Print Perspectives

KODAK Plates "made in Germany" improve reliability and sustainability for printers

October 12, 2023

Kodak Osterode plant

Kodak Osterode plant

Printers in Europe have many different options for sourcing the offset printing plates they need to maintain reliable, high-quality print production. Recent supply chain issues and geopolitical developments, along with the increasing focus on sustainability, have created challenges for printers seeking a reliable supply of plates from suppliers focused on minimizing their carbon footprint. In light of these challenges, KODAK SONORA XTRA Process Free Plates, manufactured at Kodak's Osterode facility in the heart of Germany, are a smart choice for any printer.

Kodak has a long history of manufacturing high-quality and technologically advanced printing plates to exacting standards in Germany where products are renowned for their precision, reliability, and long-term value. The Kodak plate manufacturing plant in Osterode, which has been making offset plates since 1962, underscores the company's commitment to greener, local production of consumables. After all, Germany boasts some of the strictest environmental regulations anywhere in the world and the most extensive availability of clean energy sources.

By manufacturing high-quality plates in Osterode, Kodak can offer customers reliable supplies – not only in Germany and neighboring countries, but throughout Europe. The central location on the continent and the well-established, close-knit supply chain and logistics infrastructure in the country ensure that KODAK printing plates can be shipped quickly and efficiently in all required formats and quantities so that customers throughout Europe are supplied on time.

In contrast, the purchase of plates shipped from certain Asian countries may be impacted by extended shipping times, potential delays at customs and other uncertainties, which may thwart timely delivery of consumables to printers.

Local manufacturing + process-free = compelling sustainability benefits

The procurement of plates from local manufacturing reduces the carbon footprint due to the significantly shorter and more efficient transport routes. In addition, in the case of SONORA XTRA Process Free Plates, the product itself is significantly more sustainable and has a more favorable ecological footprint compared to traditional wet processed plates.

The switch from processed plates to SONORA XTRA Plates eliminates electricity, water, developer, replenisher and gumming solution, and clean-out finisher required for traditional plate processing. Since there isn't any chemistry used, and no plate processor in need of cleaning and maintenance, there are no waste chemicals or contaminated residual liquids to be disposed of. Furthermore, printers benefit from more consistent and stable plates that enable more reliable press make-readies and no downtime and paper waste due to plate processing defects. Logically, this also means that SONORA Plate users can streamline their platemaking operations enormously, get to press much faster, and reduce job turnaround times.

All of this can make a huge difference in terms of carbon footprint. For example, Kodak estimates a large printing operation can cut its CO2 footprint by 376,550 kg per year by transitioning from traditional plates sourced from China to SONORA XTRA Process Free Plates – a 46% CO2 saving! The table below shows some more typical examples.

Plates from the local market for the local market

Sven Freyer, VP Print Manufacturing and Managing Director Kodak Graphic Communications Germany, answers a few questions regarding the production of SONORA XTRA Plates at Kodak's plant in Osterode and their delivery to customers.

What processes or measures have you implemented to make plate production more resource and environmentally friendly?
We have implemented a wealth of measures and programs to make plate manufacturing more sustainable without affecting product quality or performance. For example, we operate an ISO 14001:2015 (PDF) environmental management system and an ISO 50001:2018 (PDF) energy management system with a very successful program for continuous power consumption reduction. In doing so, we pursue ambitious strategic and operational goals, which are regularly reviewed by independent certification bodies.

We source our raw materials primarily from local suppliers in Germany and Europe, who in turn comply with European environmental and energy efficiency standards. Local procurement also ensures short transport routes and thus lower carbon emissions.

In our manufacturing processes, we recycle all our chemicals several times to minimize consumption and avoid unnecessary waste. Furthermore, we have implemented a very high level of automation, not only in production but also in packaging and shipping, causing fewer defects and hence less waste. In addition, continuous investment in our manufacturing facilities helps us to exceed requirements in terms of recycling, wastewater treatment, reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, etc.

Sven Freyer Kodak

Sven Freyer, VP Print Manufacturing, Eastman Kodak Company

What are you doing to ensure a reliable, efficient and as eco-friendly as possible supply of printing plates to print shops in Europe?
To maintain a high level of supply security, we keep our entire procurement chain on the European continent and source all raw materials from local suppliers. Through continuous monitoring and risk assessment of the complete supply chain, we ensure that our partners work to the same high standards as we do. This approach ensures a smooth supply of high-quality KODAK plates to European printers.

Our customers are supplied from central warehouses, with processes optimized by systematic warehouse management and efficient order and route planning. This means that we have relatively short distances and the lowest possible number of transportation processes, not only in raw materials procurement but also in the delivery to our plate customers, which improves the eco-friendliness of delivery.

Kodak Magnus platesetter

KODAK MAGNUS Platesetter and process free plate

What other advantages do printers have when they rely on SONORA XTRA Plates manufactured in the middle of the European market?
They get all the application, quality and sustainability benefits of the most advanced process free plate combined with the advantages of buying from a local manufacturer. However, plate manufacturing in Europe for European printers is not the only important factor. In addition to the excellent supply security, we are also very familiar with the challenges and regulatory requirements of the European market. Printers can therefore rely on us to be able to quickly address the changing requirements of this demanding and dynamic market environment.

Due to the proximity between our Osterode plant and the users of our plates, we can also meet special customer requirements concerning formats and configurations quickly and easily. Last but not least, we provide KODAK Plate users with responsive technical support from our highly skilled plate experts when needed.

An obvious choice

All things considered, one thing becomes clear: By opting for KODAK SONORA XTRA Plates produced in Germany, printers are making a very wise choice. They use the most technologically advanced process-free plate, manufactured to the highest environmental standards. In addition, they can be assured of reliable supply and receive a high-quality plate product with unmatched sustainability benefits in daily use.

Annual GHG Emissions Comparison Chart

Description Low Volume User Medium Volume User High Volume User
Sonora Germany Source Traditional China Source Sonora Germany Source Traditional China Source Sonora Germany Source Traditional China Source
Plates 32,000 44,800 224,000 313,600 800,000 1,120,000
Plates Transportation 412 1,046 2,885 7,325 10,305 26,161
Processing Chemicals 767 5,366 19,166
Processing Chemical Transportation 173 1,207 12,916
Processor Manufacturing, Transportation, Maint. 215 303 605
Processor Used Electricity at Printer Site 2,121 2,802 5,856
HVAC for Processing Area at Printer Site 270 317 603
Water & Wastewater Treatment at Printer Site 62 433 1,548
Total GHG Emission: CO2eq (kg/year) 32,412 49,454 226,885 331,353 810,305 1,186,855
CO2eq Savings (kg/year) 17,042 53% 104,468 46% 376,550 46%