14 facts you should know about Flexcel

1. Kodak introduced the Flexcel Nx System ten years ago at Drupa 2008, marking the start of a significant step forward in flexography by bringing higher standards of efficiency, consistency and quality to flexo printing. Kodak was a new entrant to the flexo plate market.

19 Feb 2019 | By PrintWeek India

2. Kodak pioneered the digital flat top dot that is now accepted industry-wide as essential for high performing flexo plates. Kodak’s patented Thermal Imaging Layer and proprietary Flexcel Nx platemaking process remain the only solution on the market that can deliver a true 1:1 reproduction of the digital file to the press ready plate.

3. In October 2009, Kodak introduced Digicap Nx screening. This digital solution applies a micro-fine highly structured texturisation pattern to the printing surface of Flexcel Nx plates which significantly improves the ink transfer to the substrate. This is said to have marked the beginning of a new era for plate surface patterning and catalysed the onset of commercial gravure to flexo conversions.

4. In 2010 Kodak’s Flexcel Nx customers ignited the trend for fixed colour palette printing. The consistency, predictability and wider colour gamut achievable with Flexcel Nx Plates opened doors for spot colour replacement, ‘doing more with four’, ECG printing and efficient and achievable printing in lanes.

5. Just two years after the launch, Kodak had already installed 100 Flexcel Nx systems worldwide and by 2013 – five years after the initial launch – there were 300 Flexcel Nx systems in operation at customers in more than 50 countries.

6. In April 2013, Kodak launched a global certification programme for Flexcel Nx system users. The certification mark confirms that FLEXCEL NX Plates are made according to a global quality standard defined by Kodak.

7. By 2014, Kodak had expanded the portfolio to include a full range of Flexcel Nx systems to make plates up to 50 x 80 inches. The Flexcel Nx​c plate and the large-format Flexcel Nx Wide 5080 System for plates up to 50 x 80 inches (1270 x 2013 mm) in size were introduced at the same time.

8. In 2015, Kodak introduced ground-breaking Nx Advantage technology. Taking plate surface patterning to a whole new level. Enabling a single plate type to be optimised through imaging to perform at the ‘sweet spot’ for ink transfer according to application and introducing Advanced Edge Definition to control ink flow at the edge of every single print element on the printing plate. Outstanding print contrast was now possible for flexo.

9. The sale of the 500th Flexcel Nx system was celebrated at Drupa 2016. This was a significant milestone in Kodak’s efforts to establish its flexographic plate technology throughout the globe. There are Flexcel Nx systems in more than 70 countries around the world.

10. Driven by steadily growing demand for Flexcel Nx plates, in April 2017 Kodak announced a USD 15 million investment to build a plate manufacturing line in Weatherford, Oklahoma. The new line which is a sister operation to Kodak’s flexo plate manufacturing facility in Yamanashi, Japan, will be in full production by early 2019.

11. In 2017 Kodak opened flexo packaging technology centres (flexo hubs) in Brussels and Shanghai. These facilities showcase Kodak’s innovative technologies and serve as places where flexo experts can collaborate to push the boundaries of packaging printing.

12. Flexcel Nx Plate volumes are growing at four times the market rate. According to Smithers Pira the flexographic packaging market is projected to grow by 4% each year between 2017 and 2022. Flexcel Nx is currently growing at four times that projected market growth rate. In 2016 and 2017 Flexcel Nx plate volume grew by 16% and 17% respectively compared to prior years. 

13. Kodak celebrates the 10th anniversary of the multiple award-winning FLEXCEL NX System in 2018. To mark a decade of success and the transformation of flexo by this technology, Kodak offers a “Limited Edition” of the Flexcel Ny System (just 25 units worldwide) and has launched the innovative Global Flexo Innovation Awards contest (www.transformationalflexo.com).

14. The “Transformation of Flexo” enters a new phase: in September 2018, Kodak announced the game-changing Flexcel Nx Ultra Solution. The new, integrated solution with solvent-free, VOC-free, water-based processing can deliver a press-ready plate in less than an hour. FLEXCEL NX Ultra is the first aqueous solution that provides consistent, high-performing plates in a high volume, low maintenance environment.