2014 Quick Printing Readers’ Choice: Top Products Awards

The 2nd annual Quick Printing Readers’ Choice Top Products Awards competition was conducted in mid-2014. The goal was to gather opinions from print service providers about what they consider to be the most significant products introduced to the commercial printing industry between September 1, 2013 and December 31, 2013. We asked readers to vote for the products within each category that had the strongest impact on their businesses or created the most excitement in the industry.

The contest covered 17 categories, from digital color printers and offset presses to finishing equipment, inks, software, prepress, and mailing products. There was only one winner in each category as well as a few ties.

Next year’s contest will include products introduced to the industry between January 1 and December 31, 2014.


Color Management Software (tie): COLORlynx Technology from Canon Solutions America

The cloud-based calibration profiling solution leverages ORIS color calibration and certification software to create Calibration Profiles for Canon's imagePRESS digital presses. COLORlynx uses patented technology to enable remote management of single or multiple imagePRESS digital presses over a secure Internet connection, with a local measurement device. ORIS color calibration algorithms ensure that colors are accurately reproduced and the highest level of gray balance stability is achieved.

SpectroPocket for Android from CMYK Distributors

SpectroPocket for Android is the world’s first system for measuring discrete color patches on different substrates using commercially available spectrocolorimetry and displaying the recorded color values on any mobile Android device. For the first time, it is possible for smartphones or tablet computers to connect directly to scanning spectrophotometers via an external USB interface.Users now can measure color virtually anywhere with lightweight equipment—on-site at a customer facility, in the office, at the laboratory, on press— or, wherever business is. SpectroPocket for Android is a compact, portable, box-shaped device with integrated software and rechargeable USB battery which connects directly to the spectral measuring device via USB. Communication between the SpectroPocket and the mobile Android device is transferred via Bluetooth technology. Spectral values are then interpreted and displayed on the Android smartphone or tablet computer using an Android App.

Design Software: QuarkXpress 10 from Quark Inc.

QuarkXPress 10 is the new version of the graphic design and page layout software for designers who love print and live digital. New inside and out, QuarkXPress 10 includes Quark’s new Xenon Graphics Engine, Retina display support, a modern architecture, and more than 50 feature enhancements that streamline the design process and improve the design experience.It also continues support for ePub and out-of-the-box HTML5 authoring tools for App Studio, the leading cloud-based HTML5 solution for creating award-winning tablet and smartphone experiences.

Mailing Software: Mail Integrity Suite from Ricoh

The Mail Integrity Suite is a professional services portfolio that delivers both Ricoh and third-party solutions, end-to-end implementation, integration, and training. It is designed to alleviate the mail workload so that customers can focus on growing their businesses.

PDF Software: FreeFlow Variable Information (VI) Suite 12.0 from Xerox Corp.

FreeFlow Variable Information (VI) Suite 12.0 is the latest release of Xerox’s variable-data printing solution. Version 12.0 includes design and composition tools that can be used individually or in unison, including: FreeFlow VI Design Express – a simple tool for creating highly effective personalized materials quickly and efficiently; FreeFlow VI Design Pro – an advanced authoring tool for technical staff to design without limitations; FreeFlow VI Compose – an industry-leading technology that assembles documents on the fly, at ultra-high speed; and FreeFlow VI eCompose – a powerful software that enables a common workflow to extend customized communications offerings beyond print to include electronic distribution, web presentment, digital archiving and more.

Web-to-Print Software (tie): Digital StoreFront Version 7 from EFI

EFI's latest version of its Digital StoreFront combines the software’s SmartStore Builder interface with advanced HTML5 tools for optimized web-to-print storefront access across desktop, tablet, and mobile devices. Print shop administrators can choose from a variety of pre-built layouts and themes as well as easily customize storefronts using the software’s SmartStore Builder. Administrators can also perform advanced customization tasks with direct HTML and CSS editing. The software also features a redesigned interface for improved ease of use.

