The 2020 InterTech Technology Awards: Innovations Worth Knowing About
The InterTech Technology Awards, sponsored by PRINTING United Alliance, have been a harbinger of technology shifts since their introduction in 1978. The annual awards highlight innovative technologies that are judged as likely to make a significant impact on at least a sector of the printing industries. The awards are not given to technologies with excellent engineering or the best reviews, but instead to those judged as important and meaningful technological advances.
The 2020 InterTech Technology Award Winners
This year, 11 technologies were singled out by the panel of independent judges:
- Customer's Canvas — Aurigma
- EFI Reggiani BOLT — EFI
- Esko Trapper — Esko
- GMG ColorCard — GMG
- HP Indigo 100K Digital Press — HP Inc.
- HP PageWide Web Press T240 HD with an inline H&B ExcelCoat Web Coater — HP Inc.
- KODAK PROSPER QD Packaging Inks and Film Optimizer Agent — Kodak
- Komori GLX40RP Double-Sided Press — Komori America Corporation
- Uteco Sapphire EVO M Press — Uteco and Kodak
- Xerox Baltoro HF Inkjet Press — Xerox Corporation
- Navigator DFE — Xitron LLC
Customer's Canvas — Aurigma
Customer’s Canvas reduces the cost and complexity of developing online storefronts that require online design customization. It’s adjustable to virtually any ordering workflow, supports Adobe file templates, and can be integrated into a workflow automation strategy. The judges recognized its ability to put powerful customization capabilities in the hands of many more printing companies, furthering the use of web-to-print solutions.
EFI Reggiani BOLT — EFI
The judges believe this single-pass inkjet textile printer has the potential to revolutionize the world of printed fabrics. With speeds up to 295 fpm and a 72” print width, it significantly raises the crossover point between digital and analog processes. The impressive print quality and the option to include analog stations allow customers to address their full range of design needs. It substantially reduces environmental impact compared to conventional textile printing processes.
Esko Trapper — Esko
The cynics said it couldn’t be done — an automated trapping solution for packaging that not only judges a trap based on the color situation, but also based on objects. The novel algorithm eliminates misregister gaps and accommodates individual exceptions, making trapping jobs considerably faster by removing manual intervention. As the judges noted, this is a step above any instant and power trapping tool available today.
GMG ColorCard — GMG
This cloud-based software uses advanced, spectral-based color technology to print accurate visual color references on a digital inkjet printer. GMG ColorCard simulates both the target color and the appearance qualities of the intended printing process and substrate. Compared to manual ink drawdowns, the judges found the ability of GMG ColorCard to save time and reduce cost compelling. Judges also noted that it ensures digital precision and repeatability, and requires no specialized expertise.
HP Indigo 100K Digital Press — HP Inc.
The first Series 5 HP Indigo, the HP Indigo 100K Digital Press produces up to 6,000 B2 sph, giving it the highest digital B2-sheet (29.5x20.81”/750x530 mm) throughput in the commercial printing market. The 30% faster engine process speed and the dramatic increase in throughput grabbed the judges’ attention. Clever engineering changes include a five-source feeding system, a continuous stacking mechanism, offset-like grippers for paper feeding, and smart color measurement system.
HP PageWide Web Press T240 HD with an inline H&B ExcelCoat Web Coater — HP Inc.
HP partnered with Harris and Bruno to integrate a web coater with HP’s 22” inkjet web press. The coater can apply aqueous or UV-cured coating on one or both sides of the web at full press speed. Operators can switch coatings quickly (under seven minutes for same coating type). Being able to coat inline at press speeds, judges concluded, gives commercial and direct mail printers another reason to take advantage of inkjet press technology.
KODAK PROSPER QD Packaging Inks and Film Optimizer Agent — Kodak
Being able to print water-based pigment ink on flexible film at high speeds is an undeniable advancement, said the judges. Novel chemistry is the basis of the breakthrough. Rather than having different ink sets for each substrate, Kodak’s primer (optimizer agent) allows printing on diverse substrates with equivalent print quality. The ink is approved for indirect food contact, and printed film can be processed into composite film with high bond strength.
Komori GLX40RP Double-Sided Press — Komori America Corporation
The judges were impressed not only with the idea of a “reverse printer,” but how Komori made it a sophisticated reality. The 29x41” GLX40RP prints the bottom and the top of a sheet in a single pass without turning the sheet over. It handles thicker substrates better than a long perfector, and saves paper since only one gripper margin is required. It can be configured in different ways, including with coaters in the middle.
Uteco Sapphire EVO M Press — Uteco and Kodak
Using Kodak Stream continuous inkjet technology, Sapphire EVO M is the fastest digital solution for flexible packaging, printing process color on a variety of films at 650 fpm (faster still on paper). Its speed and 24.5” print width, along with flexo-white and post-coater options, makes it a suitable alternative to flexo for many jobs. The judges were unanimous — the press is a true innovation, and they expect to make an impact.
Xerox Baltoro HF Inkjet Press — Xerox Corporation
Baltoro was invented to make production inkjet widely accessible — 14.33x20” format, smaller footprint, less energy use than comparable presses, and affordable for more companies. It can produce up to 300 duplex letter ipm with no need for a priming solution. Automated color control makes it easy to operate, and unique ink saving features help keep running cost low. The frame and paper path are adapted from Xerox’s flagship iGen press.
Navigator DFE — Xitron LLC
Xitron’s new digital front end (DFE) technology gives inkjet press manufacturers a faster path to market. Accessing the power of a full DFE with the ease of a print driver, operators use a browser-based interface to prepare jobs, manage color accuracy, and drive their press at full rated speed, even with variable data on every page. Judges found the entire package innovative.
These are technologies to keep your eyes on, and to be aware of the technological shifts that they signal. The future belongs to savvy companies that can service customers with the most suitable technology, and capitalize on the use of innovative software and equipment to create new products and services, more efficiencies, faster turnaround time, and improved quality.
Jim Workman recently retired after a career that spanned 40 years, first with Graphic Arts Technical Foundation, then Printing Industries of America, and most recently, PRINTING United Alliance. He managed the Continuous Improvement Conference for most of its 32-year existence.