Pittsburgh, Pa., July 23, 2003 -- The Graphic Arts Technical Foundation (GATF) is pleased to announce thirteen recipients of the 2003 GATF InterTech Technology Awards. A panel of independent judges chose this year’s recipients from a broad palette of forty submissions.
“The 26th anniversary of GATF’s InterTech Technology Awards program proves that technological evolution in graphic communication and print services is as pronounced and dynamic as ever,” said one judge. Several judges pointed out that they continue to find an increasing number of InterTech nominees who are seeking creative ways to bring new, sophisticated technologies—and therefore new services and revenue streams—within the reach of small and medium-size printers.
“This year’s awards showcase the industry’s growing attention to flexographic printing, inkjet and soft proofing on a contract basis, and digital inline finishing,” said GATF Research Director John Lind. He also observed that automation combined with productivity and ROI continues to be a strong trend among the InterTech nominations.
The multilayered Lucite InterTech stars recognized industrywide as a symbol of technological innovation and excellence will be presented to 2003 recipients at an Industry Awards Dinner on Saturday, November 15, 2003, at the La Mansión del Rio Hotel, San Antonio, Texas.
A booklet showcasing all of the current year’s nominated technologies will be available at Graph Expo, which is being held September 28 through October 1, 2003, in Chicago.
For more information about the 2003 InterTech Technology Awards or the 2004 program, contact John Lind, Director of Research, GATF, 200 Deer Run Road, Sewickley, PA 15143-2600. Phone: 412/741-6860 ext. 585; email: [email protected]
Plate Cell Patterning
Artwork Systems Inc.
Plate Cell Patterning, part of Artwork Systems’ Nexus product family, is a software application that places anilox cell patterns on flexographic plates to improve ink transfer during printing. The cells are “patterned” into the job during imaging on an imagesetter or a direct-to-plate unit. The cell patterning roughens the plate surface, which in turn, improves the quality of printed solids, reduces ink consumption, reduces halos around type, and produces more open reverses and finer positive images. “This technology brings flexo quality into the 21st century,” said one judge.
ORIS Color Tuner 5.0
CGS Publishing Technologies International
ORIS Color Tuner 5.0 color management software is designed to produce contract-quality proofs on inkjet output devices. The system uses ICC-based color management combined with fine tuning for difficult color reproduction, like that of neutral grays for example. All major digital file formats can be handled, including PostScript, PDF and PDF/X, TIFF, TIFF/IT, DCS, CT/LW, copydot, and more. Automatic calibration lets even nonexperts calibrate an output device and create a color-matching table by outputting and measuring a standard color target. “This technology clearly supports using color inkjet for contract proofs,” remarked a judge.
HyperFlex aids in the exposure of small dots or graphic elements on a photopolymer plate. It helps to reduce the relief depth between dots and expands the base of the shoulder so the dots are better formed and capable of resisting the wear and tear of normal use. HyperFlex preserves the size of the dot and the intended tonality, yet allows printers to work with smaller highlight dots. In fact, it complements and enhances hybrid AM screening technologies in flexography, allowing smaller highlight dots and reducing non-uniformities in the “FM” range of the hybrid AM highlights. “This screening enhancement offers innovative support for flexo printing by selectively targeting highlights,” remarked a judge.
Epson Stylus Pro 7600/9600 with UltraChrome Ink and Epson Professional Media Line
Epson America, Inc.
Epson’s SWOP-certified combination of inkjet printer, inks, and output media for contract-level proofing delivers accurate proofs with a wide color gamut that closely simulates colors produced on the printing press. The inks, which are significantly more stable than dye inks and dye sublimation technology, include a seventh color, a light black ink that improves the printer’s gray balance along with superior transitions within the midtones and highlights. Epson’s line of proofing media is designed with different base tints and gloss levels to more accurately match the papers used on press. These features plus a high-resolution printhead form a system that produces high-quality proofs at lower running costs than alternative proofing solutions. “The price will let lots of printers go CTP because it makes inkjet proofing more accessible and affordable,” said one judge, also noting that the system is SWOP-certified.
FastVariants is a suite of software tools and technologies for outputting the same file in multiple versions. It is especially aimed at avoiding costly mistakes in the production of versioned jobs for which one plate, usually but not always the black plate, is changed for another one with a different version during the print run. Whether a job is supplied as neutral pages with separate version pages or as full-color version pages, FastVariants can solve or detect specific problems that make a file unsuitable for double-burn. All of its tools run in batch mode so large amounts of pages can be efficiently handled with minimal operator intervention. As one judge observed, “This application enables relatively modest printers to offer versioning services by using automated software rather than paying for custom programming.”
Goss Digital Inking System
Goss International’s digitally controlled ink metering system eliminates the need for fountain blades and can be mounted on new newspaper and commercial web offset presses or retrofitted to older presses, even non-Goss presses. The system delivers a precise volume of ink, at all press speeds and conditions, to each zone across a web using miniature rotary valves that are either on or off. It comes ready to utilize CIP3-compliant ink key presets based on digital image data downloaded from customer files. The system’s closed nature eliminates impurities that contaminate the inking system. “The fact that this system is retrofittable means that more web pressrooms can use it,” remarked a judge.
