Kodak and Uteco ship third Sapphire EVO M Press

The excitement in inkjet digital flexible packaging printing

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The third Sapphire EVO M press is on its way to a North American customer Photo Kodak
The third Sapphire EVO M press is on its way to a North American customer Photo Kodak

Rochester, New York, 23 July 2020 – The third Uteco Sapphire EVO M Press for the production of flexible packaging began its journey to the customer a few days after passing the factory acceptance test. This inkjet web press is destined for a company in North America, where it will be used for applications requiring large quantities of short-run jobs. Other Sapphire EVO M Presses are already up and running very successfully at flexible packaging printers in Italy and Japan.

The Sapphire EVO M Press was developed jointly by the Uteco Group and Kodak. The mid web digital press lets flexible packaging printers migrate jobs from traditional printing processes to digital and achieve high-quality results and great time, make-ready, and cost savings. Utilizing Kodak Stream Continuous Inkjet Technology and low-cost water-based pigment inks from Kodak, the digital press delivers excellent CMYK print quality on a variety of plastic film materials and papers. Sapphire EVO M supports a maximum web width of 650 mm and a print width of 620 mm. With production speeds of over 150 meters per minute, it is faster than any other digital solution for flexible substrates.

Fast water-based Stream continuous inkjet

The new customer chose the Sapphire EVO M Press because it offers the best duty cycle of any mid web digital press and enables more cost-effective production of volumes up to 20,000 square meters compared to analog processes. Another key benefit of the Sapphire EVO M from the customer’s point of view is that it improves their time to market enormously. Whereas production using conventional analog processes typically takes two weeks or more, it is estimated that jobs will be turned around on the new inkjet press in as little as two days.

“This latest sales success is clear evidence that the Sapphire EVO presses featuring Kodak’s high-speed continuous inkjet and water-based ink technology are all set to become one of the leading solutions worldwide for digital flexible packaging printing,” said Randy Vandagriff, senior vice resident, Print, Eastman Kodak Company.

Aldo Peretti, president, and CEO of the Uteco Group, added, “We’re delighted that our Sapphire EVO M Press will soon be in action in different flexible packaging applications on three continents. It provides an efficient way for packaging printers and converters to meet brand owners’ increasing need for fast, cost-effective, and high-quality production of short and medium runs.”

The Covid-19 pandemic led to the country-wide lockdown on 25 March 2020. It will be two years tomorrow as I write this. What have we learned in this time? Maybe the meaning of resilience since small companies like us have had to rely on our resources and the forbearance of our employees as we have struggled to produce our trade platforms.

The print and packaging industries have been fortunate, although the commercial printing industry is still to recover. We have learned more about the digital transformation that affects commercial printing and packaging. Ultimately digital will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future.

Web analytics show that we now have readership in North America and Europe amongst the 90 countries where our five platforms reach. Our traffic which more than doubled in 2020, has at times gone up by another 50% in 2021. And advertising which had fallen to pieces in 2020 and 2021, has started its return since January 2022.

As the economy approaches real growth with unevenness and shortages a given, we are looking forward to the PrintPack India exhibition in Greater Noida. We are again appointed to produce the Show Daily on all five days of the show from 26 to 30 May 2022.

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– Naresh Khanna

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