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Last spring, a pension dispute with Kodak workers in the United Kingdom was resolved with the company's imaging and document imaging business being assigned to the pension fund.
We spoke with Laura DiDio, an analyst with industry research firm Information Technology Intelligence Consulting, about Kodak's plans for the future. DiDio confirmed that one of Kodak's biggest remaining assets "is its very well recognized and established brand, which was so well known for so long."
While the Kodak brand was synonymous with film for consumer and professional use, DiDio suggests that the company could still derive enormous value if it can successfully attach the name to its current product and services. After all, she points out, the brand is about 130 years old.
DiDio said that with Kodak's new focus on commercial printing and digital imaging, it is looking to build on its former experience and research into coatings that preserve various material. In the past, the research focused on coatings that would extend the life for rolls of film and prints. Now, that knowledge and experience are being applied for digital imaging, and in the future, it could apply to a potentially wide range of products.
Kodak already has contracts with Kingsbury Corp. and Uni-Pixel to manufacture sheets of touch sensors for consumer devices. It is also developing alternatives for use in the hyper-clean manufacturing environments required for semiconductor production, with advances being made in spatial atomic layer deposition. That type of process involves the precise depositing of thin coatings onto substrates or backings.
Kodak also points to its other leading solutions for today's business customers, which include digital presses that can print a 260-page novel in 2.25 seconds; flexographic systems that make packaging more vibrant and eye-catching for shoppers; continuous manufacturing processes to mass-produce touch screen sensors; devices that image more than 30% of digital plates used for offset printing worldwide; and, printing plates that reduce environmental impact by eliminating use of chemistry and processing.
Even after selling off many of its patents, Kodak says it still has an impressive portfolio of intellectual property with more than 7,500 active commercial imaging patents. The company says these assets will provide the basis for partnerships with other innovators and can help create new markets and disrupt existing markets with new solutions.