Ex-Kodak supplier Collins launches Prosper inks and Versamark upgrade program

Collins Ink has continued to target Kodak’s inkjet revenues with the launch of a number of new products and services for printers equipped with both the legacy Versamark and new Prosper inkjet printheads, as the legal wrangle between the two companies rumbles on.

The former Versamark OEM ink supplier, which spectacularly fell out with Kodak after the latter’s Chapter 11 filing left it with $1.9m of unsecured debt, has become something of a bête noir for Kodak in recent years.

Kodak's insolvency was particularly galling for Collins as it had tried to break ties with the Rochester-based print giant in October 2011, three months prior to the Chapter 11 filing, citing its client’s shaky finances.

Kodak took Collins to court to force it to adhere to the six-month notice period stipulated in the contract and three months later it entered bankruptcy protection.

Collins ultimately terminated the OEM ink supply deal in May 2012 and went into direct competition with Kodak, prompting Kodak to apply a surcharge on printhead refurbishments for anyone not using its own brand inks (in spite of the fact that its own inks had previously been manufactured by Collins).

Collins response was to launch its own printhead refurbishment business and take Kodak to court, where it gained an injunction to prevent Kodak from applying its two-tier pricing for printhead refurbishment.

This week Collins issued an update on the court proceedings, as well as its refurbishment, parts and support program for Kodak Versamark printers, which revealed that the consumables company has started to offer its own brand inks for Kodak Prosper printheads.

Meanwhile, Collins' Versamark printhead refurbishment business has now grown to include parts and systems upgrades, including the potential for significant speed upgrades to Versamark 6240 printers.

According to Collins, it is beta testing a fluid station upgrade for the Versamark 6240 that will turn 300fpm and 500fpm devices into 1,000fpm printers; the upgrade involves installing a new control board running Linux-based software in place of the existing "PC in a box".

Collins said it presently has three fluid station upgrades running in the field "and expects to install others within the next few weeks".  "We believe we can upgrade S1 fluid stations and will initiate testing of that hypothesis over the next few weeks," the company added.

A full list of Collins printhead refurbishment and parts and system upgrades program can be found on the Collins Ink website.

Kodak declined to comment.

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