This year, it’s a decade ago that Kodak started pushing back the traditional quality and performance limits of flexographic printing with a revolutionary technological approach to digital flexo platemaking: the KODAK FLEXCEL NX System made its debut at drupa 2008. For the first time, this solution from the Kodak stable enabled flexo printers and repro service providers to develop high-res flexo printing capabilities and implement them in a commercial, standard production environment.
Kodak’s FLEXCEL NX System offered a solution to some of the limitations of the established digital LAMS technology, and pioneered the use of the digital flat top dots in the flexo industry. KODAK FLEXCEL NX Plates allowed packaging printers to achieve unprecedented levels of quality, and removed some of the key variables in plate production. As a result, flexo printers have not only raised the standard for flexo printing but now also compete for work traditionally produced with gravure, offset or digital print processes; a goal that was previously beyond their reach.
Kodak originally launched the FLEXCEL NX System as a solution for small to medium format plate making but continued to develop the platform, multiplying the initial successes. During the next few years, the FLEXCEL NX System family was extended with large-format versions, leading to full coverage of all segments – from narrow through medium to wide web – in the flexo packaging printing sector. The FLEXCEL NX System technology gained a global reputation as a process that cuts costs and enables greater efficiency and standardization in the pressroom – with flexible packaging, folding carton, labels and corrugated packaging (pre- and postprint).
Flexo innovation with unmatched market and growth momentum
“The FLEXCEL NX System technology developed into a tremendous success story that is still unfolding – for Kodak itself, for our customers in the flexo industry and for their customers too. We’ve sold more than 500 FLEXCEL NX Systems worldwide in the meantime, and we regularly record double-digit growth rates per annum in FLEXCEL NX Plate sales. That is way above the average for the industry as a whole,” said Chris Payne, President, Flexographic Packaging Division and Vice President of Kodak. “More and more flexo printers, brand owners and industry technology suppliers around the world are realizing how our FLEXCEL NX System technology is helping to turn flexo into an industrial printing process that combines consistently high-quality production with numerous cost and sustainability benefits.”
The core FLEXCEL NX System technology has been refined and advanced by Kodak over the years so that, time and time again, customers have had a real differentiator to set themselves apart from their competitors in the dynamic market environment. Kodak’s NX Advantage technology – advanced plate surface patterning which controls and optimizes the delivery of ink from FLEXCEL NX Plates to the substrate – is only one example here. Yet progress is not an end in itself: Kodak has been at great pains to ensure that every new innovation is also accessible to existing FLEXCEL NX System users. Even the original systems in the market can take advantage of the latest technology to give the first-class results which are nowadays taken for granted.
Exclusive 10 Year Anniversary announcements: FLEXCEL NX System ‘Limited Edition’ and “Kodak’s Global Flexo Innovation Awards”
10 years of the FLEXCEL NX System provide Kodak with an incredible opportunity to shine a spotlight on this pioneering technology with two very special campaigns:
- To mark the tenth anniversary, Kodak is launching a ‘Limited Edition’ of the FLEXCEL NX System into the market. Limited to just 25 units worldwide, this system will feature unique styling with an attractive modern design symbolic of flexography, packaging and Kodak’s unique technology. The limited edition FLEXCEL NX system will be available from April 2, 2018.
- Parallel to this, Kodak is launching the new Kodak Global Flexo Innovation Awards. This innovative competition will be open to entrants throughout the world, and will celebrate the transformation of flexography over the last decade. It aims to honor achievements and advances in packaging design, production workflow and sustainable printing made possible by the latest developments in flexography. Any commercial packaging project printed using KODAK FLEXCEL NX Plates will be eligible. The winners in various categories will be selected by an independent jury of experts and showcased at a special ceremony early in 2019. Information on how to enter will be available in April.
“We are more than ever convinced that there’s a fantastic future in store for flexographic printing. Kodak will continue to drive the ‘Transformation of Flexo’ in all packaging segments,” commented Chris Payne. “Our strong commitment and the importance we place on collaboration throughout this journey is clear and we very much look forward to the next 10 years in Flexo.”