Four companies shine at 2016 Intertech Technology Awards

Six technologies from four companies have been selected for the 2016 Intertech Technology Awards based on their innovation and likelihood of advancing the performance of the graphic communications industry.

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

This year, the following six technologies have been awarded:

Omnifire 250

The Omnifire 250 personalizes and decorates a wide variety of three-dimensional objects up to 11.8” in diameter using UV inkjet printing in an automated robotic process. It pretreats the object, prints up to five colours and can apply a protective coating. Unlike traditional industrial solutions, it can quickly and conveniently print one item like a soccer ball and then switch in seconds to a different shaped item such as a wine bottle. The InterTech judges singled out the Omnifire 250 as a breakthrough technology that will lead to a myriad of new applications and business opportunities.

Heidelberg Stahlfolder TH 82-P: Streamfeeding in all Stations

The judges were won over by the engineering ingenuity and productivity gain of the Stahlfolder TH 82-P. The hallmark innovation is that it can run in streamfeeding mode so that sheets or signatures are overlapped up to half their length as they enter each folding station, enabling a 50% higher throughput at the same linear speed. While one piece is exiting a fold plate, the next one is already arriving. This approach means that the folder can produce at the speed of a sheetfed offset press while maintaining the same fold quality achieved in single sheet operation.

Highcon Beam with 3D Modeling
Highcon Systems

The combination of Highcon Beam’s digital cutting and creasing capability and the optional 3D Modeling module lets users pursue opportunities in 3D production. The workflow converts 3D models into separate layers according to a paper’s thickness that are then laser cut on the Highcon Beam. Compared to other technologies with expensive material costs, Highcon’s machine builds large scale masters and molds for a fraction of the cost and in minutes rather than days. One judge commented, “This is an intriguing application that lets printing companies get involved in 3D with paper, a substrate they’re undoubtedly more comfortable with.”

InSoft Automation

Imp software is a versatile and standalone tool for planning and creating print-ready layouts. The level of automation is impressive, but the standout feature is the ability to optimize layouts across a variety of job types (from packaging and labels to magazines) and print processes (offset, digital and wide-format). Moreover, rectangular flat jobs and diecut jobs can be ganged separately or together. The software’s modularity makes it particularly cost-effective, letting users add modules as their business expands. Imp’s ability to locate dies in inventory that can be reused for a new layout also got the judges’ attention.

Xerox Color 800i/1000i Press Metallic Dry Inks
Xerox Corp

Engineering dry toner with reflective pigments was difficult enough, but Xerox also figured out how to apply it to achieve a high sheen gold and silver. Using a fifth housing station on its Color 800i/1000i Press, the metallic dry inks provide a high-impact dimension that opens the door for new revenues or savings by migrating lucrative foil stamping or metallic ink offset applications to personalized and print-on-demand jobs. Said one judge about the ability to apply silver and gold via dry toner, “This is a game changer; I wish I had this capability on the machines I currently run.”

Xerox Versant 2100 Press with Ultra HD Resolution
Xerox Corp

Ultra HD Resolution lets companies produce jobs at a resolution of 1,200×1,200 dpi on the Xerox Versant 2100 press, a quadruple increase in resolution from other presses. The judges noted that with the resolution increase there’s no longer a reason to avoid the elements that used to be a problem for digital print — gradients, thin fonts and vector graphics. The key to the innovation is the ability for the Versant to resolve colour to a depth of 10 bits (versus 8 bits) throughout the imaging chain, from the EFI print server to the print engine and Versant components.

Group Publications