Seven best-in-class printing industry technologies recognised at Pinnacle InterTech Awards

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PRINTING United Alliance, the most comprehensive member-based printing and graphic arts association in the U.S., has announced the recipients of the prestigious Pinnacle InterTech Awards Program.

The PRINTING United Alliance Pinnacle InterTech Awards Program recognizes best-in-class products created for and by the printing industry. The Pinnacle InterTech Awards are open exclusively to PRINTING United Alliance supplier members and, this year, judges selected seven award recipients.

The Pinnacle InterTech Award program celebrates the inventiveness of suppliers and recognizes technology advancing our industry,” says Dawn Nye, program manager, PRINTING United Alliance. “The judges had the tough task of singling out breakthrough innovations from many excellent entries. We congratulate all who participated and those who were designated with this award.”

The Pinnacle InterTech Awards exemplify new technology that is deemed by veteran industry judges to be truly innovative and likely to have a significant impact on printing and graphics companies. The seven technologies selected to receive a 2022 Pinnacle InterTech Award are as follows (listed alphabetically by company, with the technology named first):

Barbieri Electronic for Barbieri Spectro LFP qb textile edition:

The “Spectro LFP qb Textile Edition” is the worldwide unique spectrophotometer for automated color measurement for digital textile printing including dye-sublimation and direct-to-garment printing.

Without Color Management printing accurate color on textiles is almost impossible. Color management, including calibration and ICC profiling involves measurement of several hundreds of patches and dedicated color charts. Accurate color measurement on digitally

 printed textile materials is challenging and often almost impossible. Color charts are often distorted and therefore difficult to fix.

The innovative Spectro LFP qb textile edition comes with unique features for accurate, fast and reliable color measurement on textiles. It has dedicated software and accessories which makes it possible to measure fully automatically and with highest precision and repeatability on any kind of textiles and fabrics. Heart piece of the technology is the vision technology, a camera and software detect the center of each patch to be measured and the measurements will be done fully automatically in scan mode – even if the chart is distorted.

A special sample holder for textiles fixes the textile firmly, thus eliminates the pain on how to fix a textile or fabric properly to allow it to be measured. An integrated air blowing system helps to blow out dust and fibers from inside the optics to keep it clean and guarantees constant accuracy. The battery-operated measurement head can be detached for manual spot measurements and results sent to the computer.

Canon Production Printing for Canon FLXfinish+:

FLXfinish+ is an important new technology for Canon’s Colorado printers that simultaneously leverages the properties of UVgel ink, a patent-pending printing technique and asymmetrical curing to simultaneously produce variable matte/gloss within any print. FLXfinish+ produces dramatically different reflectivity within a print, independent of the media. Any image can be used to print matte and gloss simultaneously without using varnish! FLXfinish+ is geometrically precise since it is digitally defined, is easy to execute since it has no chemical dependencies or substances and is uniquely cost-efficient since it doesn’t require varnish or additional hardware. FLXfinish+ allows operators to act as if their Colorado printer is equipped with varnish to produce any application that normally requires varnish including matte/gloss wall coverings, decals, corrugated cardboard labels, packaging prototypes and more, all with distinct gloss and matte areas within each print. Built on several Canon technologies FLXfinish+ relies on the passive dot-gain control of UVgel ink, a unique print architecture featuring disconnected, independent curing capability and a patent-pending asymmetrical printing technique.

FLXfinish+ can treat areas defined in a spot layer as either gloss or matte with respect to the background, as directed. Decorative gloss areas can be printed in a predominantly matte image or the inverse, in any combination and without consideration for the media or image. During printing, the image is divided into distinct matte and gloss data planes and the printheads virtually divided into halves. Matte data is printed by one half of each printhead and gloss data by the other half, much in the same way that White and Color inks are printed simultaneously. However, in order to create the different gloss effects asymmetrical curing must also be used. To do this, the printing and curing carriages are aligned and move in concert when printing a matte pass, to pin the image immediately after deposition and therefore reduce reflectivity, but move in opposition when printing a gloss pass to allow more time for the ink to flatten in profile before curing. This is only possible because UVgel can be allowed to rest on the media surface for an extended period before curing is initiated without concern for uncontrolled dot gain. This ability to create gloss level differential within an image, simultaneously, without using varnish is truly unique and promises to change the way producers integrate differential gloss in print projects.

Design ‘N’ Buy for DesignO:

Most of the web-to-print solutions that are available in the market are tightly coupled with their eCommerce technology whether proprietary or third-party. This means that either you adopt it all or nothing. However, DesignO’s API-based architecture makes it a pure plug-n-play web-to-print system that can be integrated with any front-end and backend systems for automating the whole process from product personalization to delivery.

Any PSP can easily integrate DesignO to work with their current ensemble of different software and systems without disturbing the existing IT infrastructure. DesignO uses SVG as artwork file format, thus making it globally acceptable and renders print-ready files in desired file formats suitable to different printing techniques.

