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Inkjet 2012 1:1 Consumer Communications

March 31, 2012

A Monumental Installation: Kodak Showcases its Inkjet Strength at Fenske Media

Fenske Media is located in Rapid City, SD, practically in the shadow of Mt. Rushmore. It's a database management company that uses printing to provide clients with a complete service-from conceiving programs that clients use to reach consumers, through design and testing, and then mailing.

Late last year, Fenske teamed with Kodak to host an open house-about 30 U.S. journalists and analysts were on hand to see Fenske's latest addition: the Kodak Prosper 5000XL. (Kodak filed for bankruptcy protection under Chapter 11 on January 19, 2012.)

Kodak set the stage for drupa with Greg Gresocks's overview of its NexPress, Versamark and Pros per offerings. Gresock, Director of Marketing for Digital Printers and Presses, Graphic Communications Group, said Kodak's show message is "Digital Your Way." In addition to highlighting technical innovations, Gresock and subsequent speakers stressed the company's commitment to helping customers grow with upgrade-able systems that provide maximum application flexibility.

Bill Schweinfurth, Manager, Market Development Communications Group, reviewed the Kodak Prosper 5000XL's key technical and business case attributes.

He summarized the advantages of Kodak's Stream continuous inkjet (CIJ) technology vs. drop-on-demand (DoD) and other technologies; explained the field upgrade path from the monochrome Prosper 1000 to color 5000XL; and provided some case studies illustrating how customers are growing their businesses.

The Prosper's Stream technology is a continuous inkjet process with what Schweinfurth termed "revolutionary" differences vs. other CIJ and drop-on-demand approaches. Prosper's nano-particulate ink reduces clogging concerns while reportedly increasing color saturation with less overall ink usage. The ink requires only a trace amount of wetting agents and therefore poses less of a glossy stock challenge.

Fenske installed the 5000XL one year ago. It has a print width of 24.5 inches on a 25.5-inch wide web, with speeds approaching 658 feet per minute. The image equivalent for the color press is 175 lines per inch using a stochastic dot pattern. Prosper can produce high-quality variable data and pictures-even flesh tones-at high speed. An inline UV coater provides extra rub protection and high-gloss finish to coated stocks. Fenske can produce offset quality output across a range of full-color mail applications on glossy paper, including personalized self-mailers and direct mail.

Kodak says the quality "rivals offset"-the press can print up to 175 lpi on uncoated, matte and glossy papers ranging from 60# offset to 9.3 pt cover thickness.

To reach the required quality levels its customers demand, Fenske uses pretreated glossy coated substrates and will be adding Kodak's pretreatment module (Inline Optimization Station). The in-line module is built around a robust roll coating technology that allows the use of a wide range of water-based pre-treatment fluids, with different chemistries, viscosities and coat weights. Pretreatment can be applied to all kinds of different paper surfaces, coated or uncoated, matte, silk, or glossy.

The Inline Optimization Station's water-based pre-treatment fluids contain adhesion-promoting additives that can be customized depending on the specific paper stock being treated. Virtually any paper surface can be pre-treated.

According to Fenske Media, up time is between 80% to 85%. "For new technology this is fantastic," says Ray Prince, president of GreensheetBIZ. "Years ago when quality toner devices were coming on the market the up time was only 50%. With the addition of the in-line UV coating station, it's on target for the direct mail high-quality market."

Kodak announced it has formed Inkjet Technology Partnerships (ITP), a business team that will work with equipment suppliers as well as large print providers to leverage Kodak's Stream inkjet technology.

In response to questions about the recent Kodak/Collins Ink dispute, Will Mansfield, Director Worldwide Marketing for Kodak's commercial inkjet business, stressed Kodak is working to prevent any supply disruptions.

We used to talk to printers about putting ink on paper. Now, we are increasingly talking to data experts about "painting the sheet." We expect more inkjet developments at drupa- stay tuned!

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