2014 InterTech Technology Awards announced

Printing Industries of America (PIA) has announced the recipients of the 2014 InterTech Technology Awards. The technologies receiving this respected award have been judged as truly innovative and are expected to advance the performance within graphic communications industry. An independent panel of judges deliberated over an outstanding selection of technology nominations, which showcased the dynamic nature of the industry. This year many of the awards were technologies supporting the packaging and label markets, providing hardware and software solutions, along with estimating software, digital presses, folding technology, and light measurement for viewing booths. The following eleven technologies were selected to receive the 2014 InterTech Technology Award:

IC3D Suite by Creative Edge Software, LLC: It is the world’s first 3D real-time packaging simulation and design application to combine multiple packaging disciplines in one product. Other software applications separate design applications into cartons or flexibles or bottles or store visualisation. IC3D Suite encompasses these and more, allowing all these elements to be seamlessly combined in the same scene. It is also the first 3D packaging design and visualisation software to offer the patented ‘Smart Wrap’ Mapping software which allows labels and artwork to be placed accurately onto complex models without the need for tedious UVW mapping of texture coordinates.

IC3D Suite comes with a direct link into Adobe Illustrator allowing 2D Illustrator artwork to be directly mapped onto 3D models as base artwork or as labels. Users can output hi-resolution images, PDF proofs for mark-up or share their designs with colleagues and customers using the IC3D Movie exporter, which creates portable compressed movie files that can be shared or put on compliant websites.

EFI IQuote: It is an estimating and quoting system that simply makes businesses smarter! It takes a necessary but uninteresting process and makes it a visual ‘smart’ process that maximizes profit potential on every job. IQuote accomplishes this by providing users sales, estimating and management team with a solid end-to-end process that generates estimates optimised for businesses. The software explores each path a job can take through your facility, calculating the best layout and the best resources for each job and for each quantity (with an unlimited number of quantities). This smart capability extends to the automated selection of the production technology for each quantity – digital or offset, sheet or web. Equinox by Esko: Equinox Expanded Color Gamut (ECG) Technology is Esko’s patented technology for converting packaging graphics from CMYK and spot colour to sevencolour process. It is applied in the prepress department when preparing jobs for press.

Converting entire files results in extremely close matches to spot colours, improved pictorial images, and the ability to print more colours than available ink stations on the press, resulting in improved image quality and brand impact. The major benefit, however, is realised in the pressroom as jobs print more economically and more consistently. The ability to create an infinite number of colours from seven process colours promotes ‘gang’ press runs – and the economic savings can surpass a million dollars per press per year.

Customers using Equinox ECG technology report that they use seven-colour process profitably in a production environment for flexible packaging as well as labels. This has enabled many of the world’s largest consumer product companies to convert entire product lines to expanded gamut. Full HD Flexo by Esko: Esko Full HD Flexo is a platemaking system for superior flexo printing for all packaging applications. It utilises a patented, fully digitally controlled platemaking system combining highresolution 4000 ppi imaging with a unique inline UV main exposure unit. An LED-array delivers UV power density strong enough to fully control the plate polymerisation process during main exposure. For the first time, flexo plates are imaged, exposed and delivered directly to the plate processor, without need for light table exposure.

With Full HD Flexo, flexo platemaking has become a true ‘Computer to Plate’ process: no lamination, no films, and no extra steps with light tables. No special consumables are needed, and it is not proprietary: it works with all popular digital flexo plates and sleeves. Everything is done in the CDI imager. Plates are ready for processing after unloading. Full HD Flexo has had a positive impact on efficiency and cost. Press changeovers are faster and downtimes are reduced. Substrate selection is less critical.

Vpak Packaging Presses by Goss: The Goss Sunday Vpak series of presses was commended by judges for bringing ‘full litho benefits to packaging.’ The panel 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 shorterrun or segmented folding carton, flexible packaging and label jobs.” The application of Goss patented gapless blankets to the Vpak platform, along with the development of quick-change plate and blanket sleeves and a new purpose-designed ink train, has created the widest (up to 75 inches/1,905mm) and most productive web offset packaging press option currently available with an infinitely variable repeat range. While, Gossdesigned blanket sleeves include a ‘white light’ layer below the exterior layer that allow blanket sleeves with varying external circumference (repeat) sizes to be used with a single, common blanket adapter sleeve. This means that the repeat size can have a range of approximately 1.5 inches (38.1mm) which can be achieved with a single set of blanket adapter sleeves, reducing the cost of size changes significantly and providing a dramatic ROI advantage for the end user if they choose to use this approach.

Utilising proprietary web transport research and predictive modeling developed over decades of leadership, Goss has integrated advanced tension control within the Vpak presses. Servo-driven motors, minimal web couple inertia and closed-loop monitoring and control combine to ensure stable web dynamics and high print quality for a full range of film and paper/board packaging substrates, from 36 gauge film to 30 point board.

Heidelberg Stahlfolder PFX Feeder Technology: The Stahlfolder PFX Feeder was recognised for its success in extending the proven benefits of the stream feeder technology used in Heidelberg offset presses to the folding department. Heidelberg’s Stahlfolder PFX Feeder Technology promotes lean production, reduces overhead labor costs, and increases net output up to 50 percent, compared with conventional, crossfold production. The PFX also yields a 50 percent reduction in feeder faults, even on wavy or curled stocks. The feeder also makes the machine much more ergonomically operator friendly and allows users to achieve the highest run speeds without adding a helper to the operation.

The new feeder separates sheets on the pallet and transports them onto the vacuum feed table in a shingled stream, a prerequisite for processing more sheets in the same amount of time. This improves the consistency of feeding, requires fewer stops, and increases the total number of sheets that can be folded during an eight-hour shift. It is impossible to achieve ultra-high-speed, stable production like this with a conventional feed table. The new PFX feeder can be run in single mode or in shingled mode on the infeed. Heidelberg’s traditional TH parallel folder and KH knife folder typically run in single mode. Heidelberg’s high-performance TX parallel folder with twin pneumatic side lay ‘frog fold’ employ the shingled mode.

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 smallvolume 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: 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 customisation, 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-theshelf substrates without the need for preoptimisation is critical for easy operation and cost reduction.

GL SPECTIS 1.0 Series by JUST Normlicht: 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 analyses 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.”

JETLEADER 1500 by TKS: 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 customise products, produce short-run products and explore new markets taking 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, recognised 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.

Since 1978, the InterTech Technology Awards sponsored by PIA have honoured the development of technologies predicted to have a major impact on the graphic arts and related industries. More than 80 percent of technologies that received an award experience continued commercial success in the marketplace.


Esko receives seven InterTech
awards over the past ten years

Esko Full HD Flexo platemaking system and Esko Equinox are the sixth and seventh InterTech awards Esko solutions have received over the past ten years. Other recipients include Esko WebCenter (2006), Esko DeskPack 3-dX (2007), Esko Neo (2008), Esko Studio Toolkit for Shrink Sleeves (2011) and i-cut Suite (2012). “We are very honoured to receive two awards from Printing Industries of America this year.

Esko has a legacy of listening to our customers and using our ingenuity to develop products – very often new product concepts or categories – that offer our customers tremendous added value,” explains Carsten Knudsen, Esko president and CEO. “Esko’s insistence in investing a much higher portion of our budget than the industry average into R&D each year helps to support our continuous innovation helps to fuel these products that result in competitive advantages for our customers.”

Group Publications