The independent panel of judges deliberated over technology nominations ranging from plates and digital presses to a variety of production and management software. Great strides in technology were demonstrated in packaging software, inkjet printing, workflow automation, offset press efficiency, UV curing, and variable-data printing.
Technologies were selected from those nominated for a variety of reasons, but the judges felt they all met the award criteria of being truly innovative and expected them to have a major impact on the graphic communications industry. What follows is a description of the technology and its significance to the field.
The 2011 InterTech Technology Award recipients are:
(Listed alphabetically by company, with the technology named first)
Enfocus Switch, available in several versions, is a modular, open automation platform that gives printers, publishers, and ad agencies the tools to accomplish repetitive tasks associated with receiving, processing, and sorting files automatically. Switch collects incoming files, sorts the files into different folders, and routes them through predetermined processing steps. Existing software investments are protected, as Switch easily integrates and therefore automates functionality derived from third-party applications. All of this functionality is driven by a visual flow editor that allows users to easily create automated workflows or import pre-designed flows from the Enfocus community website.
Studio Toolkit for Shrink Sleeves
Studio Toolkit for Shrink Sleeves creates artwork for shrink sleeves (labels placed around a package and shrunk during production). With it, designers and prepress professionals can quickly create, test, analyze, communicate, and produce designs with 3D visuals without the need to produce mock-ups. The software accommodates asymmetrical shapes and multipacks, color shifts introduced during shrinking, barcode distortion, and it works in 3D from start to finish. The virtual shrink tunnel allows distortion to be easily determined, eliminating the trial and error of producing and wrapping shrink sleeve material around a container, running it through a shrink sleeve tunnel so distortion can be measured, and redoing the process many times until the design looks good when shrunk.
KBA Flying JobChange
KBA North America, Inc.
KBA’s Flying JobChange drastically reduces makeready time on sheetfed offset presses by allowing an operator to prepare the next job—changing plates on one or more units—while the press is running. At the conclusion of one job, the next immediately begins at 10,000 sheets per hour before accelerating up to production speed. Ideal applications for Flying JobChange are language versions on a six-color press, four and five-color jobs on long perfectors, and one-over-one work on a four-color press. Important automation solutions to facilitate this include Plate-Ident, a dot matrix code on the plate used to confirm that the correct plate is in the correct unit and Simultaneous Plate Change.
Komori H-UV Curing System
Komori America Corporation
The Komori H-UV Curing System is an innovative curing system for inks and coatings that requires just one lamp in the delivery. The single H-UV lamp can cure up to 400% ink coverage plus coating at maximum press speed. This dramatically reduces the amount of energy required compared to either IR or UV. The specially designed lamp also generates much less heat with a printed sheet pulled from delivery being only about 10 degrees warmer than ambient room temperature. This eliminates stock deformation from excessive heat resulting in better color fit and easier second passes through the press. A press running H-UV can easily be switched to conventional ink and coating as desired.
manroland autoprint APL
autoprint APL is an innovative system for the newspaper industry that reduces times for plate change by up to 90%—an important feature in times when newspaper circulations are getting smaller and change-over more frequent. Utilizing robotic technology on a printing press, autoprint APL uses a four-axis robotic arm to change plates on two cylinders with a positioning precision of 0.01 millimeter. With one button makeready, the system can simultaneously change plates in all or selected units within three minutes with no manual intervention necessary. A barcode reader can also verify that plates are in the correct position.
Memjet’s printhead, controller chips, and software are used by OEM partners to create new ways of color printing in the office, label, photo, and wide-format markets. Its technologies power new printers operating at speeds up to one page per second, two to five times faster than average color laser printers, with lower running costs and less energy consumption. This is one of the first implementations of an inkjet head printing process color in a single pass (700 million drops per second) across the width of a sheet in this marketplace. The combination of speed, cost, and quality has the potential to decentralize printing by moving it onto factory and warehouse floors.
TrueJet Digital Coated Papers
TrueJet Digital Coated Papers is a new line of printing papers developed to meet the needs of roll-fed production inkjet printing and related hybrid printing solutions. NewPage’s research and development has yielded technology which can provide a coated paper surface that accepts a variety of inkjet inks at full production speeds. It offers solutions for full-color variable inkjet printing with inkjet printing on both gloss and non-gloss finishes with improved drying times, especially for aqueous inks. In addition, the paper facilitates inkjet printing in combination with web-offset, with roll-fed laser technology, or off-line in the bindery.
ISO 16612-2 (PDF/VT)
NPES (coordinator of U.S. representation to the ISO technical committee on graphic technology)
ISO 16612-2 Graphic technology – Variable data exchange – Part 2: Using PDF/X-4 and PDF/X-5 simplifies and brings new capabilities to production workflows for personalized documents (e.g., direct mail and transpromo). The use of PDF/VT allows VDP content files to be portable, easily proofed, color managed, and preflighted. Building on the PDF 1.6 imaging model, transparency, ICC-based color management, and layers are fully supported. More complex color graphics in VDP jobs will enable customer communications with greater impact and ROI. One of PDF/VT’s greatest strengths is the ability to drive digital presses in a job-ticket-driven workflow (via JDF, for example). Finally, to reduce file size and facilitate caching, a repeating element is defined only once, regardless of the number of times it appears in a job.
The InterTech star, a symbol of technological innovation and excellence, will be presented before an audience of industry leaders during the 2011 Printing Industries of America Premier Print Awards and InterTech Technology Awards Gala, September 11, in Chicago, Illinois.
A technology review booklet showcasing all of the entries will be produced and distributed this fall at Graph Expo and with an issue of Printing Industries of America:The Magazine; the booklet will also be available at www.printing.org/InterTech.
For more information about the InterTech Technology Awards, contact Jim Workman, assistant vice president, Center for Technology and Research, Printing Industries of America, at 412-259-1710, firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.printing.org/InterTech.