Kodak’s NexPress is now offering a myriad added-value inline solutions from its 5th imaging unit, with gold, pearlescent and neon printing effects adding to the host of options already available
Probably the busiest part of any stand at drupa was that area of Kodak’s booth that contained the NexPress. From morning till evening crowds were unabated in their desire to see all the new NexPress had to offer, and there was plenty on show, most of it coming from the 5th imaging unit.
That interest didn’t come from nowhere, the past 18 months have seen NexPress take off all over the world, and certainly in Australia, with Konica Minolta now handling the sales. Darren Yeates, business development manager for digital printing at Kodak says, “Print business owners are recognising that digital printing in general offers them good growth opportunities, and that the NexPress in particular offers them an unrivalled combination of productivity, quality and versatility.”
There was a new gold print solution that was running throughout drupa, accompanied by samples of the pearlescent and neon pink options that are available from the 5th imaging unit as well. Also shown at drupa was the new inline UV coating capability, as well as the long-sheet high-capacity delivery, photobook finishing options, and the ability to produce dimensional and MICR printing.
According to Yeates it is commercial printers moving into digital that are the primary place for new NexPress installations, with some of those having had a smaller digital printer, and moving up to a high volume level.
He says, “Print business owners under pressure in the offset field can see that NexPress offers them a technology they can go to market with and offer their customers a wide range of print solutions, all from the one printer.
“Those solutions available include red, green or blue as fifth colour, MICR, red fluorescent, clear coating like spot UV, a glosser, spot or flood, and the Dimensional (raised) print. Then at drupa Kodak launched gold, pearlescent and neon printing options. To be able to offer any or all of these to print buyers, and to be able to produce them effortlessly in house, all from one printer, is a tremendous boon, especially in these days where commodity printing is delivering poor returns.
“With NexPress we are committed to delivering best-in-class photographic image quality, providing differentiated solutions that set print providers apart from competitors, and maintaining the value of investments by enabling upgrades to greater speed and the latest feature set, “Customers amaze us with the applications they are producing, and some of these new developments will no doubt expand those applications even further. The new gold for instance can be used for book covers, slashing the cost of producing covers, particularly for shorter run work.”
For Yeates the NexPres is a business solution, he says, “It offers printers ROI, thanks to low cost per copy and high versatility. It would be in the same price range as a standard four colour SRA3 offset press, yet it offers so much more, inline, and with no makeready or plates of course. And then there is the variable data capability.”
Kodak promotes NexPress as a heavy duty print solution, Yeates says, “It is an industrial printer, we have customers pumping out three or four million pages a month, and not as one-offs, but month after month. Don’t forget NexPress has been in continuous development, and usage, for the past 15 years, so has a proven track record.”
Part of the ways Kodak keeps the cost per copy low is through ORC – operator replaceable components – which mean staff can often maintain the machine themselves and deal with any issues that may arise.”
One of the major advantages of NexPress is the upgradability, which makes it straightforward for printers to invest in a solution that meets their current needs and can grow as their businesses expand. All of the new features shown at drupa can be added as upgrades to most previous machines, protecting customers’ investments and making it easy to design the ideal solution.
The new inline UV coating solution is made possible with the Tec Lighting Trucoat coater. Printers have a choice of either an inline simplex or inline automatic duplex coater. Offering both a high gloss and a satin finish, this coater complements the range of coating solutions that are already available with NexPress, and can be used with other 5th imaging unit solutions, such as gamut expansion, red fluorescing, and light black.
The recently introduced long-sheet option (660 mm) delivers 27 per cent more printable area, and according to Yeates the new high-capacity delivery shown at drupa makes it ‘easy’ to handle and move those sheets for post-production processes. The benefits of the longer sheet include reduced waste and increased productivity, and enable new applications such as six-page brochures, posters, larger dust jackets for books, and a variety of packaging applications.
Yeates says, “The long feeder means three up A4, so further adding to the versatility and productivity of Nexpress. And in fact Kodak will be launching a four up A4 990mm feeder in the near future, for even greater efficiency improvements.”
