Kodak acquires GSS

Kodak has acquired Graphic Systems Services Inc, which sells offset web presses as well as web inkjet press transport systems and other print-related components and engineering services. 

GSS has been working with Kodak for over 20 years, and helped design and build the transport systems for Kodak’s Prosper range of inkjet presses as well as the new Prosper Ultra 520 Press, which I covered in a previous story earlier this year

It appears that Kodak took the opportunity to acquire the company after Dan Green, who had been president and CEO since the company was founded in 1995 retired this May. The company is based in Springboro, close to Kodak’s inkjet base in Dayton, Ohio, giving Kodak an additional press manufacturing facility.

GSS itself seems to have grown out of the ashes of the Hamilton Tool Company, which first made drills and then later web presses and had been bought by AM International. GSS was set up when the assets were acquired in July 1995 from AM International and until recently the company was owned by the families of Fred Harding and Kenneth Green, both of whom had previously worked for Hamilton Tool.

GSS later acquired web offset press manufacturers Schriber Harris and later Didde and the company also owns the Global Web Finishing and Scheffer product lines. GSS had been one of the few American companies still building web offset presses though of late this business mostly seems to have been making spares and maintaining the existing installed presses. Naturally, no word from Kodak as to whether or not it will continue with this side of the business.

As the demand for web offset presses declined, the company expanded into developing web transport systems for inkjet presses, both monochrome and colour. As such, the company has manufactured over 100 web inkjet transports for both press vendors and printing companies wanting to integrate importing modules from providers such as Kodak, HP, Kyocera and Xerox. GSS has also worked closely with Adphos to include its drying systems within its presses. 

This acquisition should give Kodak greater control over its supply chain for inkjet press components and additional engineering expertise. Jim Continenza, Kodak’s Executive Chairman and CEO, commented: “Having an in-house source of transport systems and additional expertise from an industry leader like GSS will immediately make our inkjet business stronger and more sustainable.” 

He added: “As business conditions continue to be challenging, now is the time to control our own destiny and mitigate supply chain risks to ensure reliable delivery of presses to our customers. Looking forward, our ability to leverage GSS’s skills and resources will be extremely valuable as we continue to focus on expanding our inkjet portfolio and providing completely integrated inkjet solutions.”

Kodak has declined to discuss how much it paid for GSS, or how it financed the acquisition, though this should be covered in Kodak’s financial results for this year. In the meantime, you can find further details on both companies from kodak.com and gsspress.com.



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