GATF Announces 2004 InterTech Award WinnersJuly 2004
Finishing Experts Group, Inc.
A first-of-its-kind industry resource and the product of seven years of intense field research, FOLDRite is the most comprehensive brochure folding classification system ever created. It aims to standardize the folding process by establishing naming conventions and clarifying folding terminology. In offering the potential to standardize the language and math behind mechanical brochure folding, it helps pave the way for JDF integration and other technological advancements in postpress and prepress. "We should encourage this standardization," remarked one judge.
FloClear Fountain Solution Recycling System
Using a combination of filtration, separation, and adsorption technology to trap contaminants, FloClear cleans and restores the fountain solution used in web and sheetfed press dampening systems to a fresh-mixed condition. Adopters report extending the usable life of their fountain solution for six months or more; not needing to change fountain solution when switching between hybrid, UV, and conventional inks; being able to run metallics and white inks without changing fountain solution; and significantly reducing the cost of hauling away waste fountain solution. More than one judge said, "I'm going to buy it!"
Genicap Corporation NV
This revolutionary series of software plug-ins and stand-alone products uses a recently discovered algorithm (the Gielis Superformula) to simplify the core technology used to define and create simple and complex shapes, both symmetrical and nonsymmetrical, in 2D and 3D. The software significantly increases the speed of design generation and production. In addition to enhancing a designer's creativity, the software improves workflow by reducing file size by as much as 1,000 times, making it easier to work with and transfer graphics files. As one judge remarked, "Brilliant! It's off the charts in terms of innovation."
Inline Diecutting Unit for Speedmaster SM 52
Heidelberg USA, Inc.
Designed to meet the needs of small-format commercial markets, a rotary inline diecutting unit for the Speedmaster SM 52 lets printers finish 20-inch work on the press in a single pass at press speed (up to 15,000 sheets per hour). The diecutting unit can handle finishing operations such as scoring, slitting, punching, or perforating. Stocks of any thickness can be scored, up to the maximum that the Speedmaster SM 52 can handle. Dies are mounted with magnets instead of clamps, and waste is removed automatically. "Perfect for the printer who is finding more and more customers asking for elaborately finished small-format work," noted a judge.
Hammermill Color Copy Gloss
This gloss-coated paper can reliably run in electrophotographic printers and copiers. It overcomes the shortcomings of blistering and feeding jams in equipment, giving small and medium-size commercial printers the flexibility of digital printing as well as photocopying on a gloss sheet. The patent-pending high-quality paper has an aqueous undercoat layer and an aqueous overcoat layer. Small and medium-size commercial printers now have an efficient, cost-effective way to take on short-run jobs on gloss stock. "There is a phenomenal amount of technology (10 years) in this paper," said a judge.
Rollin Stabil X Offset Blanket Technology
MacDermid Printing Solutions
The first significant advancement in blankets since the arrival of the compressible layer in the 1960s, Stabil X replaces traditional nitrile rubber and cotton fabric with polymers and high-tech synthetic fibers. The bottom line: consistent print quality over the blanket life (twice that of a traditional blanket), fewer blanket changes, no sinking and re-torquing, reduced blanket consumption and blanket wash cycles, unmatched dimensional stability, and more environmentally friendly than any other blanket on the market. According to one judge, "This is the future standard for blankets."
VISION 3 Engraving Head
Max Daetwyler Corporation
The engraving head is the core of a gravure cylinder engraving machine. The VISION 3 head increases publication and packaging printer productivity by using electronic sensing and the highest engraving speeds available to provide both speed and cell depth. Advanced electronics also make possible a new level of hysteresis correction, and the head also features digital midtone correction. The VISION 3 is compatible with engraving equipment already in production, and it can be retrofitted to other machines. "It provides the quality of security printing," noted a judge.
Applause No-Process Thermal Plates
Users of the Applause no-process digital printing plate consistently mentioned excellent press performance and print results along with significant savings in platemaking operations. The plate consists of a hydrophilic ceramic coating (titanium carbide) applied to an ink-receptive substrate (polyester film). A thermal laser physically removes (ablates) the coating to reveal the ink-receptive image layer. Plates go directly from the platesetter to the press. Besides eliminating multiple plate processing steps, the technology also eliminates all cost centers associated with purchasing, storing, using, and disposing of chemistry. As one judge said, "You can see the innovation in this truly processless plate."
United States Postal Service
The Postal Service's Confirm Service provides mailers with near real-time knowledge about where their incoming and outgoing mail is in the mailstream. Mailers use a special PLANET Code barcode on their mailpieces. When mail pieces with PLANET Codes are processed, electronic records are created that can be sent directly to the mailer or accessed online from a website. Mailers also have the option of "seeding" their mailings with PLANET-coded pieces (e.g., one per mail tray) rather than printing the codes on every piece. "This is a huge benefit for the direct marketing industry," commented one judge.
iGen3 Digital Production Press
The xerographic color press delivers new dimensions in imaging, paper handling, and process control to meet the demands of high-quality, short-run, four-color, and variable data printing at reasonable prices. The press offers a cost-effective alternative to offset in the short-run color market. The Xerox SmartPress Technology includes automatic makeready and collation, the ability to mix stocks within a run, built-in intelligence to maintain color and registration, and variable information printing. Most notable to this year's judges were the print quality and inline finishing capabilities. "The quality is here—along with customer service," said a judge.
This modular software suite makes it possible for direct marketers and corporate marketing professionals to efficiently create dynamic, variable documents for cross-media use. Output streams can be generated for print, email, the Web, and mobile devices. The software (uPlan, uCreate, uProduce) separates personalized document design into three independent, yet ultimately integrated, activities: design, logic, and data. This separation permits correcting or revising one element, (e.g., the database) without disturbing another (e.g., the design). As one judge put it, "It simplifies the entire process for anyone; I haven't seen anything that makes it as easy as this."
About the GATF InterTech Technology Awards
The Graphic Arts Technical Foundation ( GATF) has sponsored the InterTech Technology Awards as a service to the graphic communications industry since 1978. The award's mission is "to honor excellence in innovative technology for the graphic communications industry." In fulfilling this mission, the InterTech Awards focus attention on trends and technologies that an independent panel of judges deems will, over the next five years, have a major impact on the quality of products printers manufacture for their customers, on the speed at which printers can produce their products, and on the profitability, services, capabilities, and markets these technologies can bring to printers.