Kodak India celebrates fifty years of making a good impression

On 23 August Kodak India celebrates its 50th anniversary. Last week, the Kodak team had its APR Leadership meet in Mumbai. It took the opportunity to felicitate its partners, which have been instrumental in promoting Kodak solutions across India. Ramu Ramanathan caught up with the Kodak team

22 Aug 2023 | By Ramu Ramanathan

(l-r) Nori Masanori, Jenine Johnson and Bhalchandra Nikumb of Kodak

Ramu Ramanathan (RR): Jim Continenza, Kodak's CEO and executive chairman, has said the firm had taken "unprecedented steps" to ensure supplies to its customers during ongoing supply chain disruption. This is a huge concern in India. What are the steps that you can share with Kodak customers in India? 
Jenine Johnson (JJ): Kodak instituted safety measures to be able to continue operating its manufacturing sites without interruptions during the pandemic. Also, we continued to find ways to source the aluminum needed for manufacturing plates and worked to apportion the available inventory of plates to meet customer needs. 

RR: Everyone talks about India being a double-digit growth market. How is the AMC business in India? Kodak India has also witnessed double digit growth in the print business for 2022 vs 2021. 
Nori Masanori (NM): 
Kodak continues to invest in several growth initiatives in our advanced materials and chemicals business, including Kodalux light-blocking fabrics and coating substrates for Electric Vehicles (EV) battery manufacturing. In addition, Kodak continues to see strong demand for both motion picture and still film. In recent quarters, AM&C has begun to make important contributions to Kodak’s financial performance in revenue and profit. 

RR: To what extent has the volume for Sonora process-free plates grown in India? 
: Kodak Sonora is a revolutionary technology that has witnessed consistent company growth. In India, too, we have been consistently growing year-over-year. Last year we achieved double-digit growth.

50 years of celebration: Kodak team members along with the Kodak partners

RR: To what do you attribute the success of Sonora in India?
JJ: The usage of Sonora helps users attain sustainability goals and ease of operations. Sonora helps eliminate chemistry, savings in chemicals, electricity, water, manpower and maintenance. 

RR: Traditionally, Kodak has always invested in product innovation. The last thing we heard of was: the Kodak Mobile CTP Control App, which was now “even more powerful”. What more is happening? 
The Kodak Mobile CTP Control App is now in its second version. It’s a one-of-a-kind mobile app that lets you remotely control and monitor your CTP device. Know immediately when your CTP devices need attention, no matter where you are. You can check the status with a quick glance at your mobile phone, so there’s no more waiting around to load more plates. Lastly, there is no wasted time while the machine sits idle, waiting for you.

RR: Is it compatible with all the devices?
The Kodak Mobile CTP Control App works with Kodak Magnus, Achieve, Generation News and Trendsetter platesetters. It is available for Android and iOS mobile operating systems. It supports ten languages- English, Chinese, Dutch, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish.

RR: A year ago, Kodak introduced Ascend: a new electrophotographic digital press targeted at packaging and point-of-purchase. What's the update? Any plans for India? |
Ascend is currently not sold in India. We are yet to make a plan for its introduction in India. Our main focus remains inkjet solutions, and we have introduced two state-of-the-art products early this year – Prosper Ultra 520 and Prosper 7000.

RR: One of the first workflows I worked on was Prinergy. Any update on Prinergy's cloud-based workflow and the launch of Prinergy On-Demand Access? 
We're excited to announce that we just released version 10 of Prinergy. Today Prinergy combines 20+ productivity software applications and services to drive cost savings and growth for our customers' businesses. Prinergy workflow is compatible with all your equipment, whether you're printing offset, digital, flexo, or gravure. Work entirely in the cloud or choose a hybrid – either way, we have options for today that can scale to the print shop of tomorrow. 

RR: How so?
For example, Prinergy Access, our new cloud-based SaaS Solution, automates file preparation, routing and storage from anywhere, all through a web browser. With Access, printers and their customers can work globally while effortlessly routing print-ready files to any digital device, all through a browser, for one controlled monthly fee. Best of all, files are always stored and secured by Microsoft Azure. Prinergy Access reduces pre-press time and file handling, which increases productivity without adding staff.

Masanori: The pandemic made it clear that the world economy is more interconnected than we often realise

RR: Subscription-based?
Oh yes.

RR: The pandemic spurred many developments, any trends you have discerned?
 The pandemic made it clear that the world economy is more interconnected than we often realise. It has created a greater emphasis on sustainability because we all share the world’s resources and must work to conserve them. In addition, it has made companies more aware of vulnerabilities in the supply chain and the importance of having local supplies of products. Kodak, for example, is addressing this challenge by continuing to manufacture plates in the US, Germany and Japan.  

