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X-BAR retrofitting offers alternative to refurbishing Kodak Versamark printheads

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WHEN A KODAK 6240 INDUSTRIAL PRINTHEAD GOES DOWN, production stops, and costs begin rising. Technicians must troubleshoot the problem. A simple fix for an industrial printer may still mean up to four hours of costly downtime for time-sensitive production, such as transactional printing and direct mail.

kodak board refurbish circuit board quality

Some of the legacy Kodak systems have been in operation upwards of 30 years. If the printhead is nearing the end of its lifespan, refurbishing the Kodak printhead can often prolong the useful life of the printhead. The most common problems requiring refurbishment are a failed orifice plate, charge plate, motherboard, or charge driver boards.

Refurbishing a printhead takes about six weeks.

The availability of refurbishment services from Kao Collins eliminates any uncertainty of continuing support of these legacy printheads.

Kodak printhead refurbishing can cost as much as $13,000 depending on the print speed of the printhead. Kao Collins’s maximum charge for refurbishing any speed Kodak 6240 print head costs a maximum of $6,450.

kao x-bar three print modules darken

A refurbished printhead may get a second life of 2,000-6,000 hours.

Most industrial inkjet printers keep additional printheads on hand to swap in when one fails. To be safe, a company may have a backup of 20-50% of their installed printheads.

While a new Samba G3L X-BAR print module with MEMS technology is a substantial investment, it makes business sense to factor in all the costs in deciding to upgrade Versamark printheads to the revolutionary X-BAR. The X-BAR prints on porous bond, high-gloss coated stock, films, foils, and more.

Much like an aging vehicle, there comes the point when repairs don’t make financial sense.

Financial considerations for buying new print modules

Cost considerations for refurbishing vs. retrofitting

Aging equipment is unpredictable and unreliable. The result is continuing expenses for refurbishment that drain valuable resources. The costs appear in lost labor, lost production, and continuing refurbishment costs.

Labor Costs

Technicians take diagnosing the problem of a down printhead, and that time adds up for companies with multiple printheads. Also, a company loses valuable work-hours for the operator of the printer when it is offline because of a failed Versamark printhead. The printer is idle, and so is the operator. The lost time – and money – increases if the printhead needs to be removed and replaced with a backup.




Kodak Versamark printheads have notoriously long downtime. The downtime stops production and delays not only the completion of the active job but also the scheduled jobs that follow. Overtime for employees may be required to maintain production schedules and deadlines.

Downtime can also sour relations with customers because of missed deadlines. It’s difficult to put a price tag on that until the customer chooses another vendor.

Refurbishment Costs

In addition to lost labor and production, companies with many printheads can easily spend $20,000-$35,000 a year to refurbish the aging Kodak 6240s.

Retrofitting benefits the bottom line

On the other side of the ledger, are the benefits of a new print module, that can be retrofitted onto machines running the Kodak 6240 printheads. These benefits can lead to increased business opportunities and value for the customers.

kao collins x-bar retrofit printing speed

Faster Printing

All Kao Collins X-BAR print modules run at up to 1,000 feet per minute. Compare that to the 300- or 600-feet-per-minute of the slower Kodak printheads. Speed equals higher production and more revenue.

Higher DPI

At up to 1,200 dpi, the X-BAR delivers much higher quality than the Kodak printheads. Offering higher-quality production differentiates your company from competitors. Increased quality drives additional revenue opportunities.

Ink Savings

After equipment and labor, ink commands a significant budget line item. Reducing ink consumption improves the bottom line. The X-BAR consumes up to 50% less ink. Savings like that flows to the bottom line.

Idle Capital

It made sense that a company maintained backups for Kodak printheads when one or more failed, especially considering their age. Having a warehouse of up to 50% of extra printheads wastes capital that could be invested into revenue-generating opportunities. Printheads on a shelf don’t generate revenue.

Taken as a whole, from costs to revenue-enhancing potential, retrofitting Kodak printheads with the revolutionary X-BAR, makes sense. The benefits combined with the reduced costs of downtime and refurbishment add up to long-term savings. A further consideration is incorporating the versatile X-BAR Controller, which can drive multiple printhead technologies, making production more efficient.

The X-BAR print module is suitable for printing on a variety of substrates, including porous bond, high-gloss coated stock, films, foils and more. It offers unique advantages for direct mail marketing, variable data jobs, industrial label printing, and other commercial printing.


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X-BAR 360 | Print module and controller tour

To look around the virtual demo, use the controller in the video screen.

The Kao X-BAR Universal Controller can manage 16 X-BAR modules or 32 Kodak printheads as well as other printhead systems.

Controller Details >>>