StoreFlow from XMPie

XMPie StoreFlow is comprised of uStore 7.0, the latest release of XMPie’s leading web-to-print and marketing portal solution, and Xerox FreeFlow Connect, a component of the FreeFlow suite that offers lights-out, prepress automation. uStore 7.0 brings key features, such as JDF compliance, the addition of Product Profiles, social sign-in, a pricing plug-in for integrating custom pricing mechanisms, enhanced reporting with Excel charts and pivot tables, enhanced automated document preflight, and LivePerson integration. StoreFlow is an all-in-one, best-in-class web-to-print solution.

Workflow Software (tie): Fiery Workflow Suite from EFI

The Fiery Workflow Suite is a comprehensive set of integrated products to accelerate business growth and profitability. As part of EFI's broad portfolio of integrated products, Workflow Suite delivers a unique, fully integrated workflow from job submission and business management to scheduling, preparation, and production for a new level of productivity. Its products are designed to integrate seamlessly with EFI's industry-leading Fiery digital front end. The suite includes applications for job submission, prepress, make-ready, color profiling and management, personalization, and output management.

PRISMAproduction Software Version 4.04 from Canon Solutions America

Océ PRISMAproduction software (Version 4.04) enables greater automation in book production, advanced use of electronic forms for high-volume applications, JDF and JMF compliance, and ADF-to-PDF conversion for mainframe documents. The new functions are available as options to Océ PRISMAproduction software. In addition, with the release of Océ PRISMAprepare Version 5.2, this makeready software continues to evolve in response to customer application needs including the imperative to reduce production costs and increase productivity.


CTP & Platemakers: Inkjet Computer-to-Plate from the Printers Shopper

This first-of-its-kind plate production system that brings real CTP affordability to small and mid-size print shops. The polyester-based plates can be imaged with an Epson Inkjet printer that many shop owners may already have, making the moving to this chemical-free system even more economical. The run length of the inkjet imaged plates is around 10,000 impressions. The image quality is excellent, with screen rulings up to 175 lpi and the capability to reproduce 6 to 8-point reverse type.

Pressroom Supplies (tie): Endurance Printing Plates from xpedx

Endurance Printing Plates are offered as part of the broad portfolio of xpedx printing papers, media, equipment, and other consumables available through more than 75 distribution centers across the country. Endurance plates are manufactured by Fujifilm. “This relationship aligns the xpedx Endurance brand with a supplier of printing plate technology that is known for performing consistently, highly-reputed for durability, and manufactured with a tradition of excellence,” said Dennis Killion, xpedx director of graphics marketing.

Intellicon Ultra-Concentrated Fountain Solution from RBP Chemical Technology

Printers in the coldset, heatset, and UV sheetfed markets can reduce fountain solution consumption by an estimated 50percent to 80 percent when using Intellicon products, according to RBP. Intellicon’s Liquid Gold and Concept 21 brands enable printers to make more press mix with less fountain solution, thereby reducing a company’s overall consumables cost. More efficient to ship, handle, and store than traditional pre-mixed fountain solutions, Intellicon offers numerous logistical advantages to the print customer.

Digital Printing Media: PoliPrint Xerographic Polyester Paper from xpedx

PoliPrint, which is designed for high-heat, dry toner production equipment such as Xerox iGen and Kodak Nexpress, is available in 5, 8, 10, and 14 mil thicknesses. Printers will appreciate its performance, as well as its price, in comparison to other high heat, dry toner synthetic substrates, says distributor xpedx. The bright white, ultra smooth synthetic paper features a specialized coating for excellent toner adhesion, making it well suited for most environmental conditions with resistance to water, grease and other contaminants.

Fine Papers: Environment from Neenah

Nearly a quarter of a century ago, Neenah Paper introduced the first and most comprehensive line of sustainable recycled papers in the premium paper and packaging world, setting the industry standard for high-end, sustainable papers. Now, Neenah has announced the re-launch of its Environment Papers premium recycled papers line with fresh, new, natural colors and a uniquely tactile Raw finish, making it well-positioned to meet today’s needs for sustainable communication programs, luxury packaging and all digital print applications.

