InterTech Technology Awards 2011 winners announced

The winning innovations expected to have a major impact on the graphic communications industry include: Enfocus Switch, EskoArtwork’s Studio Toolkit for Shrink Sleeves, KBA Flying JobChange, Komori H-UV Curing System, manroland autoprint APL, Memjet technologies, TrueJet Digital Coated Papers from NewPage Corporation, and ISO 16612-2 (PDF/VT) from NPES. Printing Industries of America announced the eight technologies recently selected to receive a 2011 InterTech Technology Award. Enfocus Switch, EskoArtwork’s Studio Toolkit for Shrink Sleeves, KBA Flying JobChange, Komori H-UV Curing System, manroland autoprint APL, Memjet technologies, TrueJet Digital Coated Papers from NewPage Corporation, and ISO 16612-2 (PDF/VT) from NPES are the technologies for which, 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, September11, 2011, in Chicago (USA).

Since 1978 the InterTech Technology Awards 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 receive an award experience continued commercial success in the marketplace.

To select this year’s winners, 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 winning technologies and their significance:

Enfocus Switch, available in several versions, comes as a modular, open automation platform for printers, publishers, and ad agencies providing 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.

EskoArtwork’s 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, colour 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’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-colour press, four and five-colour jobs on long perfectors, and one-over-one work on a four-colour 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.

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 percent 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 colour fit and easier second passes through the press. A press running H-UV can easily be switched to conventional ink and coating as desired. “We are extremely pleased that this exciting UV technology has been recognized as a cutting edge product by the graphic arts community,” said Kosh Miyao, president and COO of Komori America, “It’s really an extremely efficient and user-friendly system. Komori has invested significant R&D effort in ensuring that H-UV satisfies all the requirements of the printing industry—efficiency, high quality and fast job cycle times. With over 100 systems either installed or on order worldwide, we are confident that H-UV is a serious game-changer in the printing industry.”

manroland receives its seventh InterTech Award for autoprint APL which is an innovative system for the newspaper industry that reduces times for plate change by up to 90 percent - 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. “manroland autoprint APL’s combination of robotics and automation to quickly change plates on newspaper presses is unquestionably innovative and responds perfectly to the trend to shorter runs and more targeted editions,” said Mark Bohan, vice president, Technology and Research, Printing Industries of America and chair of the InterTech Technology Awards.

Memjet’s printhead, controller chips, and software are used by OEM partners to create new ways of colour 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 colour laser printers, with lower running costs and less energy consumption. This is one of the first implementations of an inkjet head printing process colour 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 from NewPage Corporation 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.

Presented by NPES (coordinator of US 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, colour managed, and preflighted. Building on the PDF 1.6 imaging model, transparency, ICC-based colour management, and layers are fully supported. More complex colour 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.

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