Printing Industries of America is pleased to share more information about the eleven technologies recently selected to receive 2014 InterTech Technology Awards. An independent panel of judges deliberated over technology nominations, which showcased the dynamic and innovative nature of the industry. The judges singled out the following significant technologies as meeting the award criteria of being truly innovative and expected to have a major impact on the graphic communications industry. The recipient technologies are listed below alphabetically by company:
Creative Edge Software, LLC
IC3D Suite is a real-time 3D creativity solution for packaging designers and creatives. This unique application allows 3D visualization, ideation, and design for all packaging and label creation. IC3D Suite’s comprehensive 3D model and material libraries support flexible packages, bottles, cans, folding cartons, shrink wrap, and labels, as well as in-store simulation of products on shelves and POP displays. The software incorporates accurate image-based lighting and real-time, patented 3D mapping, “Smart Wrap,” which allows labels and artwork to be accurately placed and wrapped onto complex packaging models. The judges commented, “It enables more customers to better engage with the packaging because it’s so quick and greatly reduces the time to production.”
IQuote uses job information and details of company processes and equipment to calculate the best production path. Every detail of every possible production path is considered with no omissions or selection errors and no skipped steps. IQuote adds up the costs of each workflow path and quantity, presenting estimators with the most cost-effective choice for each. In cases where the optimal path is not chosen, IQuote shows the profit impact of the selection. The judges were impressed with the dynamic way in which estimates were generated agnostic to the production method, stating, “It’s a very intelligent way for the system to work.”
Equinox Expanded Color Gamut Technology converts packaging graphics from CMYK and spot colors to seven-color process, resulting in better looking images and the ability to produce a wide range of spot colors. The Equinox Photoshop plug-in will automatically create separations so prepress staff can decide which colors should be expanded and by how much. The seven-color profiles convert industry standard ink books into tint build books for a specific press, saving considerable money versus custom-mixed inks. The judges appreciated the way in which the separations could be optimized for each image independently and saw great value in the cost savings seen from its use.
Full HD Flexo
Full HD Flexo is a platemaking system that produces smooth, sharp images with complete 0–100% dot coverage. It uses high-resolution 4,000 ppi imaging with an inline UV main exposure unit to deliver plates directly to the plate processor without the need for extra steps like lamination and light table exposure. Dot shapes are generated digitally, combining highlight capabilities of round dots with the solid ink laydown and print stability of “flat top” dots. It works with all popular digital flexo plates and sleeves. The plate-agnostic capabilities of the system and the ability to produce flat and round top dots, utilizes the best aspects from both dot types and excited the judges.
Vpak Packaging Presses
Goss Vpak web offset packaging presses feature variable repeat (cut-off) technology and advanced presetting, process integration, and closed-loop controls. Press models are available for web widths up to 75 inches and speeds of up to 1,500 feet per minute, and they accommodate substrates ranging from 36-gauge film to 30-point board. Quick-change sleeve technology makes it fast and simple to match cylinder circumference to repeat length for each specific job. The judges commented that Vpak technology presents converters with a new alternative to exploit the print quality, productivity, and lower image cost of the web offset process, especially for shorter-run or segmented folding carton, flexible packaging, and label jobs.
Heidelberg Stahlfolder PFX Feeder Technology
The PFX Pallet Feeder is designed to bring the process of feeding paper to the next level for consistent, high-speed manufacturing and a reduction in feeder faults of 50%. The system separates sheets from the pallet with a newly developed feeding transport system and guides them as an overlapping stream onto the infeed table. The PFX feeder also separates sheets more gently than conventional pallet feeders. PFX technology yields a significant increase in net output, and a new PFX feeder and automation can replace two or three older folders. The judges were impressed with how the technology increases productivity while reducing faults in the production process.
Hinterkopf Digital Printer D240
The new D240 enables high-quality digital printing for the decoration of cans and tubes. The ability to print photo-realistic pictures and sharp text at 1,200 dpi on cylindrical aluminum, steel, and plastic opens up new options for short production runs for samples and small-volume products. The D240 UV prints the products in 360 degrees with no overlap. The printing is performed at speeds up to 240 parts/minute, with true 360-degree accuracy, eliminating the undesirable overlap of conventionally printed cans. Changeover to the next job can occur in seconds. The judges commented that, in this very competitive industry, the D240 offered a whole new product portfolio and significant product differentiation.
HP Indigo 20000 Digital Press
Hewlett-Packard Development Company
The HP Indigo 20000 Digital Press is a 30-inch web press bringing proven HP Indigo quality to the high-capacity flexible packaging, label, and shrink sleeve markets. With innovations and a new wider format, it breaks the digital narrow-web size barrier, enabling converters to digitally produce wide-format jobs, significantly reduce time to market, and provide added-value services to brands, including customization, variable-data printing, and coding/tracking. The judges commented that the press provides an innovative solution for the growing flexible packaging market across many industries, adding that the ability to handle off-the-shelf substrates without the need for pre-optimization is critical for easy operation and cost reduction.
GL SPECTIS 1.0 Series
The GL SPECTIS 1.0 series of spectroradiometers finally brings an affordable, accurate measuring device that can be used to assess viewing booth consistency and check for ISO 3664:2009 compliance. The compact design makes the device easy to use. It analyzes light from 340 nm to 750 nm, encompassing the entire visible spectrum and the UV spectrum that is created in today’s viewing booths. The software includes a user interface for compliance testing, enabling users to measure their critical color viewing areas. The judges remarked, “It’s a tool we can use to put the process controls in place to fix an age-old problem, which is verifying that light viewing booths are correct.”
The JETLEADER 1500 inkjet newspaper press incorporates drop-on-demand inkjet printing technology with the unique in-line finishing capabilities developed by TKS. It can print both broadsheet and tabloid products with the standard configuration, as well as other products when used with other forms of finishing equipment. What separates the press from other inkjet offerings in other graphic arts markets is the ability to produce a finished, multi-section broadsheet newspaper in line. The judges stated that “this enables a newspaper to customize products, produce short-run products and explore new markets due to the advantage of the finishing capabilities including variable cutoff/web width.”
Xeikon ICE Toner
ICE toner enables dry toner printing on heat sensitive substrates, including PE (polyethylene) face stocks and thermal labels. This innovation opens up a broader range of label applications. Dry toner printing hasn’t been suitable for the aforementioned substrates in the past because the heat used to melt and fuse the toners leads to substrate deformation. To solve this issue, Xeikon developed a toner that requires lower fusing temperatures than regular dry toners, while retaining its 1,200×3,600 dpi imaging resolution and full rotary imaging with no frame size restrictions. As the judges commented, “Heat is a constant problem that the ICE toner technology solves, opening up new opportunities for digital printing with a toner that is also food-contact safe.”
The InterTech stars, which are recognized as symbols of technological innovation and excellence, will be presented before an audience of industry leaders during the 2014 Premier Print Awards Gala Featuring the InterTech™ Technology Awards, September 28 in Chicago, Illinois.
A technology review booklet showcasing all of the year’s entries will be produced and distributed this fall at GRAPH EXPO 14 and with the September issue of Printing Industries of America—The Magazine. The publication will also be available at www.printing.org/InterTech.