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Saga of the mysterious Kodak 5260 wide format printer Print E-mail

Kodak has been preparing this new color inkjet printer for the last 2 years. Rumors reached us already in May last year that the Kodak 5260 was based on a Mimaki manufacturing using piezo printheads.

Gradually we got better information. It was confirmed that it's Mimaki whose subcontracts it out to a plant which actually manufacturers the unit. It turns out, however, that it's Brother piezo printheads with cross-licensing from Spectra yet evidently with some features also from Xaar. Spectra makes high-quality inkjet printheads for industrial applications (such as billboard printers). Spectra printheads tend to produce better quality than Xaar printheads, for example.

Where did Brother printheads come from? One source indicated that Brother piezo printheads are used on Pitney-Bowes postage meters and/or fax machines. Brother evidently holds rights to use both Spectra and Xaar technology. With the aid of millions of Kodak's development fund, Brother was able to create an outstanding piezo head of impressive quality output. Unfortunately Brother preferred to stick with making printheads for postage meters because they could sell thousands. When the new heads did not work for the Kodak printer, allegedly Brother had no incentive to fix or improve the heads. Since Kodak itself does not own any printhead technology patents, it is at the mercy of printhead manufacturers.

It has been stated that no technology from Crystal Jet is included (Kodak owned aspects of that ill-fated technology).

So now you have the first authoritative report on the working innards of the new Kodak 5260 inkjet printer. FLAAR = first in innovative reporting; we definitely stand for pithy, direct, and no-nonsense reports.

This page was originally in the fine art giclee printer web site but Kodak pointed out that the 5260 was not at all intended for the fine art marketplace. So we moved the report out of that site to here.

Kodak5620-ISA02 Kodak 5260, ISA trade show, Orlando 2002

 

First posted September 3, 2003.

 
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