Powered by rock-solid R&D and photo science, Kodak recently brought to market an armful of upgrades and innovations that represent sales, savings and productivity gold for the photo retailer and photo lab—and creative freedom for their customers.
“Every year since 2005, for each generation of NexPress presses, the list of features increases. These enhancements are backward compatible, which allows customers to build for the future while still leveraging existing equipment,” says Jeff Tabit, Worldwide Director, Photo Segment, for Kodak’s Digital Printing Solutions group.
All NexPress models are built on the same platform, so when a lab or retailer buys into the platform, they don’t have to reinvest in a new press to incorporate new technologies; they just add the options to their existing platform.
Topping the list of enhancements to the latest generation of NexPress SX and Photo presses are Kodak’s new HD dry inks, developed to further enhance image quality—which is job one in the photo market—and the new, longer sheet capability.
What follows are some of the key benefits of these and other recent enhancements in terms of productivity, longevity and the creative options available to NexPress users.
1. HD Dry Inks. Kodak’s new HD dry inks for the NexPress SX and Photo presses have been commercially available since July. Consumers are used to continuous tone photographs, but many of the imaging technologies used produce less than satisfactory photo quality results. “We knew what had to be done,” says Tabit. “For instance, our new HD dry ink produces greatly enhanced images because the smaller particle size lays down smoother and more uniformly on the printed page.”
2. Dimensional Printing. Seven new textured patterns pave the way to a host of fresh creative options and sales opportunities. For example, it’s now possible to create a linen or pebble look and feel to an entire photo book, greeting card or photo calendar by adding texture to the print with dimensional ink. It’s also possible to add texture to specific areas of a printed photo using Kodak NexPress Dimensional Printing.
“Imagine Christmas cards with a graphic of greenery, or other holiday cards with selected areas textured. By putting a texture on the evergreens, snow drifts, candles or other areas, retailers can offer unique value-added products,” explains Tabit.
Dimensional printing also offers other benefits. “With the new textured patterns, photo labs can buy a plain piece of paper for a fraction of the cost of real linen stock and with a few cents of dimensional ink you can have a linen texture, which yields tremendous savings in cost and productivity,” adds Tabit. Buying more plain paper may even bring the price down further because of volume. Labor and waste costs will decrease because operators only need to load a single type of paper. No more “oops” for loading and using the wrong paper for multiple jobs.
3. Light Black Ink. “By using Kodak NexPress light black HD ink in the fifth imaging unit, photo labs can achieve previously unattainable highlight detail and tonal range. This technology also prints amazingly smooth flesh tones, a key requirement in the photo industry,” adds Tabit. Light black HD inks are now standard in the NexPress Photo press and optional in the NexPress SX press.
4. Matte Finish. Kodak’s exquisite new matte finish feature also enhances image clarity, regardless of the angle at which the print is held or viewed. Says Tabit, “With Kodak’s innovative technology, the process of switching from regular to matte finish takes minutes. This alleviates the need to dedicate a press to printing matte, as is the case with the competition.” The hassle-free process essentially involves swapping out the standard fuser roller for a matte fuser roller. Having one press capable of producing standard and matte finishes results in substantial cost savings and increased efficiency.
5. Longer Sheet Capability. Expanded product offerings and cost savings are perhaps the top advantages of Kodak’s longer sheet capability, available in the latest NexPress presses and upgrades. Retailers can produce photo merchandise items such as dust jackets for photo books, panoramic prints, 14×26-inch posters and a myriad of other customer favorites. “These products can now be produced on a NexPress press for a fraction of the cost of inkjet with improved durability,” adds Tabit.
Customers can also order photo books of their family vacation at the Grand Canyon or China’s Great Wall accented with a novel tip-in of the landscape. School yearbooks can be produced with tip-ins of a panoramic photo or a group shot of a graduating class. Retailers can create dust jackets and produce two-up 12×12-inch photo books. “Before, labs could only offer single-page printing for photo books of this size, but now they can print two-up on a single piece of paper, saving time and money, while increasing efficiency and productivity,” adds Tabit.
6. More Durable Press Components. Through superior technology and one of the most renowned R&D organizations in the world, Kodak develops parts and products that are exceptionally durable. This increased longevity is a key point of differentiation for Kodak in the marketplace. “For example, with the latest round of upgrades, fuser rollers that originally lasted for 50,000 prints now last, on average, for greater than 300,000,” says Tabit. A decreased need for replacing press components often leads to broader cost reductions for customers.
For more information on the Kodak NexPress Photo press, visit kodak.com/go/photosample.