Kodak was working with Unibind at drupa to demonstrate photobook finishing. Photo products is a rapidly growing market for many print providers, and Yeates points out that NexPress recently achieved an overall highest rating in photographic print quality in an independent study recently completed by the SpencerLab Digital Color Laboratory.
The high-speed NexPress SX3900, the most productive press in the platform, can now print the full range of high-value solutions for which the NexPress is noted, including printing dimensional at 83ppm and MICR at 100ppm.
Yeates says, “Printers should know that all NexPress models feature Print Genius, a suite of productivity and quality control tools and options that automate tasks and help users maintain peak quality throughout their production run. The Print Genius quality suite encompasses hardware, software, and material science innovations to optimise quality and consistency from the first sheet to the last, day after day.
Kodak’s strategy with NexPress is to eliminate obsolescence risk. As a result, its systems are both scalable and upgradeable, according to J Zarwan Partners founder John Zarwan, in a new whitepaper commissioned by Kodak. He says, “The idea is a simple one. Buy only what you need or can afford today and add additional features and capabilities later, without having to install a new machine.”
The whitepaper explores the clear benefits of digital press upgradability, and includes research conducted by Zarwan about the NexPress and competitive digital presses. Zarwan found that Kodak’s upgradability strategy was compelling when compared to competitors. He says, “In some cases to take advantage new options without limiting your work, you essentially need a second machine. Not only is that costly, but you then have additional capacity to fill. That is not the case with NexPress.”
Also included in the whitepaper are endorsements from NexPress customers, including Digitalpress in Surrey Hills, NSW. Theo Pettaras, founder of Digitalpress says, “The NexPress we have today is the same one we started with five years ago. We have the ability to have the machine upgraded in the field. This allows us to have new inks and faster speeds. It also has the intelligent calibration system.”
Updating existing systems, rather than buying new ones, is a compelling benefit for many customers. Wayne Said, the owner of Indie Printing says, “With Kodak you do not need to buy new equipment every couple of years. You can just add new technology to existing equipment, which is cost effective for a small company like ours.”
In closing, Zarwan observed, “Not all business situations are alike, and many factors enter into the decision to acquire any capital equipment. The selection of an appropriate digital press is particularly challenging, as technology changes rapidly, new features and functions are constantly being introduced, and the danger of being behind the curve soon after making a major purchase can put a printer at a competitive disadvantage. In today’s environment,
“It is particularly important to choose a press that can not only grow with your business but accommodate new features, functions, and capabilities as they are introduced.
“Most suppliers will provide attractive trade-in allowances to businesses that purchase new equipment. It is clearly preferable to be able to upgrade your existing equipment to bring it completely up to date.”
A free copy of the whitepaper is available.
* J Zarwan Partners is an independent consultancy that specialises in business development, market strategy, and product planning and positioning. John Zarwan, its founding partner, is internationally known for his knowledge and independent perspective. He has been involved in digital printing for more than 30 years. Prior to founding J Zarwan Partners, Dr Zarwan was principal of State Street Consultants, held senior management positions in finance, marketing, and product management at NEC and Agfa (Compugraphic), and was Vice President of PIMS Associates/Strategic Planning Institute, a strategy consultancy. Dr Zarwan is an alumnus of Grinnell College, Stanford University, Yale University, and the Stern School of Business of New York University and was on the faculty of the College of Charleston, and the University of Prince Edward Island.
NexPress Open Houses in August
Kodak and its distributor in Australia Konica Minolta is planning on running NexPress open houses in August, with one each slated for Sydney and Melbourne. Yeates says, “The idea is to address topics that printers are asking questions about. So on the agenda will be subjects including target markets, new features including the fifth imaging unit and its capabilities, and the future for NexPress. We will be sharing ideas and experiences. It is a time for NexPress users and potential users, and Kodak professionals to come together and learn from each other. Dates and locations have yet to be finalized, but both events are likely to take place in the week beginning August 13. Contact Yeates at Kodak for details.