Heidelberg’s high-speed, multi-versatile newspaper insert packaging system may be configured as an inserter, collator/polywrapper system, or as a combination of both while delivering output speeds up to 30,000 cycles per hour, per delivery. Magnapak features a completely shaftless, servo-driven design and advanced system controls. It can be configured as a small stand-alone inserter or as a large packaging system fed automatically from press or automated storage systems. “This packaging system offers newspapers a cost-effective, productive way to compete in the inserts market,” said one judge.
Stitchmaster ST 400
The ST 400’s computer-driven, independent servo motors, mobile feeders, and numerous productivity enhancements open up versatile opportunities for productive and more efficient saddle stitching. Its presets, automation, and other productivity features have been shown to reduce makeready times up to 50%. The stitcher has an output of up to 14,000 cycles an hour and can handle products up to 12-5/8 by 19-7/8 inches. Operated via touch-screen and a touch-sensitive keyboard, the Stitchmaster can be preset with local or network data, including prepress CIP data. Mobile feeders equipped with wheels allow operators to move them around the shop floor and change the configuration easily. “A $7-million-volume printer was able to scrap two old machines, replace them with this stitcher, and increase productivity,” observed a judge.
Integrated Color Solutions
The Remote Director system is the first SWOP-certified, display-based, contract proofing solution. Using proprietary color science and software technology, the Remote Director system enables and verifies the accurate, consistent viewing of color images on computer monitors in different locations all from the same source file, eliminating the need for a hard proof. Remote Director offers dynamic viewing of requested images, monitor control and calibration, verification of color accuracy, and dynamic use of industry-standard ICC profiles, and it supports both CMYK and RGB workflows. It can be used during all phases of the creation and printing of a job by ad agencies, publications, commercial printers, color trade shops, and service bureaus alike to digitize their workflow, eliminating geographical barriers and speeding the workflow of color critical jobs. “SWOP certification makes it a leader,” said a judge.
Kodak Polychrome Graphics Matchprint Virtual Proofing System, Version 1.0
Kodak Polychrome Graphics
This interactive, contract-level, SWOP-certified proofing system uses color science and specialized color transformations to enable accurate, consistent viewing of CMYK color reproduction via RGB displays. The system consists of high-end, customized CRT monitors, proprietary color management technologies, and a suite of Web-based image viewing and collaboration tools from RealTimeImage. A rigorous, instrumented color-calibration process ensures consistent and accurate color from monitor to monitor. Color proofs can be transported, viewed, and approved or electronically marked and returned for corrections within minutes. There is no need for color reference books to support the system. “Soft contract proofing is the frontier, and this system enables fast color-critical proofing online,” explained a judge.
Komori America Corporation
The Lithrone S40 provides a systems approach to printing by offering the highest levels to date of sheetfed press automation and open systems architecture. The press comes equipped with Komori’s Color Connection software suite, and when coupled with a CIP4-compliant K-Station, it provides a link in the evolution to computer-integrated manufacturing (CIM) in the pressroom. Several features significantly enhance makeready speed, including an automatic plate changing system that can change six plates in under three minutes and advanced automatic programming of current makeready, washup, and the next makeready from the press console. The Lithrone S40 runs at a top speed of 16,000 sph and can print on substrates from onionskin to 40-pt. board. “The S40 takes a significant step toward the CIM and Digital Smart Factory levels of print production automation,” emphasized a judge.
RealTimeImage offers a revolutionary, high-resolution Internet streaming imaging platform for both graphic arts and medical industries. For graphic arts, RealTimeImage has set the highest industry standard for color-managed, Web-based proofing, approval, and collaboration workflows. The technology also makes it possible for other online systems (including those from Kodak Polychrome Graphics, WAM!NET, and Printable) to be collaborative and interactive. RealTimeProof Express, a hybrid ASP/local system, combines the workflow management efficiencies of the RealTimeProof.com ASP (application service provider) with a local, high-resolution streaming server.
RealTimeProof Express is most suitable for high-production volumes or multisite companies looking for local, secure, image streaming with centralized administration. “It will enable the industry’s transition to soft proofing, not only for content proofing but also for contract color proofing,” noted a judge.
Xerox Square Fold Booklet Maker
Xerox Corporation/Plockmatic International AB
Designed for the digital finishing market, the Xerox Booklet Maker produces a square-fold edge on saddle-stitched booklets. Based on technology designed by Plockmatic International AB, the machine provides the look and feel of a perfect bound book, including preprinted color covers with text on the spine at a fraction of the cost perfect binding. It connects inline to Xerox DocuTech? Production Publishers and performs saddle stitching, folding, trimming, and squaring to produce finished books at printer-rated speeds. As one judge observed, “This development provides strong market encouragement to the on-demand finishing function.”