RR: The industry is known as hazardous with exposure to dangerous chemicals, the most dangerous of which was dioxin. How do we allay this sentiment? 
: Kodak provides eco-friendly printing solutions as a key player in the printing industry to move our sustainability steps forward. For offset, Sonora process-free plates do not involve hazardous chemicals since we eliminate the processing step and the substances that go with it.

RR: What about the inkjet business?
Also, for the inkjet business, we provide sustainable water-based inks. Kodak’s water-based inks are safer for people and the environment compared to conventional solvent-based inks. They contain minimal volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and no polyvinyl chloride or phthalates. This keeps potentially harmful substances out of the waste stream and water supply and eliminates the need for hazardous waste removal processes. Further, our water-based inks don’t compromise on quality. We can share our sustainability report as a reference. 

RR: Today, almost every manufacturer says: cut-down carbon footprint + become more sustainable. This is done by reducing energy, water and chemical consumption and eliminating waste. What concrete steps Kodak is undertaking to ensure this with your customers in India? 
JJ: As One Kodak, we strive to deliver innovative products and solutions that care for people and the planet and fuel sustainable growth for Kodak and our customers. One example is the Sonora process-free plates that deliver sustainability benefits that include no chemicals, no water, less energy, less waste, and food-grade certification from the following regulatory agencies: EU Framework Regulation (EC) No 1935/2004; Swiss Ordinance on Materials and Articles in Contact with Food (SR 817.023.21); and the Dutch Commodities Act on food contact materials (Kenmerk 328583-117560-VGP). 

India Insight: Bhalchandra Nikumb. the print solutions sales director (SLS Sales APR) Kodak India

Nikumb: During Covid, we managed to fulfill the demand from our regular customers and sporadic demand from other customers

Ramu Ramanathan (RR): An improved performance for Kodak Sonora plate in India?
Bhalchandra Nikumb (BN): Kodak India has always provided pioneer technology to customers in India, and process-free plates is one of them. Currently, Kodak India is witnessing significant growth as far as Sonora plates are concerned. The customers are aware of this proven technology and accept it across all formats. One in three plates we sell in India are Sonora plates, and we expect the numbers to grow as time progresses.

RR: Which type of firms are adopting Sonora in India?
BN: Customers from all types of print segments have adopted the Sonora plates successfully in India. It includes commercial, offset packaging, newspapers and publishing customers.

RR: CTP trade shops too?
BN: The plate is proven to the extent that we have trade shops which have adopted Sonora plates and are finding it far more convenient and useful than the traditional digital plates. The end customers are happy with the plate performance.

​RR: Four or five years ago, Kodak had launched an online tool to help printers calculate the estimated savings they could make by switching to its Sonora process-free plates. What’s the feedback in India?
BN: This is the most comprehensive tool used by Kodak colleagues and partners to demonstrate the savings of the shift from processed plate to processfree Sonora at a glance. It is a user-friendly ready reckoner which can be customised from customer to customer. Once the customer starts using Sonora plates, they mostly find the savings aligned with those highlighted by the reckoner.

RR: Kodak took “unprecedented steps” to ensure supplies to Indian customers during the Covid months. How so?
BN: It is with pride and being proud we can say that during these unprecedented times, our operations were in full swing to support the customers. During the lockdown, the warehouses were closed for two days. We took all the necessary government approvals to ensure that we continued to supply our products across the country. We ensured that when freight rates were exorbitant, we continued to import the plates from our source factory and maintained sufficient inventory levels. During these times, we fulfilled the demand from our regular customers and sporadic demand from other customers.  


Kodak's achievements – At a glance

Kodak India pioneered the transition from CTF to thermal CTP technology. 

Sold India’s first CTP in the early 2000’s and simultaneously launched thermal digital plates. 

First to sell a thousand CTPs of a single brand in India with an active install base of 1200+ CTP units.

First to sell high-speed Trendsetter W Speed CTP (67 plates per hour of 800 x 1030 mm plate size).

Most of the CTPs sold are bundled with the Kodak Prinergy software, which is also the highest attachment ratio (more than 75% attachment)

Introduced process-free plates to the industry and continue to be leaders as of today.

Introduced high-speed inkjet technology printheads (speeds of up to 900 metres per minute) in India. 

The Prosper press can print large, variable print volumes quickly and economically, helping customers print a book of one. Printheads are capable of printing variable data at high speeds, and can produce printed books.

Printed more than a 300-million+ Aadhar cards issued by the Government of India, using a Kodak press.

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