04 March 2018 xDigital Printing Technologies

Kodak pushes digital barriers with Nexfinity introduction

The latest generation of the Nexpress family will allow Kodak to expand the footprint of digital print, through quality, speed and operational cost improvements.

Kodak has unveiled the Nexfinity, a new platform for the digital press, able to transition more offset pages to digital through higher productivity and reduced cost. Moreover a new UK designed imaging head will deliver a native resolution of 1200dpi with eight-bit colour depth for the equivalent of 175lpi offset quality.

The release comes hard on the heels of HP’s announcement that the HD version of the Indigo 12000, first revealed at Drupa, is now available. Like that, Nexfinity was announced at Drupa, partway through what Brad Kruchten says has been a four-year development.

“The beta testing has gone extremely well,” he says. One, Dutch photo products printer Fotofabriek, has now placed an order for two of the machines. The US beta site is Mimeo.

“We don’t expect Nexfinity to replace the Nexpress,” Kruchten continues. “This is for those companies that have the need for greater capacity, to print on a wider range of substrates, additional inks and at a lower cost per page.”

Throughput is 152ppm maximum with a price point for the machine that could be 20% more than the current top of the line Nexpress model. The lower cost per page is achieved by a 30-40% extension to the life of the Operator Replaceable Components. These are unchanged from the current parts and thus produce the lower cost per page.

The LED imaging head was designed by Swindon company PRP Optoelectrics. It includes sensors to make 256 levels of micro adjustment to the output of each of the diodes on the fly, so delivering consistent colour through a production run. The extra imaging resolution will result in smoother tints and gradations in areas such as flesh tones or areas of sky which are sensitive to banding effects.

The machine employs the same architecture, sheet transport and toners and fusing unit as the existing Nexpress models. This results in a three-product family: the Eco 2500, for applications up to 400,000 pages a month; the ZX3900 taking this from 500,000 to 1 million pages a month; and now Nexfinity for more than 1 million pages a month.

It includes the same options on long sheet feeding that can take the print length to 1.2metres for single-sided printing. The fifth colour station has currently ten optional colours. An opaque white can be positioned as the first station for printing on dark papers and boards, or as the last unit where most other additional colours will be deployed. These include a neon pink and will shortly include a pearlescent toner that can be used in combination with black to create silvers. This may prove effective for commercial print, but less so for packaging applications where other techniques may be a better approach for this metallic. Kodak has developed a cart unit to simplify the switch from one colour to another. This can be done in ten minutes, it says.

Another ink set under development is a laser safe matt toner which will enable the press to print letterheads and stationery that will then be passed through an office laser printer. With a gloss clear varnish printed after the new ink family, a high contrast spot varnish effect is achieved.

The plan is to develop the front end to cope with any combination of colour sequence. “We understand what happens when you overprint white, but we are not sure what happens when you apply CMYK over silver,” says Kruchten.

The Nexfinity will require four times the data rate of the ZX model. It has resulted in a new DFE and operators station that can control up to four Nexpress machines.

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Nexfinity in Rochester

Nexfinity in Rochester

Kodak launched the Nexfinity at a Take Print Further event in Rochester last week in front of 250 customers and prospects. The latest generation of the digital press has a new LED imaging system offering greater resolution, dynamic imaging control and greater consistency in a press with higher productivity and lower per page costs.

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Nexfinity in Rochester

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