Ink & Toner (tie): LS-6020 and LS-6021 Fast-Dry Solvent Inkjet Inks from Matthews Marking Systems

Matthews Marking Systems has released two fast dry solvent-based inks for its Viacode L-Series thermal ink jet (TIJ) printer. The new inks, LS-6020 and LS-6021, are designed to use TIJ printing at industrial speeds on a variety of non-porous substrates. Each has unassisted dry times faster than two seconds and offers broad coverage for polyesters, oriented nylon, coated packaging, foils, and resins.

Supreme Sheet-fed Process Series from Van Son

Van Son’s Supreme product line for sheetfed printers features fast setting time, unparalleled rub resistance, extraordinary press stability, and radiant colors. It also offers flexibility, printing on a wide array of substrates and can run on either straight or perfecting presses. Additionally, Supreme is hard drying and G7 compliant. Van Son’s Supreme line has an ample water window, stays open overnight, and is easy to use. Plus, it's UV coatable, foil stampable, and can be used with film lamination.


Color Digital: imagePRESS C7010VPS from Canon USA

The imagePRESS C7010VPS digital press is the first offering from Canon following its acquisition of Océ. Built on Canon’s imagePRESS C7010VP platform and featuring an integrated Océ PRISMAsync front-end controller, the device delivers advanced imaging and media-handling technologies as well as expanded finishing options to deliver greater profitability through increased productivity and flexibility.

Offset Presses: Rapida 105 Perfector from KBA

The medium-format Rapida 105 has significant differences to previous generations. It is based on the same technological platform as the high-tech Rapida 106 that, with a maximum output of up to 20,000 sheets per hour and its makeready times, defines the benchmarks in medium format. Its intelligent automation concept, various configurations and optional features available combined with a maximum production speed of 16,000sph (17,000sph with the HS speed enhancement package), the internationally successful Rapida 105 targets print firms with limited investment budgets.

Production Inkjet Presses: T400 Color Inkjet Web Press from HP

HP's productive commercial digital color press brings the concept of mass customization to printing by combining the personalization features of digital printing with the efficiencies of high-volume production. With its expansive width and 600-foot/minute speed, the HP T400 Color Inkjet Web Press can print up to 5,200 full-color, letter-size pages per minute.

Wide-format Printers (six-way tie): Océ ColorWave 900 from Canon Solutions America

The Océ ColorWave 900 digital color printer helps close the gap between inkjet and traditional offset technology. The 42-inch-wide printer provides market-leading digital workflow, productivity, lower running costs and increased flexibility for shorter and personalized print jobs. Underpinned by Memjet’s inkjet technology, the ColorWave 900 has a raw print speed of more than 1,100m2 per hour and is able to print the equivalent height of the Eiffel tower in just half an hour. Delivering 3.4 billion drops of 1.2 picolitres of aqueous ink per second, the machine is able to produce resolutions of 1,600x1,600 dpi.

Océ Arizona 600 XT Series from Canon Solutions America

The Océ Arizona 600 Series are designed to deliver high total and peak production capacity while maintaining the uncompromising print quality. Four models are available:

• Arizona 640 GT:  four independent ink channels, CMYK printing, standard table size

• Arizona 640 XT:  four independent ink channels, CMYK printing, extra-large table size

• Arizona 660 GT:  six independent ink channels, multiple print configurations, standard table size

• Arizona 660 XT:  six independent ink channels, multiple print configurations, extra-large table size

SOLJET XF-640 from Roland DGA

Roland’s SOLJET XF-640 64-inch printer incorporates two mirrored print heads, newly designed take-up and pinch roller systems, and other advanced features that enable it to deliver vibrant, detailed prints at speeds up to 1,098 square feet per hour. The XF-640 is uniquely engineered and constructed to maximize print speed and output without sacrificing image quality, making this next-generation printer an ideal choice for high-volume shops. 

