Pittsburgh, Pa., July 29, 2002 — As a service to the industry, the Graphic Arts Technical Foundation (GATF) has sponsored the InterTech Technology Awards for 24 years to alert printers to significant trends and technologies predicted to have a major impact on production and profitability. This year GATF is proud to announce eleven technologies worthy of the honor.
GATF received 30 submissions for the award this year and saw one of the highest ever recipient-to-nominated technology ratios. The award’s mission is to "honor excellence in innovative technology for the graphic communications industry." Therefore there are no categories limiting the number of awards given. John Lind, GATF’s director of research, explained, "We saw many manufacturers creatively seeking new ways to increase productivity and justify by return on investment."
Indeed the technologies recognized this year reflect innovations in areas that do not often see revolutionary improvements: bindery, new inks, and coating blanket preparation. Furthermore, several technologies addressed productivity needs for the growing demand of shorter runs by reducing makeready times instead of increasing equipment speeds. One technology synchronizes and optimizes all aspects of the print production line.
The judging committee, an anonymous group of industry experts and users who are independent of GATF, also try to recognize manufacturers who bring the technology first to the market or enable smaller printers to afford a technology by reconfiguring it and significantly reducing the cost. The nomination criteria stipulate that the technology be recently developed and proven in industrial application, but not yet in widespread use. Open architecture is always preferred over proprietary systems and companies are not required to be GATF/PIA members to submit technologies for judging.
To foster awareness and understanding of advanced graphic arts technology, GATF will publish and distribute to its members a booklet describing the award-winning technologies, as well as all nominated technologies. Nonmembers can acquire this technology showcase booklet for $10 plus shipping and handling.
The InterTech Technology Awards will be presented at the Industry Awards Reception and Dinner, Saturday, November 16, 2002 during the GATF/PIA Administrative Meetings at the Fairmont Hotel in New Orleans, Louisiana. Company representatives will receive a multi-layered Lucite star. The technology and company name will be engraved on a high-polished brass plate at the foot of the award.
For more information about the 2002 InterTech Technology Award technologies or about the 2003 awards competition, contact John Lind, director of research, at GATF, 200 Deer Run Road, Sewickley, PA 15143-2600; phone 412/741-6860 ext. 585; or email [email protected]
2002 InterTech Technology Award Recipients
(Listed alphabetically by company)
1. Adobe PDF Transit
Adobe Systems Inc., San Jose, CA, www.adobe.com
This software development kit includes all components for creating Internet-based print workflow solutions that begins at the users’ desktop and directly extends across intranets, extranets, or the Internet to the final printing service or output device. It brings the power of a PDF print workflow to any user with a Web connection, making the print provider’s job easier and ensuring that the user’s print job will be completed correctly the first time. "The makers of the revolutionary PDF file are now making Internet-based print-on-demand a reality. PDF Transit provides a critical infrastructure to bring innovative products and solutions to market that radically simplifies print workflow while reducing time and cost for both service provider and end-user alike," said a judge.
2. Arpeco Injector System
Arpeco Engineering Limited, Mississauga, ON, Canada, www.arpeco.com
Combining the benefits of both flatbed and rotary diecutting systems, Arpeco introduced an innovative processing system for web-based printing and converting of folding cartons. It uses flexible steel tooling to process printed web inline without requiring the use of repeat-specific magnetic cylinders. By means of a set of fixed-repeat magnetic cylinders, the Injector System supports infinitely variable diecut repeats thus eliminating ongoing investment in repeat-specific tooling. This inline, intermittent, rotary cutting, creasing, and stripping system is designed for rapid changeovers. "Arpeco fused two technologies to produce incredible cost savings. The reduction in makeready time will significantly impact the carton industry," commented a judge.
3. Enfocus Certified PDF Technology
Enfocus Software, Inc., San Mateo, CA, www.enfocus.com
An Enfocus Certifed PDF workflow takes PDF preflight upstream to the creation stage and provides total quality control and predictable output. The recipient can be sure the PDF is compliant with his/her production specs and can track all changes throughout the workflow. The result of Enfocus closing the loop on quality control for PDF workflows is unprecedented reliability and predictability in digital file exchange. "Nearly everyone has saved a job or saved the customer by using an Enfocus product to fix the file. Furthermore Enfocus is taking the industry in the right direction by pushing preflighting into the design studio," noted a judge.
4. Gerber Sector Coating Blanket Production System
Gerber Innovations, a division of Gerber Scientific, Inc., Manchester, CT, www.gerberinnovations.com
By automatically producing coating blankets in-house at offset commercial and package printing operations, the Gerber Sector eliminates hand cutting quickly, efficiently and cost-effectively and provides a complete solution for spot, knock-out, and flood applications. It consists of easy-to-use driver software that fits seamlessly into existing prepress workflows and ensures accurate coating registration. The compact, mobile cutting unit can be placed anywhere in the production facility. "This system can reduce a full blanket production cycle from potentially three days out-of-house to an hour on-site. Additionally, printers can potentially save up to as much as $200 per blanket and on other costs such as shipping, charges, while increasing production flexibility and customer satisfaction," explained a judge.
