Kodak has suffered a setback to the launch of its Prosper press range, with Italian firm Rotomail opting for an HP T300 machine instead of Kodak's Prosper 5000XL.

Milan-based Rotomail was to be the European beta site for Kodak's colour machine, which was due to be installed over the summer.

"Rotomail Italia has decided to withdraw as its volume demands were not conducive to being part of a beta programme," said Eric Owen, vice-president of sales, Kodak digital printing solutions. "Instead it has decided to extend its installation of a competitive device."

HP has confirmed that the installation of a T300 has begun. Rotomail's sister company Rotolito Lombarda is already using the HP T300.

Sources claim that Kodak's inability to deliver the machine this summer was behind the firm's switch to the proven technology of HP, and one added "for a loyal Kodak customer like Roto-mail to do this suggests Kodak is way behind schedule".

Owen countered that another European beta site for the 5000XL had already been lined up but had asked not to be named.

"There will definitely be a colour machine in beta in Europe this year," he said.

Installation of the first Prosper press in Europe - a monochrome 1000 - began at French book printer Sagem this month.

US firm OPM, which was the first beta site for the Prosper 1000 has commenced installation of the world's first 5000XL this week. It is expected to be in operation by October.

OPM's 1000 is in commercial production, typically producing 3,850 bound books in a period "longer than a shift but less than 24 hours", according to Owen.