Kodak’s innovative Flexcel NX Ultra solution

One hour solvent- & VOC-free aqueous flexo plates

The latest Kodak Flexcel NX Ultra solution
The latest Kodak Flexcel NX Ultra solution

Kodak has announced Flexcel NX Ultra new solution enabled by its patent-pending Ultra Clean technology, claimed to be the first aqueous solution that provides consistent, high-performing flexo plates in a high volume, low maintenance environment. The new solution includes the Flexcel NX imaging system paired with the new Flexcel NX Ultra Processing System and a new Flexcel NX Ultra Plate, delivering a complete end-to-end plate making solution from Kodak. The all-in-one processing system combines exposure, washout, drying and finishing in an easy-to-use, robust system with automated cleaning cycles.

The Flexcel NX Ultra plates utilize Kodak’s flat top dot structure and are fully compatible with Kodak’s NX Advantage technology and patented Advanced Edge Definition for a high level of ink transfer control during printing that delivers superb quality and production efficiency benefits. The plates will be available in thicknesses of 1.14 mm and 1.70 mm meant for label, paperboard and flexible packaging applications.

The first product to be made available will be the Flexcel NX Ultra 35 Solution, which can produce plates up to 35 x 48 inches (889 x 1219.2 mm) in size. It’s due to ship in the first quarter of 2019, initially for the North American market and to be rolled out to other markets including India subsequently, although no timeline is available yet.

“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,” said Chris Payne, president, Flexographic Packaging Division and vice president of Kodak. “The Flexcel NX Ultra 35 Solution is the first product to be commercialized from the Ultra NX technology demonstration that we previewed at drupa two years ago and has undergone extensive customer beta trials in demanding production environments. We’re passionate about bringing robust technologies to market and extremely encouraged by the positive experiences of our early adopters.”

Beta sites adopt Flexcel NX Ultra plates in full production

Matt Gauthier is prepress and customer service manager for the Label Division of G3 Enterprises, a busy wine label operation in California that produces over 8,000 production jobs a year and switched from thermal plates to Kodak Flexcel NX plates a number of years ago to increase quality. “We can do essentially anything we want print-wise with the Kodak plates but it’s also important to be able to quickly produce an individual plate, especially when we have customers in-house for a press check. It has been great to have NX Ultra in place, providing the same quality level but requiring much less time to produce a plate. We can make changes and quickly send new plates to press, assuring that customer timelines are satisfied. We have been very happy with results from NX Ultra.”

“We have a green initiative in our facility,” explains Rob Anderson, director, Production and Planning, IGT, a major lottery ticket printer based in Florida. “So, knowing that NX Ultra was to be a water wash product and we wouldn’t have to deal with solvent-based processing, it was very appealing to us. The operators of our flexo presses really appreciate the Kodak plates. They see the difference in the dots and how they print and how vignettes, our fine screens, how everything looks so much cleaner and essentially it has made their job much easier. The NX Ultra product itself has been all that has been promised. We can get plates much faster and we’ve accomplished our green initiative. We truly look at Kodak as a partner.”