Kodak Polychrome Graphics (KPG) will exhibit at Booth 4406. With 8,500 square feet of space, this will be their largest booth ever at Graph Expo. It is the first chance for North America to see KPG’s expanded portfolio of products in one place.
KPG says that customers will find the digital and conventional products and business services they need to ensure high-quality reproduction and accurate color at every stage of their workflow, including Matchprint analog, digital halftone and inkjet proofing, the Kodak Approval XP digital halftone color proofing system, digital printing products, SWORD thermal printing plates, Thermal Gold printing plates, and Kodak Premier hard dot film.
At Graph Expo, KPG will formally enter the digital waterless plate market with two new thermal digital waterless products, Scorpion X54 and Scorpion X54 Plus. The company will also show a technology demonstration of a write-the-image, switchable polymer, no-process thermal computer-to-plate (CtP) product that eliminates the need for pre- and post-baking.
WTT: Andrew, KPG is a different company today than last year at this time. What is KPG’s message to customers and prospects this year?
Andrew Copley: Answering customers’ questions about "How Can We Help You?" is the entire focus of what we’re doing at the show. As always, we will feature the quality digital and conventional plates, proofing and color technologies, and film that printers have come to expect from KPG. But our number one product at Graph Expo is partnership. KPG’s approach is to listen to a customer’s priorities and concerns, then work closely with them to improve performance and profitability in these challenging times.
One example is Horton and Horton, a commercial sheetfed printer in Arkansas. They’ve seen their business grow 15 to 20 percent since switching to CtP. We’ve put their story on our web site. (You can see it by visiting this link.)
WTT: On a couple of business issues, tell us about how KPG has been able to incorporate Imation’s products and knowledge into the company.
Andrew Copley: We’re very pleased with how the integration of both companies has gone. Both of these businesses are delivering real value to our customers.
As visitors to Graph Expo will see, the products we acquired through our acquisition of Imation’s Color Technologies businesses are now fully a part of the KPG portfolio. The promise that we saw in the products we acquired is being realized. One example is a brand new version of the Matchprint Professional Server, a color front end for the Xerox DocuColor 12 that won an InterTech Award in 2001. In September, we announced an agreement under which Canon will offer the Matchprint Professional Server Version 3.0 for use with its CLC 1140 and 1180 color laser copiers/printers. That’s a good sign for the acceptance of our products in digital printing and proofing.
WTT: Can you also update us on the TSI business which KPG recently acquired?
Andrew Copley: As for TSI, Tech Services International, I’m very pleased with how this business has expanded our ability to provide technical service and support to customers We successfully transferred the equipment supply chain activities from KPG and the Color Technologies businesses into TSI. We know that printers are looking for partners who can solve the problems they face every day in their business, and TSI is another way we’re accomplishing that.
WTT: Recently the company broke ground on a printing plate manufacturing facility in China. How important is the non-U.S. market to KPG and, in particular, the Chinese market?
Andrew Copley: The United States and Canada represent one of five KPG regions, so, clearly, the rest of the world is very significant to our business. Of course, each of these regions, Europe, Latin America, Asia Pacific and Japan, is unique and we approach each one differently.
In the Asia Pacific, we believe there is tremendous opportunity in China now and in the future, so we are building a state-of-the-art printing plate manufacturing facility and operations center in Tianjin, a growing business center outside of Beijing. Building a manufacturing capability in China expands KPG’s ability to service customers and to customize products for the unique needs of this major emerging market. The printing industry in China is embracing new technologies. As a major manufacturer, KPG wants to service those needs.
WTT: KPG and RealTimeImage, Inc. are working on a virtual proofing system. How is that project coming along and when might customers expect to be able to use the system?
Andrew Copley: We currently have the Matchprint Virtual Proofing System running in a number of successful beta test sites. KPG’s Matchprint Virtual Proofing System creates a whole new category for color-critical proofing in the graphic arts industry. Using newly created color science and specialized color transformations, the Matchprint Virtual Proofing System enables accurate, consistent viewing of CMYK color reproduction via RGB displays.
The system consists of high-end, customized CRT monitors, proprietary color management technologies and a suite of web-based image viewing and collaboration tools from RealTime Image. A rigorous, instrumented color calibration process ensures consistent and accurate color from monitor to monitor. With the Matchprint Virtual Proofing System, KPG solidifies its position as the vendor best able to supply the color consistency and color management needs of customers for the widest variety of applications.
With the Matchprint Virtual Proofing System, color proofs can be transported, viewed and approved or electronically marked and returned for corrections within minutes. There is no need for color reference books to support the system; the user can have complete confidence in the accuracy of the color shown on screen. We’ll be showing the Matchprint Virtual system in private demonstrations at Graph Expo.
WTT: Most printers are experiencing flat demand in 2002 at best with economists forecasting better days in 2003. What advice do you have for printers in this environment?
Andrew Copley: In this kind of environment, I believe it is critical to objectively look at your business, and determine what the business needs to grow and maintain sustained profitability. Then utilize all the resources at your disposal to create and execute the strategies that will deliver that sustained profitability. For some printers improved efficiency in their operations might be possible. That can deliver greater profit now and really position you for success no matter the market conditions. Consult with your vendors to find out what works with your application and workflows. If you decide to make a major switch in how you produce your end product, look at all of the ramifications. It can’t be done overnight, so take it one step at a time. The important thing is to team up with your employees and business partners and find a way to move forward.
Thank you Andrew.