Kodak to launch Flexcel NX Ultra

Kodak has announced a new iteration to its Flexcel NX flexo plate system with a new Flexcel NX Ultra solution, despite the fact that Kodak has already announced its intention to sell off its flexo division.

Kodak’s Flexcel NX Ultra system consists of new plates and processor able to use a new water-based cleaning and processing.

Essentially Kodak has improved the post processing of the plates so that this can now be done with a water-based solution, which should be more environmentally-friendly and easier to maintain.

Chris Payne, who heads up Kodak’s flexo division, explains: “We’re focused on solving complex technical challenges. Kodak Ultra Clean technology has solved the fundamental challenge of ‘inconsistency’ traditionally associated with aqueous processed flexo plates and will enable printers to take advantage of our industry-leading plate technology without the hassle of solvent processing.”

This approach was previewed at the last Drupa show in 2016 but is now commercially available in the form of the Flexcel NX Ultra 35 Solution. The system uses the existing Flexcel NX imager but includes a new Flexcel NX Ultra plate as well as an Ultra processing system, which combines exposure, washout, drying and finishing in an easy-to-use, robust system with automated cleaning cycles. The Ultra 35 can produce plates up to 889 x 1219.2 mm (35” x 48”) in size.

The new Ultra plates deliver the flat top dots associated with Flexcel NX and are fully compatible with Kodak’s NX Advantage technology as well as the Advanced Edge Definition for ink transfer control during printing. These plates will be available in thicknesses of 1.14 mm and 1.70 mm and are said to be suitable for label, paperboard and flexible packaging applications. They should become available in the first quarter of next year, initially just for the North American market, though Kodak is expecting sales to start in Europe, including the UK, by the second quarter. There’s no word on price other than it will be at a premium in comparison with Flexcel NX.

However, it’s impossible to say whether or not Kodak’s efforts to sell the Flexo business will affect this schedule. Kodak has engaged UBS Investment Bank for financial advice and claims to have had some interest from both strategic and financial suitors. There’s no word as to how long the sales process will take but Kodak has said that it will continue to make significant investments in the flexo division by expanding manufacturing capacity, developing advanced technology and increasing its headcount to meet customer needs.





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