Kodak innovates with lasers and filters

Kodak Graphics Communications, winners of BCTIA’s 2008 Excellence in Product Innovation, attended IMPACT, a BCTIA event held Thursday evening at the Vancouver Hyatt, to demonstrate how they wee able to change the way LCD screens are made. Kodak’s tech consists of using a Thermal Color Filter (TCF), which does not employ chemicals, takes less space and takes the entire process digital, saving 30 percent of the manufacturing cost per panel. The process works by using a laser to selectively transfer colorant to a substrate (the base of the filter). The end result is a cheaper and more environmentally friendly process for creating LCD color filters. A prototype of the TCF technology has been in use with an Asian customer since 2006, with commercialization of the product scheduled for 2009.

Eran Elizur, GM of Industrial Imaging Solutions at Kodak Graphic Communications (located in Burnaby and formerly known as Creo). Elizur said that Kodak was at first taken aback by Creo’s “dog-friendly,” new media culture, but in fact Kodack is new assimilating Creo’s culture in its continued move from a film-based old economy company to a digital imaging company. Elizur added that one of the things the Graphic Communications Group enables through their direct approach is getting close to the customer and thus getting direct input into where to best put their efforts to drive innovation forward.

Elizur said that while Kodak is starting with displays, the entire gamut of print technology is also a candidate for innovation, and foresw a day when you could design a microchip on your computer and simply print the circuit and start using it. While such innovation isn’t possible at present, it is coming sooner than you’d think, he said.