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PIA shares in-depth look at 2010 InterTech Award recipients

Aug 6, 2010 12:00 AM

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Pittsburgh, PA-based Printing Industries of America has released detailed information about the six technologies recently selected to receive a 2010 InterTech Technology Award.

An independent panel of judges deliberated over technology nominations which ranged from software solutions to press consumables and printing systems. Great strides in technology were demonstrated in inkjet, web-to-print, plate processing, and flexographic and offset print quality.

Technologies were selected for a variety of reasons, but the judges felt they all are truly innovative and expect them to have a major impact on the graphic communications industry.

Fujifilm ZAC Automated Controller Technology Module, Fujifilm North America, Graphic Systems Division

Fujifilm's ZAC software technology offers high levels of control over plate processing. On a continual basis, the ZAC references an algorithm to determine if the processed area per elapsed period of time requires a replenishment cycle. If replenishment is required, the ZAC adds only the proper amount of replenishment that corresponds to the processor activity to keep the system in control. Judges liked how this process focuses on adaptive feedback in the processing of plates, resulting in more consistent plates. It also offers a large return on investment thanks to the money saved on chemicals. Since it reduces chemical waste, it also gives printers an opportunity to highlight their environmental efforts while requiring no change in workflow.

Hiflex Webshop Web2Print System, Hiflex Corp. of North America

Hiflex Webshop Web2Print System utilizes the power of the open source Drupal content management system. This use of Drupal removes the restrictions forced on users by proprietary Web2Print systems. Now, rather than having limited ability to add, remove, or restructure storefront elements and functionality, users can build websites as vast and customized as they want. This innovative approach leverages the strength of thousands of independent Drupal applications developed by countless programmers. The Hiflex software provides users with the tools to completely edit their storefronts, while managing the look and feel of them with Drupal. What won the judges over was the idea of "open source." "Custom on a dime, without a fleet of programmers," as one judge put it.

Kodak Digicap NX Screening, Eastman Kodak Co.

Kodak Digicap NX Screening addresses the longstanding issue of ink transfer efficiency in flexographic printing, particularly in the solid areas. The screening software applies a micro surface texturization pattern to the surface of all elements on the Kodak Flexcel NX Digital Flexographic Plate. This process translates into more efficient ink transfer that provides higher print densities, smooth solids, and an expanded color gamut with process printing. The result is gravure-quality printing on a flexographic press--all without the barrier of entry, leading one judge to comment, "It is a development that now allows flexography to truly compete on a quality level with rotogravure for flexible packaging."

Kodak Prosper S10 Imprinting System, Eastman Kodak Co.

The KODAK PROSPER S10 Imprinting System offers a great combination of image quality and high productivity for personalizing direct mail and transactional documents. Integrating this technology into a variety of web offset presses and in-line finishing equipment allows commercial printers to leverage their existing assets, grow new markets, and gain higher value for direct marketing jobs. The KODAK PROSPER S10 Imprinting System opens the door to 600 × 600 dpi resolution, at 1000 fpm, on a variety of commodity, matte, and gloss coated stocks. "Managing the interaction between the paper and ink drying that these high speeds and this resolution is a huge advancement," a judge said.

Prinect Inspection Control, Heidelberg USA Inc.

The Prinect Inspection Control is an integrated in-line defect detection system, available for the Speedmaster CD 102, CX 102 and XL 105. By placing two high-resolution cameras in the coating unit printing errors such as hickeys, missing print, and scumming can be caught as they occur. Defects trigger a signal lamp, the insertion of a defect tab, and the defect is displayed on the console screen for the operator to correct. The system is able to identify flaws as small as .3mm, approximately the size of a period in 6 point type. The judges liked that the tolerance of detection could be set by the printer. Commenting on the effectiveness of the technology, a judge said, "This is a step forward for pharmaceutical and cosmetic packaging and other products that require error-free production."

Super Blue 3, Printing Research Inc.

The Super Blue 3 is a transfer cylinder blanket made up of polymer-based threads that provides an extraordinary amount of impressions without marking and the need for cleaning. Chemical, heat, and wear resistant, it prevents marking by wrapping the cylinder in two layers consisting of a specially coated cylinder base cover and a polymer–based net material. The cylinder base cover eliminates static, and the net provides a cushion for the sheet as they move together with the cylinder. Judges honored this technology because of its endurance and the ability to update older presses. "You had to clean and replace the original Super Blue frequently, but this has much higher performance levels,” a judge said. “It gives you much more than ten times the durability producing significant cost savings."

The InterTech star, recognized as a symbol of technological innovation and excellence, will be presented to winners before an audience of industry leaders during the 2010 Printing Industries of America Premier Print Awards and InterTech Awards Gala, October 3 during Graph Expo 2010 in Chicago.