The independent panel of judges deliberated over technology nominations that showcased the dynamic and innovative nature of the industry. The judges singled out the following technologies as meeting the award criteria of being truly innovative and expected to have a major impact on the graphic communications industry. The recipient technologies are listed below alphabetically by company:
printQ 3D Packaging Design, CloudLab Sales & Management GmbH
CloudLab's printQ 3D Packaging Design adds the ability to create and order packaging for eCommerce print solutions. All sorts of graphical content and customizable sizes and shapes of cartons and other packaging products are possible. Clients are able to see a dynamic 3D visualization of their designed package immediately. Production files are then automatically created and sent to the converter's workflow based on user-defined values.
EFI Nozomi C18000 Press, EFI
Nozomi is a 71-inch (1.8-meter) wide inkjet press, printing up to 246 linear feet per minute onto all types of corrugated sheets. It can be configured to print brilliant graphics in four or six colors (CMYK + orange and violet). This is one of the first digital presses to be specifically built for the unique requirements of corrugated production.
ScreenPro, Global Graphics Software
The ScreenPro screening engine significantly improves inkjet print quality by obscuring quality defects inherent with inkjet heads, such as chaining and mottling. Two types of screens are available to address the challenges of substrate absorbency. In both cases, screening patterns change based on density levels and drop sizes. ScreenPro is available to any inkjet press manufacturer.
Primefire 106, Heidelberg
Primefire 106 is a 40-inch (B1 size) sheetfed inkjet press capable of producing high-quality images on a wide range of substrates. The judges liked that it uses Heidelberg’s existing press platform and prepress workflow, making it easily added into sheetfed pressrooms. Designed with carton producers in mind, Primefire can image seven colors at 1200 dpi and reproduce 95% of Pantone spot colors. The quality monitoring system is impressive and helps achieve a high level of uptime.
HP Indigo Pack Ready Lamination, HP Inc.
HP Indigo Pack Ready Lamination technology creates a laminate film without the use of adhesives and the need for cure time, enabling immediate conversion to sealed pouches. The process uses a film with a heat-activated thermal active layer so that it bonds instantly to the HP Indigo ElectroInk printed layer. The judges could clearly see that the innovation provides a new way for converters to pursue short-run opportunities.
Rapida LiveApp, Koenig & Bauer
LiveApp enables the control and maintenance of Rapida sheetfed offset presses via a mobile device. The app lets operators start, stop, and make press adjustments when away from the console. Judges pointed to the maintenance feature that makes it easy to document issues and communicate them to Koenig & Bauer. The app houses pre-loaded training videos, equipment manuals, and the ability to add company-specific SOPs. There is also a clever inventory management system that monitors material usage, down to individual lot numbers.
Anti-Fluting Plate Technology for Corrugated, MacDermid Graphics Solutions
The displeasing washboard effect caused by the hills and valleys of flutes and the presence of board crush during direct printing on corrugated substrates has plagued printers for years. MacDermid’s photopolymer plate technology combats this with a built-in flat-top dot shape tailored for corrugated that eliminates the need for inert gas or laminating a membrane or the use of exposure systems.
JETvarnish 3D Web, MGI Digital Technology
Judges saw the ability to add stunning embellishment effects to labels and flexible packaging substrates via a digital narrow-web process as a game changer. The JETvarnish 3D Web roll-to-roll solution can produce 2D/3D dimensional, tactile textures, and personalized, embossed foil in one pass without dies or expensive tooling, A flexo primer coating unit and corona treatment station are integrated inline. The result is a new range of eye-catching effects that enhance the branded shelf impact of bottles and containers.
4-Step Sleeking Process, Nobelus
Sleeking bonds metallic foils and spot coatings to digital ink, mostly HP Indigo inks. Heat and pressure from a Sleeking laminator cause the foils and films to adhere. The most recent innovation uses a laminate over the initial printed layer that can be overprinted with ink and foil, creating contrasts and special effects. The special silver foil can even be printed on to produce other foil colors.
The latest generation of Techkon’s handheld spectrophotometer raises the bar for color measurement devices. The combination of super-fast measurement speeds heightened intelligence that requires less tethering, user-changeable apertures, and a built-in mode for color bar scanning won the judges over. A unique feature is InkCheck, which gives press operators specific ink density adjustments to obtain the lowest deltaE color match. Add the human factor design and simplicity of use and the judges foresee SpectroDens4 becoming the spectrophotometer of choice in many pressrooms.
Xerox Iridesse Production Press, Xerox Corporation
Xerox’s new production press can lay down six colors in a single pass, including CMYK, gold, silver, or clear, with spot-on registration at 120 pages per minute. The fact that users can quickly swap ink positions makes its capability for producing stunning specialty effects even greater. Super sharp images can be printed in Ultra HD resolution. The judges recognized Iridesse for innovative engineering and being able to do things that no other digital production press can do.
Circle PersonalEffect Edition, XMPie, a Xerox Company
Circle PersonalEffect Edition is software for designing, deploying, and measuring personalized omnichannel marketing campaigns. It allows all communication, both digital and print, to be automated. With it, print service providers can transform their businesses by offering complete marketing programs. At the heart of Circle is a customer journey diagram that articulates the flow of the customer experience, including touch points, filters, and design specifications.