1. The FLEXCEL NX system is one of Kodak’s fastest growing product lines.
Its success has established Kodak as an innovation leader in flexographic printing plate technology.
2. Flexography (flexo for short) is the dominant print process used to print images onto consumer product packaging.
Packaging includes items such as labels, bags, pouches, cartons, corrugated boxes and metal cans. Flexo is used in about 40% of all printed packaging. Other print processes used in package printing include offset, gravure, letterpress and digital printing.
3. Kodak sells a complete solution – Imaging equipment and printing plates.
Customers make an initial investment in FLEXCEL NX imaging equipment and then produce finished FLEXCEL NX Plates for individual print jobs. The imaging equipment and plates are designed to work together to enable optimum print performance.
4. The package printing market is growing every year and Kodak’s FLEXCEL NX Plate business is growing even faster.
Since market introduction in 2008 the FLEXCEL NX Plate business has grown by double digits every year. In 2017 it grew by 17% compared to the previous year. The package printing market is growing by about 4-5% per year according to Smithers Pira.
5. FLEXCEL NX Plates are used by printers to print packaging for some of the world’s leading consumer product companies.
With well over 500 Flexcel NX Systems installed – and a strong presence in every region of the world – it’s safe to say that the packaging for many of the products you purchase every day in your local supermarket will have been printed using Kodak’s FLEXCEL NX Plates.
6. Kodak’s FLEXCEL NX technology has driven a step-change in the capabilities of flexo printing, both in quality and efficiency.
FLEXCEL NX has helped make flexo an attractive option for a wider range of packaging print buyers needs. In the flexible packaging segment (eg. bags, pouches, wrappers) many Kodak customers are using FLEXCEL NX to help brands move print production from gravure to flexo. As a result they are maintaining or improving their quality and reducing their production costs.
7. Kodak uses unique proprietary film technology to maintain our competitive edge.
With the FLEXCEL NX System Kodak pioneered the use of ‘digital flat top dots’ and ‘micro plate surface patterning’ to improve print quality, consistency and efficiency. Competitors have tried to follow suit but our true differentiation lies with the unique high resolution thermal imaging film (FLEXCEL NX Thermal Imaging Layer) we use in our plate imaging process.
8. Driven by the demand for FLEXCEL NX Plates, Kodak is investing $15 million to build a plate manufacturing line in Weatherford, Oklahoma.
It’s one of the company’s largest capital investments since 2000 and will be a sister operation to Kodak’s existing flexo plate manufacturing facility in Yamanashi, Japan. Weatherford also manufactures the unique high-resolution film (FLEXCEL NX Thermal Imaging Layer) that sets Kodak apart from the competition.
9. Kodak opened flexo packaging technology centers (Flexo HUBs) in Brussels and Shanghai last year.
The new facilities showcase Kodak’s latest technologies for the flexo printing industry and serve as places where flexo experts can collaborate to push the boundaries of package printing.
10. Fun fact: FLEXCEL NX Plates are YELLOW – of course!
They are easy to spot in a press room amongst the other plates offered by competitors and it’s great to know that customers (printers and trade shops), their clients (the brand owners) and other suppliers to the flexo printing industry (press manufacturers, ink suppliers etc..) regularly ask for ‘those yellow Kodak plates’ when they want the best out of their flexo printing.