Heidelberg Exec Receives Reed Technology Medal for Sunday Technology
Press release from the issuing company
Pittsburgh, Pa., September 17, 2001 — Richard McKrell, vice president of research and development, for Heidelberg’s Web Systems Solution Center in Dover, New Hampshire, has been named the recipient of the 2001 Robert F. Reed Technology Medal. First presented in 1974 by the Society of Fellows (SOF) of the Graphic Arts Technical Foundation (GATF), the award honors the memory of the "Dean of Lithography." It is presented annually to an individual who has made a major contribution to the technical and scientific development of the graphic arts industry.
McKrell joined Heidelberg predecessor, the Harris Corporation, in 1980. He played an instrumental role in the development of the company’s revolutionary Sunday Technology web presses featuring gapless blankets. McKrell also led the Heidelberg team that developed the more scientific Predictive Design Criteria approach to press design.
"In the 1980s, Rich led a team that was determined to dramatically improve press performance in order to make web printing more competitive with other media," Werner Albrecht, president of Heidelberg’s Web division, explains. "The direct result was the gapless Sunday Press, with its quantum leaps in print quality, productivity, and efficiency."
After earning a B.S. in mechanical engineering from the University of Pittsburgh, McKrell began his career at RCA in the Advanced Research Department, focusing on vibration, heat transfer, and stress analysis related to the space program. At RCA for eight years, he completed his Masters in mechanical engineering from the University of Pennsylvania. Joining Westinghouse Electric in Philadelphia for 14 years, he concentrated on steam turbine rotor and blade vibration design criteria. During this period he engaged in doctorate studies that focused on vibrations of rotating machinery at the University of Pennsylvania.
Many consider Heidelberg’s "Sunday Technology," which McKrell’s team developed, to be the most important web offset press development in the last 30 years. The new technology included gapless blankets that eliminated gap-related vibration and print defects. The team also developed ink and water chemistry to work at the higher press speeds. Heidelberg now offers presses featuring this technology for all web printing applications, including newspaper printing.
Albrecht said that McKrell reached out to printers, vendors, and suppliers to gain their input in the press design process. The Predictive Design Criteria approach, established by McKrell’s research team at Heidelberg, is based on analytical modeling and experimental verification. It enables engineers to predict press performance in advance of the product’s final design and production, bypassing costly and time-consuming trial-and-error methods.
In the 20 years that McKrell has led the research and development activities for what is now Heidelberg’s Web Systems Solution Center, that division has been granted 386 patents. During the 20 years prior to his arrival, only 83 patents were granted. In a group letter supporting his nomination, Heidelberg executives wrote "The atmosphere Rich maintains for creative thinking and the importance he has placed on that matter is the reason we have 386 patents. Rich demonstrates a unique ability to challenge individuals, teams, customers, and suppliers to do their best."
"Unlike many technical executives, Rich was intimately involved in the technical design and brainstorming sessions," the Heidelberg executives added. "It was his passionate and hands-on approach and ideas which constantly focused, motivated, and invigorated the technical development of Sunday technology."
McKrell was nominated for the Reed Award by Harold Gegenheimer, chairman emeritus of Baldwin Technology Company in Mystic, Connecticut and 1982 Reed recipient, and Richard C. Holliday, industry consultant and partner in 3P, Inc. He will be presented The Robert F. Reed Technology Medal during the annual Society of Fellows Banquet on Thursday, October 25, 2001 in St. Petersburg, Florida.
The Robert F. Reed Technology Medal
Robert F. Reed served from 1924-1945 as the first research director of the Lithographic Technical Foundation, predecessor to GATF. Mr. Reed graduated from the University of Cincinnati and joined LTF in 1924, after working as a research chemist with Ault and Wiberg Company and E.I. DuPont de Nemours and Company. He remained as senior research consultant with LTF after stepping down from the research directorship in 1945. He continued his work in graphic arts research and as an author of printing textbooks until his retirement in 1970, after 46 years with the Foundation.
The Robert F. Reed Technology Medal was established in 1974 by the GATF Society of Fellows and first presented during the 50th anniversary celebration of GATF and its predecessor, the Lithographic Technical Foundation. Mr. Reed’s contributions to the understanding of the lithographic processes and materials were, perhaps, the most significant and important made by anyone of his time.
Nominees for the Reed award must be technically or scientifically oriented, and have worked as an engineer or scientist in the graphic communications industries for a period of ten years or more with a measurable or documented record of accomplishments.
It is preferred that outstanding activities be extended over a period of time and not be confined to one project or development. It is not necessary that candidates be a member of GATF or SOF.
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