Kodak's 1,000th CTP kit on the Indian subcontinent

Aultrin Vijay of PrintWeek India shares 51 questions with Bhalchandra Nikumb of Kodak India to understand how the company achieved this milestone and the secret behind their success

25 Dec 2019 | By Aultrin Vijay

Bhalchandra Nikumb, managing director of Kodak India

Aultrin Vijay (AV): Kudos. Thousand CTP systems. How does it feel?
Bhalchandra Nikumb (BN): We are extremely proud of this milestone.

AV: Who is the 1,000th customer?
BN: The 1,000th CTP was sold to Modern Printers, Ahmedabad, through Insight. The 1,001st was sold to Kala Jyothi through Monotech.

AV: How many years to notch this number?
BN: 17 years.

AV: When and where was the first CTP system installed?
It was sold in 2002 to Pragati in Hyderabad.

AV: Best tip you received from a Kodak tech engineer?
BN: “Kodak CTPs don’t require any recurring maintenance costs”.

AV: Possible to share the manufacturing centres of CTP Trendsetter?
BN: Kodak has its own manufacturing setup based out of China. The CTP units are assembled at this facility with maximum components outsourced from different locations across the world. For example, the head is sourced from Canada, and some critical components are sourced from Israel.

AV: What advice would you give someone who is opting for a CTP system in 2019?
BN: Go for the most reliable, durable, proven, and trusted technology of Kodak CTP.

AV: Would you suggest different systems or different technologies?
BN: The Kodak CTPs deliver exceptional performance with all applications such as commercial, trade shops, offset packaging, newspaper and security. There are different options available for each
set of segments. The popularity helps it being a go-to brand in the market.

AV: Any lessons from your wealth of knowledge in commercial book print, which the packaging division could plug in, straightway? For example, Kodak has unveiled an ink and plate usage analytics service for its Prinergy Cloud system!
BN: Process-free plates, Sonora, which can be used to reduce environmental impact and save costs.

AV: Possible to share the manufacturing centres of Sonora?
BN: All plate manufacturing facilities are equipped to manufacture Sonora.

AV: One innovation/mantra you heard from a customer that impressed you?
BN: Customer returning the running or operational processor after successfully using Sonora plates on our CTP.

AV: How many years did they run it?
BN: The customer has been using process-free plates for more than four years now. Before using Sonora, the customer was using processed plates for two years.

AV: What are the things that Kodak in India will be focussing on in the next five years?
BN: CTP, Sonora, Prinergy Software, NexPress, and Inkjet heads.

AV: There have been three phases in CTP in India. CTP vs PS, thermal vs violet, and now thermal-violet vs UVCTCP. How did Kodak prepare for these three scenarios and why?
BN: Kodak is a pioneer in thermal technology and is consistently promoting only thermal over the years. We believe in thermal.

AV: One insider tip about Sonora that no one knows?
BN: If you want to save costs and simultaneously enhance the quality, use it yourself.

AV: Sonora plates have been used on different technologies – LED UV litho, conventional litho and coldset web. The toughest technology according to you?
BN: Sonora plates performs well on all the technologies.

AV: Volumes for Sonora process-free plates have jumped by?
BN: Volumes have grown by more than 50% year-on-year in India.

AV: Is daylight resistance of processless plates still a major mental hurdle for customers? Possible to explain a bit; since many printers have this misconception?
BN: Not at all! Today some of the trade shops are using Sonora plates to cater to their end customers.

AV: What is so special about Sonora X?
BN: The latest generation plate, Sonora X, has better image contrast than the earlier generation of Sonora plates.

AV: How do you cope with quality expectations and the constant delivery pressure from your clients?
BN: Kodak plates never had batch to batch variation in the market due to stringent quality control at factory. Kodak India keeps sufficient inventory of variety of sizes of plates to manage demand.

AV: What sort of systems does Kodak have in place to improve plate-ink combinations?
BN: Our plates are compatible with most of the inks available in the market.

AV: Kodak launched its Print for Good programme in 2016 at Drupa. What is the update in India? Possible to share 1-2 highlights from this programme?
BN: It’s ongoing. This global initiative supports communities with notebook donations in an effort to increase literacy through print. In India, we work with NGOs to supply notebooks to the children in rural areas. The notebooks are printed using Sonora process-free plates.

AV: How can one avoid harsh pressroom chemicals that are used in the Indian market?
BN: Educate the customer. During plate calibration, our technical team educates the customers with product presentations and shopfloor training for best practises.

AV: This is the day and age of green. Define green.
BN: Eliminate hazardous chemistry from the process, save water, and save electricity.

AV: Describe the new NexPress?
BN: The new NexPress is called Nexfinity. It comes with 1,200 dpi writing heads and is suitable for higher print volume with offset-like quality.

AV: In Europe, we saw a Prosper 6000S four-colour press and inline die-cutting to produce short runs of folding cartons at up to 200m/min. Why has this message not percolated in India?
BN: We are working on a case to case basis.

AV: We find most digital companies have an offset outlook; what is the best way to de-programme the litho mindset?
BN: We believe that digital and offset will co-exist at least for the foreseeable future.

AV: What is tougher? Colour consistency or registration?
BN: In case of NexPress, colour consistency and registration is our USP.

AV: Kodak quotes up to 5,00,000 impressions for web presses; 3,50,000 for sheetfed and up to 1,50,000 for UV applications.
BN: In India we have seen impressions upto 5,25,000 on heatset web, 2,00,000 on coldset web, and 1,25,000 for conventional and UV applications using Sonora.

AV: Which special talent does the Kodak team in India have?
BN: Young, qualified, enthusiastic.

AV: You told us once: A company not innovating, is a company not future proof. How do you propose to be future proof?
BN: Kodak is a leader in innovation.

AV: What does innovation mean for Nikumb?
BN: Bringing innovative technologies to Indian market along with the global trends.

AV: One award-winning print job that stunned you?
BN:The lenticular job that won the award at Drupa using Kodak pre-press technology.

AV: The update on the Kodak global journey in 2019? Especially for growth areas of Sonora plates, enterprise inkjet, workflow software, and brand licensing, aiming to maximise value in commercial printing, film and advanced materials?
BN: The company is continuously working towards growth in the aforementioned areas.

AV: Finally, what is your message for the Indian print industry?
BN: Long live print. Use green technologies.


What more in CTP? Or has the technology plateaued?

A CTP system without processor is the new development.

External drum design vs internal drum design?
Ours is an external drum design.

Best way to store plates?
Store it in a dry and cool room without exposure to sunlight.

Chem-free vs process-free?
Of course, only process-free!

Have you been bothered by UV and low-power curing UV?
No. Sonora works very well in UV.

Longest run length on a plate in India?
525K on heatset web offset printing press on newsglaze; 120K using UV inks.

Best part of Prinergy, today?
Cloud option is available.

Share one example of colour power with NexPress.
NexPress is licensed to print Pantone colours.

The impact of aluminium on plate manufacturing?

Can one predict with any accuracy or clarity where plate development trends are heading?
Plate development without chemistry.

When will premium digital print take off?
It is slowly catching up year-on-year.

Inkjet or not to inkjet?

Updates on Prosper and Versamark?
Working on Ultrastream technology.

For the last year or so, Kodak has been using ‘Taking Print Further’ as a campaign to market and describe its products and solutions. What does it mean?
Print is relevant in this e-world.

Average digital print runs?
200 or 2,000 or 20,000? 200-300 for cut sheet digital.

Has Kodak completed the sale of its flexo business to Montagu Private Equity?