and digital print.”
“In the wake of a challenging pandemic year, and on the anniversary of ECRM’s 50th year, we decided that this is a good time to rest on our past successes, yet protect and service our many long-term customers with an established company of appropriate size, CtP competence, and resources. We are pleased today to place our company assets with Kodak,” said Rick Black, chairman, and CEO of ECRM.
Kodak has had a few rocky years and a couple of years ago it was compelled to divest its flexographic plate business to Miraclon. Kodak was one of the earliest investors in China and in the past few years, both Kodak and ECRM have manufactured their CtP output devices there. Kodak products, including its environmentally friendly no-process Sonora plates, are distributed in India by Kodak India and its channel partners.