5. ColorQuick Press Analysis System
Graphics Microsystems, Inc., Sunnyvale, CA, www.gmicolor.com
This system captures and distills the information necessary for press efficiency review and predictive maintenance and makes it available to the printer through configurable reports and charts that can be used to compare performance levels of all presses in multiple pressroom locations. By using the densitometric and colormetric data collected from the system a printer can engage in detailed trend analysis and rate a press’s capability to maintain density, dot gain and drive to color, thus improving press efficiencies and throughput. "By automating data collection, GMI has overcome an industry hurdle in practicing process controls. Additionally, they set the bar for closed-loop color control systems and take the concept of color management to a new level," said a judge.
6. Hydro H2O Inks
Midwest Ink Company, Broadview, IL, www.midwestink.com or www.ictwink.com
Hydro H2O Inks enable printing using just water, no fountain solution. The absence of chemicals eliminates negative reactions/impacts on the printing hardware, the ink itself, and the environment. This process greatly reduces calcium extraction from all paper substrates, and therefore reduces calcium buildup on plates, blankets, and ink trains that lead to press downtime. Additionally there will be better trap. Midwest’s Heatset version of Hydro H2O Inks has given the above results while allowing the oven temperatures to be lowered by 30 to 40 degrees. "Printers who use Hydro H2O Inks will see countless advantages such as fewer blanket wash-ups and replacement, reduced downtime and paper waste, and increased ink stability and setting," remarked a judge.
7. Prima AMRYS
Muller Martini Corporation, Hauppauge, NY, www.mullermartiniusa.com
Prima AMRYS automates one of the most time-consuming jobs in the bindery—setting up saddle stitching systems between jobs. Job parameters can be entered by the operator or directly from prepress or MIS data via the CIP3-developed Print Production Format (PPF). The operator merely has to activate the job at hand, and jobs can be stored on the PC to quickly accommodate re-orders. Several judges applauded Muller Martini’s innovative thinking in the bindery area and being the first to market such technology. A judged commented, "Meeting the demand for shorter runs in the future, Muller Martini realizes that efficient makereadies are just as important as machine run speeds."
8. NexPress 2100 Digital Production Color Press
NexPress Solutions LLC, Rochester, NY, www.nexpress.com
Heidelberg Druckmaschinen AG and Eastman Kodak Company created NexPress, LLC and provided the company with access to thousands of patents. With this rich heritage as a base, NexPress developed over 300 additional patents to produce a true digital production color press that delivers on the long-awaited promise of digital color printing technology. The NexPress 2100 effectively marries the reliability, durability and consistent high image quality of an offset printing press with the flexibility, convenience, and quick turnaround of a printer. Print providers can expand their capabilities to produce higher-value, more relevant printed pieces for their customers and generate higher profits. "The NexPress 2100’s non-proprietary front end system is what the industry needs to make digital printing a reality and propel the growth of variable data printing," noted one judge.
9. Inkjet Computer-to-Plate
PISCES-Print Imaging Sciences, Inc., Nashua, NH, www.Jetplate.com
The PISCES JetPlate is an affordable, desktop metal computer-to-plate (CTP) system for small offset presses. Based on an inexpensive B3-format ink jet printer, the JetPlate system enables a printer to accept a digital job file from a customer, immediately image the job onto a conventional subtractive aluminum plate, and go to press. While other CTP systems use costly lasers, this system’s plates are imaged with innovative ‘liquid light’ ink, which reacts with the photosensitive emulsion. "This inexpensive system, with inexpensive consumables, ties into other vendors’ systems and brings computer-to-plate technology to the majority of our industry—the small or low-end printers," a judge explained.
10. Printcafe PrintFlow
Printcafe Software, Inc., Pittsburgh, PA, www.printcafe.com
Differing from current static scheduling systems, this dynamic scheduling software synchronizes and optimizes all production activities relative to all other jobs and work centers in the plant. PrintFlow considers the specifications of each job and identifies the optimal print schedule while maximizing the efficiency of the available cost centers. PrintFlow design uses the Theory of Global Optimization (TGO), which was developed by Printcafe’s Udi Arieli and team. It allows printing companies to schedule, synchronize, and optimize jobs throughout the manufacturing operation so that the entire printing process becomes fully coordinated, from prepress to delivery. "An investment in this scheduling system will increase production. Its concept is simple yet brilliant. We encourage Printcafe’s innovative thinking in the area of scheduling and MIS in general," concurred several judges.
11. Timson T48A ZMR Book Press
Timson, Inc., Schaumburg, IL, www.timsons.com
The ZMR (Zero Make-Ready) is a short-run web offset book press capable of changing forms on single-color work without stopping, thus completely eliminating makeready due to its twin over-and-under vertical web printing units. While one unit prints, a press operator can change plates on the other unit. As the active unit finishes printing, the second unit—already synchronized at web speed—immediately begins printing, with minimum paper waste and zero production time loss. "Timson addresses the industry’s future need for short-run books and makes these jobs cost-effective on a web. Additionally, the ZMR, with an amazingly small footprint for a web and shaftless design, moves the technology in the right direction," remarked one judge.