The Kodak NEXPRESS ZX press tackles books as well as luxury goods packaging

Kodak’s new NEXPRESS ZX3900 and NEXPRESS ZX3300 Digital Production Color Presses, its NEXPRESS Opaque White Dry Ink and the ‘Max Platform’, the next-generation NEXPRESS Color Platform have been on show at drupa 2016. Now the dust has settled it becomes clear Digital Print Service Providers (PSP) will benefit from Kodak’s electrophotographic NEXPRESS portfolio, whether they’re investing in a new press or upgrading an existing model.

First off, the new press offers new packaging and retail application opportunities as it now supports thicker paper and thicker synthetic substrates, without limiting the range of commercial jobs that can be produced. Especially when servicing upmarket brands — or brands wanting to appeal to more upmarket customers — the new press and its unique capabilities will be the tool of choice.

The NEXPRESS ZX3900 and NEXPRESS ZX3300 Digital Production Color Presses are shipped with System software v16, which provides a robust set of new tools to control image quality and maintain productivity to optimise costs and uptime, including:

  • An Ink Estimating Tool. This estimates CMYK as well as all specialty inks used in a print job.
  • Spot Colour Recipes. With this tool you can create unique colour blends and save them for future use.
  • A new Production Dashboard allows you to monitor the activity, consumables and performance of your NEXPRESS — on a handheld device.
  • Automated Data Export provides periodic data on press production details for integration with external MIS systems.
  • NexPert Operator Support. This is a fully featured operator support and diagnostic system based on HTML5, allowing for fast and responsive operator access with no Java-related security or performance restrictions.
  • Variable Speed Control allows for printing speeds to be set in the job ticket, optimising quality and press performance.

The NEXPRESS ZX Digital Production Color Presses also include new capabilities to expand the range of print applications, such as NEXPRESS Opaque White Dry Ink and the NEXPRESS Substrate Expansion Kit.

NEXPRESS Opaque White Dry Ink complements the already available nine specialty inks. It delivers superior opacity in a single pass (other devices often need multiple). Opaque White Dry Ink is especially useful with applications such as packaging, signage, labels and invitations. It increases productivity and enhances quality with short runs. It has a 20+ percent higher opacity in a single pass compared to multiple passes on competitive presses.

Additionally, the DFE has a feature whereby the Auto White Blend option gives a colour-matched perception of white ink being applied under the CMYK inks on coloured papers, even though the white dry ink is applied in the Fifth Station (see below).

The NEXPRESS Substrate Expansion Kit supports specific heavy paperboard stocks of up to 24pts/610 microns and select heavy weight synthetic stocks of up to 14mils. Other new capabilities include compatibility with more than 800 substrates and support for sheet lengths of up to 1219 mm.

90% of press maintenance on the NEXPRESS ZX Platform can be performed by the operator. It uses easy to replace Operator Replaceable Components and the NexPert operator support system.

Operator Replaceable Components (ORCs) are recyclable components that can be rotated for extended life. Customer operators (not service engineers) make replacement decisions. The NEXPRESS ZX Platform’s HD Dry inks contain no VOCs. This means there is no need for masks and suits when cleaning up.

NEXPRESS ZX presses also come with an Environmental Control System, a built-in system that maintains temperature and moisture automatically. This means the press can run in any environment inside a print shop.

The fifth imaging unit

Every NEXPRESS ZX press ships with five imaging units, configured with the Light Black Solution in the fifth Station. Light Black works on the same principle as it does with professional photo printers: it improves the greyscale levels. But that’s not all you can do with a “Fifth Imaging Unit”.


Current Fifth Imaging Unit solutions include:

  • Gold Dry Ink for a wide range of gold and colour metallic effects.
  • Dimensional printing for a tactile, 3D effect. The Kodak NexPress Intelligent Dimensional Solution gives specified text and images a raised effect. Dimensional Coating takes place inline, maintaining press productivity.
  • Intelligent Color red, green or blue dry ink for gamut expansion. The Kodak NexPress Intelligent Color Solution enables professional printers to match more Pantone or custom colours and reproduce wider-gamut images.
  • Intelligent Coating for a satin protective coat, watermarking, flood or spot glossing.
  • Red Fluorescing Dry Ink. This ink is clear when printed on top of images and graphics, and is virtually invisible. When it is illuminated with an ultraviolet light source, it fluoresces a red colour. Red Fluorescing Dry Ink is ideal wherever visible barcodes are used for workflow automation, mailing systems and MIS connectivity, including on-demand books, photo books, QR and 2D barcodes, and security applications that are hard to duplicate with normal photocopiers or inkjet printers.
  • MICR Ink for printing 4-colour bank checks.

Setting up the press for the Fifth Imaging Unit can be completed in about five minutes.

Kodak’s ‘Max Platform’

Kodak now also has what it claims to be the most versatile digital press platform in the market. The ‘Max Platform’ is the next-generation NEXPRESS Color Platform built with KODAK NEXPRESS Dynamic Imaging Technology. It features a new multi-bit LED writing system, supporting the widest range of applications, including transactional, direct mail, packaging, commercial print and photo books.

Key features include:

  • A new high resolution multi-bit LED writing system . Computed at 12 bits of data and delivering eight bits of data to each of the imaging cylinders, the writing system delivers excellent, consistent quality using closed loop process control that maximises uptime and lowers running costs. This new writing system delivers the industry’s highest information density at nearly 300 million pieces of image information per square centimetre using a data rate similar to watching 3700 HD movies simultaneously.
  • NEXPRESS Dynamic Imaging Technology, a comprehensive system that ensures smooth flat fields and excellent image detail in printed output.
  • Object-based image optimisation function that intermixes screens within a page to optimise image quality.
  • Colour sequence flexibility that allows for dry inks to be printed in any order or combination as needed for print job requirements.
  • Grayscale halftones up to 310 lines per inch. The system includes legacy imaging modes to match other devices’ halftone quality for maximum versatility across a range of applications.
  • Inline dual spectrophotometers for real time automatic colour adjustments to ensure excellent, consistent image quality. Fast calibrations ensure more uptime and improve operator productivity.
  • Speed range flexibility of 70 to 152 ppm to match specific application and performance requirements.
  • Expanded sheet sizes from 254 x 200mm up to 1219mm x 356mm, weighing from 59-530 gsm, up to 610 microns (24 pts.) in caliper.

Kodak publishes a nice sample book called “Be Inspired”. To obtain a copy of this, you can register here: