The toppers at the 2020 InterTech Technology Award - The Noel D'Cunha Sunday Column

This year, 11 technologies were chosen to receive a 2020 InterTech Technology Award, a program of the Printing Industries of America that first began in 1978.

The awards highlighted the performance of inkjet presses, digital enhancement and the importance of online store fronts and colour manipulation.

This Sunday Column celebrates technology that make a difference. Read on....

27 Sep 2020 | By Noel D'Cunha

Customer's Canvas – Aurigma
Customer’s Canvas technology reduces the cost and complexity of developing online storefronts that require online design customisation. 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 customisation 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 feet per minute and a 72-inch print width, it significantly raises the crossover point between digital and analogue processes. The impressive print quality and the option to include analogue 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 colour 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 colour technology to print accurate visual colour references on a digital inkjet printer. GMG ColorCard simulates both the target colour 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 
The first Series 5 HP Indigo press,the HP Indigo 100K Digital Press produces up to 6,000 B2 sheets per hour, giving it the highest digital B2-sheet (29.5x20.81 in/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 5-source feeding system, a continuous stacking mechanism, offset-like grippers for paper feeding, and smart colour 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-inch-wide 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 7 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 optimiser 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 (optimiser 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 
The judges were impressed not only with the idea of a “reverse printer,” but how Komori made it a sophisticated reality. The 29x41-in. 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 colour on a variety of films at 650 feet per minute (faster still on paper).Its speed and 24.5-inch 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 expected to make an impact.

Xerox Baltoro HF inkjet press - Xerox Corporation
Baltoro was invented to make production inkjet widely accessible—14.33x20-in. format, smaller footprint and less energy use than comparable presses, and affordable for more companies. It can produce up to 300 duplex letter images per minute with no need for a priming solution. Automated colour control makes it easy to operate and unique ink saving features helps keep running cost low. The frame and paper path are adapted from Xerox’s flagship iGen press.

Navigator DFE - Xitron
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 colour 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.