10 technologies selected for 2008 awards.
Platinum White Technology, Sun Chemical Corporation (www.sunchemical.com): Platinum White Technology ink is a low-shear, silicone-free, low-viscosity, UV flexo white ink that provides the same aesthetics as rotary screen whites with a single application. UV rotary screen white inks have long provided high opacity and brightness for package printing; however, rotary screen printers are restricted to low press speeds and sometimes borderline adhesion to many substrates. In addition, flexo or letterpress inks printed over them usually require modification for optimal wetting and adhesion.
Platinum White Technology improves on rotary screen technology by enabling increased press speeds, adhesion to many challenging substrates, overprint ability with standard UV letterpress, UV and water-based flexo inks and coatings, better color separations, faster makeready times, and reduced consumable costs. Flexo plate costs are also considerably lower than the cost of easily damaged rotary screens.
Judges noted that Platinum White Technology will have a positive economic impact on flexo printers and praised the improvements in opacity and speed offered by this ink.
Polar P.A.C.E. Cutting Systems, Heidelberg USA, Inc. (www.heidelberg.com): Through automatic loading, turning, aligning, and cutting of paper lifts without manual intervention, Heidelberg's Polar P.A.C.E. Cutting Systems allow for fast throughput with less operators while achieving high quality standards. With P.A.C.E. Cutting Systems, cutting becomes an automated process; operators are no longer fatigued from manual labor, and there is significantly less risk of injury. Benefits of the P.A.C.E. Cutting Systems include increased productivity, reduced labor costs, economic cutting, ergonomic handling, high flexibility, minimum make-ready, and minimal operator fatigue.
Judges were impressed with its fail-safe interface, ergonomic improvements for operators, and productivity and resultant labor cost savings.
Prinect Inpress Control, Heidelberg USA, Inc. (www.heidelberg.com): Prinect Inpress Control is a fully integrated device for the sheetfed press that provides inline measurement and analysis of color using spectrophotometry while the press is in full production. The system also features automatic registration control. Prinect Inpress Control enables measurement and control during makeready and production without stopping the press to pull sheets for analysis and follow-up. Measurement results (up to eight colors per side) are delivered directly to the Prinect Press Center, where any color deviation from desired standards is automatically determined and the appropriate adjustments are immediately delivered simultaneously to all printing units. This results in not only higher press utilization, but also more even and consistent quality throughout the production run. The system is available for the Speedmaster CD 74, XL 75, and XL 105 series presses.
Prinect Inpress Control was lauded by judges for its ability to allow maximum color control at full speed.
Kodak Flexcel NX Digital Flexographic System, Kodak Graphic Communications Group (www.graphics.kodak.com): The Kodak Flexcel NX Digital Flexographic System is an integrated digital flexographic prepress system consisting of an imager, plates, laminator, and workflow. It produces plates that are capable of producing consistent, predictable, and repeatable results for a full tonal range up to 300 lpi--results not currently possible with digital or analog flexographic technology, Kodak reports. The Flexcel NX System accurately and consistently images dots as small as 10 microns onto the thermal imaging layer, which is then transferred to the plate via lamination, ensuring an exact one-to-one reproduction of the dots from the layer to the plate, even for the smallest dots. The lamination process also creates stable, flat-top dots on the plate, which reduce make-ready time, improve print consistency on press, allow print jobs to stay on color, increase plate life, and provide repeatability on subsequent print runs.
Judges were impressed with the vast improvement in resolution, stability, quality, and productivity for digital flexographic platemaking.
The InterTech star awards will be presented before during the 2008 PIA/GATF Premier Print Awards Gala, October 26, in Chicago during Graph Expo .A technology review booklet showcasing all 28 of the current year's entries will be released in the fall; the booklet will also be available on www.intertechaward.com.