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Milestone in Dry Toner Uniformity

by Henry Freedman


Kodak NexPress ICS improves print quality and reduces toner usage and component wear. Users begin by scanning in test sheets.

Kodak NexPress ICS improves print quality and reduces toner usage and component wear. Users begin by scanning in test sheets.

Kodak intelligent Calibration extends component life while improving productivity.

How do you make dry toner perform as well as an offset ink? Offset process advocates have running joke about digital printing having excessive streaking, banding and uneven solids. Looking back over this past year several technologies stood out as significant. One of my favorites is the Kodak Intelligent Calibration System or ICS for the NexPress dry toner press. Kodak’s imaging scientists help the company maintain its lead by applying electrophotographic printing control technology retroactively to existing NexPress installations. This extends press components production lifetime while improving image quality at the same time.

Kodak imaging scientists are creating new ways to better manage toner in production volume color sheetfed printing, mastering uniform solids and inking to the point it can exceed offset quality. The ICS was developed by gifted and talented scientists and engineers at Kodak in Rochester, NY. An amazing side benefit of ICS is that NexPress printing can now be produced using 20% less consumables, for significant customer cost savings. This is a big news item ! You can have speed, quality and cost reduction all at the same time.

Printed image problems for our discussion an be broken down into periodic issues—streaking is one example. The ICS can recognize the one dimensionalartifacts at the root of streaking and most often eliminate these if they are addressable by the image writing system in the press. The ICS also removes banding and can be used to optimize imagery with a new Kodak NexPress ink now entering the market. The ICS brings the pressman a better level of image uniformity; samples done this way look gorgeous.


How ICS Works

Using an external scanner, the press operator simply prints a 4-page test file that is fed into the Kodak CCD based auto sheetfed i1220 ICS scanner placed near the press control console. Within five minutes the test sheets are fed and the Kodak NexPress ICS scanner analyzes them, resets and adjusts the NexPress LED exposure array writing images to the press photoreceptor drum in the NexPress. Next the press operator sees good press sheets being delivered from the back of the press. The ICS gives the press electronics a way to look in a mirror to see itself so the ICS can touch up the press sheet appearance.

Kodak beta tested ICS on more than 90 presses worldwide and found that the Intelligent Calibration System (ICS) significantly increased Operator Replaceable Component (ORC) life for the four major ORCs in the press that affect uptime, quality, and cost. (Users generally reported, “We love this thing.”) The average increase in life for these components was 20%. For customers printing 1,000,000 11×17″ pages per month (one side), the average savings from using ICS would be $4,000 per month. (Pricing programs vary. Actual savings can be more or less.) These savings do not include labor cost savings and the ability to generate more pages through productivity increases. Kodak ICS is impressive.


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