Eastman Kodak uses techniques learned from film production for new battery technology

Eastman Kodak is making an investment in a battery technology company. And the company’s CEO said that the association is right in line with Kodak’s expertise.

Kodak has taken a minority stake in California-based Wildcat Discovery Technologies, which is developing what it calls a ‘super cell’ for electric vehicles, which Wildcat said could greatly improve the performance of the batteries that power those cars.

In a recent interview with WXXI News, Kodak Executive Chairman and CEO Jim Continenza said that in addition to Kodak’s investment, the Rochester company is also offering coating and engineering services, which he said is a natural fit, as it uses technology that Kodak had already developed. in the making of the film.

Continenza noted that Kodak repurposed a machine several years ago that was used for coating film to now produce materials needed in the production of electric vehicles and energy storage batteries.

“Maybe a $70 million or $80 million car, and we were selling it extremely cheap, (less than) $2 million,” Continenza said. “And it’s like, ‘no, we have to get this back to work. This is an incredible device.’ And we realized, coincidentally, George Eastman made a drum company, he just didn’t know it. It’s identical to making film and clothing on drums.”

Continenza added that Kodak continues to look for ways to leverage manufacturing capabilities in its Advanced Materials and Chemicals business, including the production of chemicals needed for healthcare operations, such as reagents needed in laboratory applications. Kodak also continues to manufacture components used in some pharmaceutical products.

Kodak’s CEO is enthusiastic about the company’s infrastructure in Rochester (formerly Kodak Park, now known as Eastman Business Park).

Eastman Kodak



Eastman Kodak Executive Chairman and CEO, Jim Continenza

Continenza said having the Eastman Business Park is a big reason why Kodak is able to make these types of products.

Continenza also pointed to the advantage of having facilities at Eastman Business Park when asked about the company’s commitment to Rochester.

“Part of Kodak’s legacy to me and its history is Rochester,” Continenza said. “And I’m not abandoning this, I’m not abandoning my building, my corporate building, (on State Street) I’m not abandoning my park. Because of this infrastructure, whoever comes here has an advantage because they don’t have to build it.”

Continenza referred to a number of other companies that now have operations in the business park and use its various services and access to rail and highway transport.

Kodak continues to make commercial printing and packaging products, and Continenza said many other products the company makes are also related to that Advanced Materials and Chemicals business, including coatings used in light-blocking technologies for fabrics, and transparent antennas for automotive and other applications.

Continenza said Kodak is also looking to use its coating and chemical expertise to work with other companies on battery technology. “It’s not just EV batteries, there’s home storage and there’s different technologies, we’re looking at doing some things in solid state for others. We are also doing hydrogen, hydrocell. So it’s not just limited there, because we know how to produce these things.”

Kodak has approximately 1,500 employees in Rochester. Continenza said the company is trying to fill 91 vacancies.

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