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 user 2009-08-11 at 12:29:24 pm Views: 126
  • #22678

    Boom in Kodak’s All-in-One printers keeps ink flowing
    Kodak Co. expects to ship more than a million of its All-in-One
    printers this year, roughly doubling the number of its inkjet printers
    found on desktops around the globe.With those, Kodak will hope to sell
    millions more of its ink cartridges — each one filled with ink made in
    a pair of squat, beige industrial buildings inside the Rochester-based
    photo and imaging company’s Eastman Business Park.

    launched its All-in-One printers in 2007. Since the beginning, its
    sales pitch has revolved around that locally made ink, with Kodak’s
    pigment-based ink often being less expensive than competitors’, meaning
    cheaper costs per page when printing.The idea has gained some traction;
    through the end of 2008, the company had sold 1.5 million printers,
    which retail for $130 to $300.”Kodak’s inkjet businesses are the future
    of the corporation,” said William Napoli, director of Kodak’s imaging
    chemicals operation. “This is a priority for the organization.”In a
    presentation early this year before a number of Wall Street analysts,
    Kodak CEO Antonio M. Perez said the commercial and consumer inkjet
    businesses were an area receiving the bulk of the company’s investments.

    printout from an All-in-One starts in Eastman Business Park’s buildings
    103 and 112, where the company formulates and mixes the ink from a
    tightly guarded recipe. In a room the size of a large restaurant
    kitchen, chemical operator Chris Coon stood last week in front of an
    automated mixer attached to two long rows of barrels, each holding a
    liquid ingredient to the toner.

    Most of the work is done by a
    computer measuring and pumping the right amounts for the 190-kilogram
    batch of black, while Coon poured a small amount of additional
    ingredient by hand. After 30 minutes of mixing, that ink gets filtered
    into another barrel to be shipped out while the ingredient pouring
    starts for the next batch of black, cyan, magenta or yellow.Kodak uses
    the same facility and process, though somewhat different ingredients,
    for making ink for the Prosper commercial inkjet system that it is in
    the midst of rolling out.The All-in-One ink is a mix of highly purified
    water, polymers, pigments and a variety of other ingredients that Kodak
    buys externally or produces internally, with the company keeping a
    tight lid on the specifics of the ingredients.

    Even if
    competitors reverse-engineer the ink to find the ingredients, said
    Kenneth Kraft, Kodak’s inks business and technical manager, the
    manufacturing process grew out of specialized small-particle technology
    that Kodak developed in its film and photo paper business.”The more
    difficult part comes in the process — ‘how’d you get there?’” Kraft
    said.As demand for its All-in-One ink cartridges has grown, Kodak has
    expanded the single-shift manufacturing of that ink to longer workdays
    and some weekends, Kraft said.

    Once mixed, the All-in-One ink is
    shipped to China, where it is put into cartridges.As volumes grow,
    Kodak might set up additional mixing sites closer to customer bases
    overseas, cutting down on what it has to ship, Kraft said. But Kodak
    will continue to make the proprietary ingredients at Eastman Business
    Park, he said.