A two-part article appearing recently in the Product Development Systems & Solutions (PDSS) newsletter tells the unique story of how the KODAK DIGIMASTER Platform began more than 15 years ago and has continued to evolve and improve through innovation, while at the same time increasing product reliability. In the article, author Skip Crevling, President of PDSS, provides an in-depth look into the evolution of this powerful and proven black-and-white production printing system for applications such as books, transactional print, collateral, guides, manuals, direct mail, and others.
Entitled “A Bright Spot @ Kodak —the Digimaster Story,” the article describes the continuous improvement in technology and reliability over a span of more than 15 years as an accomplishment that takes great discipline and a rigorous commitment to what he refers to as Critical Parameter Development & Management (CPD&M) practices.
“Ordinary engineering methods simply cannot produce these kinds of results,” said Crevling, an industry consultant in Six Sigma and lean manufacturing processes. “You can’t do ‘build-test-fix’ forms of ad hoc development and have much of a chance of obtaining the results seen by Kodak. In fact, reliability ‘law’ states that for each added function the more difficult it becomes to hold the current expected reliability. But Kodak not only held the reliability—they increased it! Trust me, it takes outstanding engineering and system integration to produce this kind of reliability growth. It's a wonderful thing and should give us all confidence to insist on doing things right the first time.”
The DIGIMASTER Platform, which today includes three HD Systems offering speeds of 125, 150, or 300 A4 pages per minute, gives users offset-like image quality along with expanded media choices and sophisticated, inline finishing options. Designed for commercial, in-plant, education, and government customers and prospects with monochrome needs on a reliable workhorse engine, the platform is modular and scalable to meet customer needs as their businesses grow.
“To obtain this kind of product portfolio lifecycle performance, you have to maintain the ability to do this unique kind of systems engineering, project management and robust product design,” added Crevling. “Many of the same people who developed the DIGIMASTER Platform in the mid ’90s have remained on the team that produces this enhanced product today. There is great value in maintaining the people, as well as this specific engineering competence, for a long-term business like this one.”
As testament to the ongoing success of the platform and the strategic development and manufacturing processes put in place from the beginning, Kodak recently fulfilled an order for 40+ systems for one customer in just 90 days, built and shipped within Q4 of 2012.
“What’s amazing to us is that so many of our customers actually increase their page volumes over time as they run these devices and uncover new opportunities,” noted Greg Gresock, Kodak’s Director of Electrophotographic Systems (EPS) Product Marketing. “So often manufacturers see a reduction in volume as machines age, but with the DIGIMASTER Platform, we are seeing the opposite in many cases. It’s just another sign that the technology continues to improve and provide the reliability customers need and expect from us.”
Copies of the PDSS Newsletter can be downloaded from http://archive.constantcontact.com/fs011/1101891327509/archive/1102971442371.html.