Kodak unveils new Prosper inkjet, Sonora plates update

22 June 2020

Kodak has announced a raft of new technology with the company releasing its latest inkjet press range, the Prosper Ultra 520, which builds on its predecessor, the Prosper 6000.

The company’s Executive Chairman Jim Continenza presided over a live global announcement of Kodak’s latest releases earlier this week and said the company is doubling down on its commitment to digital printing.

Headlining this commitment to close the gap with offset is the Prosper Ultra 520 inkjet range which is designed for the mid-level printer producing direct mail, marketing collateral, catalogues and books.

Kodak says the press, which comes in two models the C250 for high-ink applications and the P520 for medium-to-low ink applications, will become available at the end of 2020.

The Ultra 520 delivers offset-quality print at up to 150 metres per minute in high-quality mode and offers increased productivity, high-image quality and the lowest running costs on the market.

What sets this new press apart from its predecessor, the high-volume Prosper 6000 which was launched at drupa in 2016, is its use of Kodak’s proprietary continuous drop Ultrastream writing technology.

Ultrastream is now in its fourth generation and was previously deployed in the Uteco flexible packaging press. The updated system uses electrostatic charging to deflect perfectly round droplets, which have themselves been substantially reduced in size with resolution increasing to 600 x 1800 dpi.

The technology enables the press to print on an even broader range of substrates, including labels and flexible packaging, and creates quality print usually reserved for sheetfed offset or other analogue devices.

Kodak Australia and New Zealand Sales Director Rob Mollee said the new press marks a significant turn for Kodak.

“The Prosper previously had a much larger drop size but the Ultra utilises a much smaller drop size to give that higher resolution. It is all around the design of the stream itself and the droplet size that we are using.” 

“We can actually come up with offset quality now on a digital press and we personally believe, that at this point in time, this is the highest resolution digital inkjet press on the market.”

In the global press conference, Continenza said: “Kodak is investing approximately $25 million a year in advancing print technology, doubling down on digital print and delivering the products our customers need to drive productivity and growth as the industry evolves.

“The revolutionary new Prosper Ultra 520 Inkjet Press is the product of our heritage of innovation in print and our continuing focus on developing breakthrough technologies.

“Printers can rely on the full range of Kodak Solutions, from offset plates to workflow software to digital presses, to deliver performance that pays.”

Randy Vandagriff, Vice President Eastman Kodak, said the new Prosper Ultra will allow print business owners to grow and increase profits.

“I am excited and pleased to announce Kodak’s next inkjet press, the Prosper Ultra C520, powered by Kodak’s next generation Ultrastream technology,” Vandagriff said.

“This press is suited for mid-volume production, closing the gap of image quality with offset, enabling the migration of graphics printing to digital.

“Prosper Ultra 520 will deliver our customers a new product with high productivity, high image quality and the lowest running cost in the market allowing our customers to grow their business and increase their profits.”

Sonora Xtra Process Free Plates

For offset printers, Kodak has also refined its Sonora Process Free Plates.

The next development in this series is the Sonora Xtra Process Free Plate, which will be available at the end of 2020.

Kodak vice president of traditional print John O’Grady said the Sonora Xtra Process Free Plate technology delivers a 20 per cent imaging speed improvement on its predecessor.

“Printers are already enjoying longer run lengths and we are continuing to innovate. We are very pleased to announce the Sonora Xtra Process Free Plate,” O’Grady said, adding the plates deliver stronger image contrast, improved handling robustness and faster imaging speeds.

“Sonora Plate technology is the world’s most widely used and trusted process free plate technology, embraced by over 4,000 printers of all sizes around the world. The Sonora Xtra Process Free Plate is scheduled to be available at the end of 2020.

“The robustness of the plate has also increased which means there is absolutely no sacrifice in swapping from traditional plate making processes to the Sonora.”

Mollee said the Sonora X plates had had enormous take up in both Australia and New Zealand as the plates remove the need for chemical processing, meaning major cost savings for printers.

“Our current Sonora is one of the fastest process free plates in the market already as far as imaging is concerned,” Mollee said.

“I believe we are still streets ahead of the competition which is a bold statement for me to make but we have had so much success with the Sonora X.

“It is just going to continue to increase because we are converting customers on a regular basis away from wet processing and over to process free. They are all just saying it is fabulous because they have eliminated so much time, cost, wastage and OHS risk with processing all gone.”

Prinergy On Demand Workflow Platform

Kodak has also updated its Prinergy workflow solution to be cloud-enabled and accessible via a subscription model making it more cost-effective for customers.

Mollee says this update will benefit users as customer licenses will reside in the cloud meaning they can be automatically updated and data analytics to see how workflow is going will be held in a secure environment. The cloud-based technology will also assist customers in the event of in-house computer server issues.

Two new platesetters

In the prepress area, Kodak unveiled two new platesetters, the Magnus Q800 Platesetter which can image up to 80 plates per hour, and the Magnus Q4800 Platesetter for extra large format needs.

“The Magnus Q800 Platesetter will now be able to image up to 80 plates per hour to help maximise the productivity of offset workflows. Faster imaging speeds need automation that can keep up, so Kodak is also introducing an updated Multi-Pallet Loader that matches the 80pph speed and with a capacity of up to 3,200 plates,” Kodak said.

“The T-Speed Magnus Q800 Platesetter will be available for beta testing this month and in production in September 2020. 1,500 plates per pallet capacity for Single Pallet Loader/Multi Pallet Loader will start shipping in June 2020.”