The company has upgraded its second plate manufacturing line at its facility in Leeds, UK, increasing its capacity for production of process-free-technology printing plates that reduce environmental impact for customers. The expansion is in response to growing demand from commercial and publication printers for Thermal Direct Non Process Plates and from newspaper printers for PF-N Non Process Plates.  

In addition to meeting current demand in process-free-technology plate sales, which has grown by an average of 35 percent over the past two years, the enhanced production line also will help Kodak prepare for an exciting new product expected to be announced early next year.

Kodak Thermal Direct Non Process Plates and Kodak PF-N Non Process Plates deliver the resolution and imaging accuracy of thermal, digital plates while eliminating the installation, management and maintenance of traditional processors and processing chemistry. Removing traditional processing steps eliminates cost, as well as any variability associated with processing—ultimately improving the overall productivity and stability of the digital platemaking process.

Over and over again, we hear from our customers that they are looking to reduce costs while improving their sustainability efforts, said Todd Bigger, Global Current Marketing Director, Offset Solutions, Kodak. Our Non Process Plates deliver on both fronts—there is no need to invest in a processor or processing chemicals, and without both there is a reduced environmental impact. It really is a win-win.

Work on the enhanced production capability began in July, with engineers modifying several sections of the existing line to ensure the Thermal Direct and PF-N Plates produced on the new line will be identical to plates currently in the market. The successful result is a doubling of the companys capacity for this highly strategic technology while maintaining high quality and uninterrupted supply for our customers.

We are fast approaching the milestone of 1 500 commercial and publication customers using process-free-technology plates, added Doug Edwards, General Manager, Prepress Solutions, Kodak. That number continues to grow aggressively. On the newspaper side, a growing number of newspaper accounts in the U.S. and Canada now use PF-N Plates. Newspaper printers worldwide are interested in process-free technology, and we are expanding availability of PF-N Plates into other regions in the world. The enhanced production line will make it even easier for us to supply the volumes that our commercial, publication and newspaper customers desire, while maintaining the highest quality and repeatability from plate to plate, regardless of where in the world it is manufactured.

Thermal Direct and PF-N Plates use a write-the-image, non-ablative technology, where final image preparation occurs on press as part of the makeready process without any press contamination. The plates eliminate the need to manage processing chemicals and their effluents, and can be imaged by all popular thermal CTP devices on the market today. By eliminating the processing step, both plates shorten the platemaking cycle and deliver more jobs per shift.