"The PROSPER Press Platform is a breakthrough technology, bringing previously unattainable levels of quality, productivity and total cost of ownership to the digital print market," said Kevin Joyce, Worldwide Vice President, Sales and Marketing, Digital Printing Solutions, Kodak. "The next step in driving value for print service providers and their customers is this comprehensive paper strategy, which delivers the widest choice and range of substrates to accommodate the needs of the commercial printing, book manufacturing, direct mail, and catalog markets. Taken together, all the parts of the strategy deliver substrate flexibility, maximum productivity and offset class quality."
The comprehensive paper strategy for the PROSPER Press Platform will help printers choose the right paper for their specific application with a paper certification program, and provides the option to purchase paper optimized for inkjet printing from a paper mill or pre-treating paper in-house using the PROSPER In-line Optimization Station, depending on the customer's business model and operational requirements.
PROSPER Press paper development
To best meet the needs of high-volume printers, Kodak is working with 10 major paper companies worldwide to develop and produce new papers optimized for KODAK Stream Inkjet Technology. With assistance from Kodak, the companies are developing a range of coated and uncoated papers typically used for book manufacturing, direct mail and catalog and magazine printing markets.
"This commitment of resources demonstrates the high level of confidence these paper companies have in the future of Kodak's revolutionary Stream Inkjet Technology and the PROSPER Press Platform," Joyce said. "By working collaboratively with these paper mills, Kodak is ensuring a market-driven development process in which paper, inks, hardware and software have all been optimized to produce the best possible production and image quality results."
The paper companies working with Kodak on optimized paper development are:
- Appleton Coated, Kimberly, WI
- International Paper, Memphis, TN
- Mitsubishi Paper Mills Ltd., Tokyo
- NewPage, Miamisburg, OH
- Nippon Paper Group, Inc., Tokyo
- North Pacific Paper Corp., Longview, WA
- Sappi Fine Paper North America, Boston
- StoraEnso, Helsinki, Finland
- Verso Paper Corp., Memphis, TN
- Ziegler Papier, Grellingen, Switzerland
"At Kodak, we've led the development of almost all transactional papers used across the inkjet printing industry today, and have an unrivaled breadth of experience in image science and print technologies," said Don Burns, Business Development Director Media, Kodak. "We chose these paper companies because they are best-in-class for paper technology, manufacturing, logistics, and application know-how in addition to their continued commitment to our target markets."
Beyond the mills participating in the paper development program, Kodak has a number of long-time paper company relationships including Holland-based Crown Van Gelder (CVG); Enterprise Group, a division of Domtar Corp. of Montreal; Glatfelter of York, PA; International Paper; Memphis, TN and Brussels, Belgium; Kishu Paper of Tokyo; Oji Paper of Tokyo; and Ziegler Papier of Grellingen, Switzerland that produce papers already well suited for the PROSPER Press Platform. The manufacturing history of production inkjet paper grades goes back almost 20 years with some of these firms and even longer for hybrid printing applications.
PROSPER In-line Optimization Station
For those printers who require an almost unlimited portfolio of papers, Kodak is developing the PROSPER In-line Optimization Station, a pre-treatment module as an addition to the PROSPER Press Platform. This technology will enable the optimization of almost any standard paper and is designed to provide a robust and flexible option to printers of short-run jobs with variable paper requirements and specifications. The In-line Optimization Station, which will be available commercially in early 2011, can be integrated into the PROSPER Press or, alternatively, can be operated independently as a near-line coating module.
Kodak's In-line Optimization Station is designed to deliver optimal image quality and consistent operation, allow the widest possible choice of substrate and maintain high levels of speed and productivity. The pre-treatment process optimizes existing paper designs to create an appropriate surface for the physical requirements of inkjet printing, including aqueous pigment based inks, evaporative drying, ink adhesion and gloss, without affecting other paper properties.
After investigating a wide range of application methods, including inkjet deposition and spray coating, Kodak developed a roll coating method that achieves a consistent application of pre-treatment fluid accurately and reliably. The water-based pre-treatment fluids contain adhesion-promoting additives that can be customized depending on the specific paper stock being treated. The system provides paper flexibility, allowing for the pre-treatment of virtually any paper surface, whether coated or uncoated, and from matte to silk to glossy finishes. It ensures high quality print by delivering consistent coverage of pre-treatment fluid across the entire web, as well as ease of use and excellent performance on press.
"The In-line Optimization Station provides an efficient solution allowing printers to use the widest possible range of standard offset and commercially available inkjet papers," said Anir Dutta, Inkjet Printing Systems Product Manager, Kodak. "The option to optimize a wide variety of paper stocks provides our customers with substrate flexibility allowing them to maximize productivity and achieve optimal image quality."
Paper certification program
Kodak will further build on its long-standing paper expertise by expanding its testing program to include a robust paper certification program to assist PROSPER Press Platform customers in paper selection. On a one-to-four-diamond rating scale, the program will evaluate paper based on image quality using the major recognized metrics of optical density, strikethrough, raggedness, color-to-color bleed and mottle, allowing customers to choose the paper best suited to their projects and performance expectations. The paper certification program will provide customers with the assurance that tested papers will perform as rated for specific applications.
"With more than 4,000 paper tests completed and a decade of experience co-designing papers for various print engines, Kodak is well positioned to develop a transparent, industry-leading paper certification program," Burns said. "The certification program will help our customers make the best choices among the many paper stocks available, helping to simplify logistics and supply chain management, and allowing them to efficiently provide high-quality service and reliable results. With so many possible combinations of paper, and the various types of inkjet technologies and ink formulations, a clear measurement of image quality and expected print performance will prove invaluable for PROSPER Press customers and their clients."