Although inkjet printing is on the rise, the company said it continues to invest in technologies for offset printing, including new processes that reduce costs and environmental impact.
It also sees great potential for its printing technology in the rapidly growing packaging industry. Douglas Edwards, Kodak's president for digital printing and enterprise, said that while the publishing industry may be in decline amid a shift toward online publications, "there's no electronic substitution for packaging." Edwards said Kodak's technologies make it cheaper and easier to print high-resolution images on everything from cardboard to plastic and cans.
Randy Ottinger, a former technology and banking industry executive, noted that although Kodak faces tough competition, its competitors face many of the same challenges.
Ottinger, who now serves as an executive vice president at the business advisory firm Kotter International, said the old company was hurt by its complacency. He said the new Kodak needs to put innovation above short-term profits and be willing to shake itself up to make itself relevant.
Part of Kodak's restructuring has been a move away from manufacturing all of its products by itself. The company now focuses on what it does best and looks for partners to help with the rest, Perez said.
Brad Kruchten, a 30-year veteran of Kodak and now its president for graphics, entertainment and commercial films, gave this example of how the company once did everything itself: When he ran its Colorado office years ago, there were cows grazing on its property because the company used them to make gelatin for film production. It also grew its own corn to feed the cows.
"Now we just look at what we know how to do and invest in that," Kruchten said.
One of the company's biggest projects in development is a cheaper touch screen for smartphones and tablets. Touch screens currently work through the use of a very rare, but transparent, metal called indium that's laid out in a grid pattern applied to a thin sheet of glass. Kodak wants to use its printing capabilities to lay out super-thin lines of metals like copper and silver, which can be more effective than indium and cheaper to obtain. The new technology could also allow the screens to be flexible and foldable, allowing them to be installed on a host of new objects.