Kodak to launch Ascend digital packaging

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Kodak will launch into digital packaging next year, with Ascend, a new five-unit print system which comes with 13 different inline embellishment options including inline foiling. It will also print sign and display work.

Five units, 13 embellishments, inline foiling: Kodak Ascend
Five units, 13 embellishments, inline foiling: Kodak Ascend

Ascend will print onto board up to 687gsm, using new Kodachrome dry inks. Kodak says the inks are indirect food contact safe. Target markets include high-end packaging, retail signage and point-of-sale.

The inline embellishments include opaque white, antimicrobial clear, foil, gold and pearlescent dry inks, gambit enhancing violet, orange, light black, gold, dimensional, as well as a red fluorescent ink for security applications. The four process colours can be joined by custom Pantone brand colours.

Inline foiling: Ascend digital packaging, POP, and signage printer
Inline foiling: Ascend digital packaging, POP, and signage printer

Ascend will print a 352mm printing width with 1200mm maximum length, and comes with full nesting functionality on the Prinergy digital front end, to optimise the printing size.

Rob Mollee, sales manager print systems for Kodak in Australia and New Zealand said, “Ascend will give print business owners new market opportunities. Short-run, on demand, multi-embellishing, one pass packaging print will arrive with Ascend."

The technology is multi-bit dry electrophotography with a resolution of 600x600x256dpi. The long sheet size is 356x1,219mm, which Kodak says is a larger printable area than a B2 sheet. 

Ascend will print the equivalent of 3,600 A3 sheets an hour, Kodak says job changeover is eight minutes. Kodak says the output is equivaluent to 572sqm an hour. It will be able to integrate directly (inline) or indirectly (near line) with finishing, including die cutting, laser cutting and UV coating.

It will be released in the US and Europe in Q2 next year, with ANZ to follow.

According to research by industry analysts Smithers short-run packaging printing will be a major growth area over the next few years, as major brands introduce multiple skus and craft brands proliferate.

Coming next year: Kodak Ascend
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