Truepress Jet W1632UV from Screen USA

The Truepress JetW1632UV flatbed UV combines superior design and innovative technology from Screen and its group company Inca Digital. Printing at speeds up to 94 square meters per hour (true sellable quality) the Truepress Jet delivers class-leading productivity and astounding print quality on a range of media and sizes up to 1,600mm x 3,200mm up to a maximum 48mm thickness. The latest super-fine droplet printheads deliver razor-sharp, 1200-dpi text, fine definition, and smooth vignettes. Screen’s brilliant inks offer a wide color gamut and, combined with light cyan and light magenta inks, produce stunning photographic-quality back/front-lit displays.

Truepress Jet W3200UV from Screen USA

The Truepress Jet W3200UV wide-format UV flatbed printer, co-developed by Screen and Inca Digital is a six-color + white printer designed to meet the demands of the POS (point-of-sale), signage, and decor markets -- with the ability to print onto a range of rigid and flexible media up to 3.2 x 1.6m in size and up to a maximum 50mm thickness. A new print carriage design allows the printer to achieve best-in-class print speeds of 904 sqft/hr.

VUTEk GS2000LX from EFI

The EFI VUTEk GS2000LX LED-based printer is designed to help you offer more applications with the ability to print on thinner and specialty substrates, and increase productivity so you can produce jobs more efficiently and faster than ever before – all while lowering your operating costs. With no VOCs, less consumables and waste, less energy consumption, and the ability to print on environmentally friendly materials without warping or head strikes, you can easily satisfy customer requests for a greener printing solution.

Binders & Bookletmakers (tie): Hunkeler UW6/UW7 Unwind Module from Standard Finishing Systems

The dynamic unwind module from the latest POPP generation is especially suitable for flexible, high-performance use. Easy handling, thanks to automated loop control and user guide with touch-panel, reduces setup time to a minimum. Rolls with diameters of up to 1370 mm can be loaded semi-automatically. A triple-loop control guarantees optimal and precisely tensioned winding of the paper web and helps with the processing of light as well as heavy paper weights. The loop weight is fully decoupled during neutral mode, thus guaranteeing optimal feed, also on high-performance digital printers.

Magnum Flex Book from Magnum Digital Solutions

The Magnum Flex Book provides an efficient method for the production of fused book blocks. Using cut-sheet technology, the Flex Book produces a high quality book block free of the common shingling and bottling problems found in folding technologies employing signature solutions. Book blocks are made durable utilizing Flex Book’s digitally controlled sinusoidal fusing technology and can be fed inline to a binding system or offline. It is capable of a web width up to 43 inches and speeds up to 800 feet per minute. Flex Book’s ribbon control section can process as many as 8 ribbons and makes maximum use of the printed web utilizing 5 or 7 ribbon running (depending on product size) to increase throughput on digital print runs.

Other Postpress Equipment: L-350 Laser Cutting Machine from Spartanics

The Spartanics L-350 Laser Die Cutting Machine is a single-source 400W laser system that is able to cut and change configurations on the fly at speeds up to 100 meters a minute. This system is able to be customized to add other converting essentials, such as: lamination, slitting, hot stamping, varnish stations and rotary sheeting options.  One of the major distinguishing characteristics of the Spartanics L-350 Laser Cutting Machine is its cutting edge software application that allows operators to easily optimize and provide job estimates.

Mailing Hardware (tie): Inline Print to Mail Solution from RISO

The RISO Mailing Solution is made up of the company’s ComColor high-speed inkjet printer and its unique inline Wrapping Envelope Finisher. This convenient inline mailing solution handles mail production from Host to Post, with minimal intervention. The groundbreaking solution streamlines the steps of mail production, reducing labor hours and capital investments for further savings. The Mailing Solution can print and address an envelope form and enclosures, fold the enclosures, create an envelope from the printed form which is wrapped around the enclosures, and seal the envelope inline to produce a finished mail piece.

Pre-Sorter VVS from Segbert GmbH

Segbert’s Pre-Sorter VVS consists of two modules: a lift storage and a stacking system. The height of each bundle is measured at the machine entrance. While the bundle continues to move on the conveyor, the control system determines if the bundle needs to be stored, stacked or can go towards the palletizer. The control system uses an algorithm that is optimized to build stacks of a pre-determined height out of the individual stacks that come into the pre-sorter.