Built on the latest technology frameworks like ReactJS and GraphQL, DesignO delivers very high performance and user experience of close to 1 second to 1.5 seconds of page load time on all web browsers and devices. DesignO design tool is fully mobile responsive and gives seamless artwork design and purchase experience on all devices (desktops, tablets, and smartphones).

Fast loading, optimized, and secured applications help printers to set up a powerful website, which leads to high performance and a better visitor-to-buyer conversion ratio. Thus, printers can enjoy an additional channel of generating revenues by keeping their production facility busy all the time by funneling short-run online orders in between bulk orders.

DesignO is available as a ready-to-install plug-in for most popular eCommerce platforms including but not limited to Magento, Shopify, BigCommerce, and WooCommerce.

Kodak for MAGNUS Q4800 Platesetter:

The robust, highly automated KODAK MAGNUS Q4800 platesetter with the extra-large format (XLF) Pallet Load automation offers industry-leading speed and productivity with stability, easy maintenance, and superior imaging quality for extra large format web printers. The device boasts the fastest throughput for XLF size plates for 96-page presses up to 2870 mm wide and market-leading throughput for 1,650 mm size plates with dual plate loading plus the most flexible pallet automation available with up to 8 plate sizes and 4,800 plates online. The configuration enables over 10,000 m2 of plates to run before reloading. As the largest CtP system on the market at almost 19 meters (62 feet) long and 3.5 meters (11.5 feet) wide, the MAGNUS Q4800 offers exceptional speed and productivity for extra-large format (XLF) platemaking. Automatic plate loading/unloading and automatic slip sheet removal for unattended operations drive maximum productivity and reduced labor costs. Combined with KODAK SQUARESPOT Imaging Technology the device provides unparalleled stability, accuracy, and reliability for maximum efficiency and superior print quality.

Vivid Laminating Technologies for VeloTaper:

The VeloBlade range of digital die-cutting systems can now be equipped with an innovative new automatic tape applicator called the VeloTaper. The VeloTaper is a fully automated flatbed taping system that applies double-sided tape accurately onto a variety of media and or substrates automatically in the designated spots. The result is a finished cut and creased product immediately ready for assembling.

A number of scenarios require double-sided tape to be laid onto sheet or roll materials to allow for later assembly or fixing. Traditionally this would be a manual and time-consuming task, and one that is subject to the inconsistencies typical of manual positioning.

The VeloTaper automated flatbed taping system makes light work of this task and taping can be performed at the same time as other processes such as cutting and creasing, for ready-to-assemble displays for example. The tape applicator is capable of automatically placing and cutting a range of double-sided tapes up to 22mm in width precisely along the X and Y axis. Now you can automatically cut, crease and tape all in one pass, freeing up your operator to complete other work.

The VeloTaper system is a patented innovation, designed and developed in-house by Vivid and a solution that can save a huge amount of time over manual hand application and costs. By using the fully automatic tape applicator, you can reduce operator dependency, eliminate tape waste and increase productivity.

W+D North America for W+D BB1000:

Winkler+Dünnebier again introduces another industry first with the all-new W+D BB1000. The BB1000 is a complete envelope letter mail production finishing + inserting system for existing press output from any digital press (inkjet or toner). The single converting and inserting workflow of the BB1000 speeds up the mailer’s time-to-mailbox while reducing production touch points for a completely personalized direct mail envelope letter package. The BB1000 produces real envelope mail packages – NOT A WRAP!

The process begins with the new ease-of-use envelope converting technology to create engaging, haptic, windowed, foiled envelopes from the digital preprint. As the preprinted envelope material is being converted in the enveloping section it is then securely “enveloped on the fly” around the content of the envelope. Using inserting technologies from the W+D BB700 and BB820 direct mail inserters, the completed envelope product is a mail package ready for induction into the USPS mail stream.

This new finishing solution for preprinted rolls delivers high-performance and ease of use in both converting and inserting to unleash the highest quality completed personalized direct mail package and can produce a variety of hard-to-insert sizes: a true with 5 x 7 card or 6 x 9 booklet with 8 7/8” BRE down to a #7 envelope.

The personalized outer envelope blanks are identified by a 2D code to facilitate camera matching of the envelope to the corresponding personalized inserts collated in the gathering section. The 2D code positioned on the leading edge of the blank or the upper part of the envelope back panel will eventually be covered and therefore hidden by the seal flap.

The personalized envelope is then turned over 180° and transported at a speed that is synchronized with that of the inserts traveling above to ensure their precise positioning allowing for a tight package with an optimized side clearance inside the envelope of only 3/16” for a 6 x 9 envelope with an 8 7/8” BRE.

W+D’s patented Auto Mismatch Recovery feature will auto-correct possible sequence errors which could be caused by missing address carriers from the bindery or by possibly spoiled blanks. Envelopes with no matching insert will be diverted in the enveloping module and inserts with no matching OE can be ejected into the divert on the track. The next matching pieces will be merged and the BB1000 will produce consistently without stopping and without operator intervention.

X-Rite Pantone for Mantis Video Targeting Technology:

The eXact 2 is a next-generation non-contact handheld spectrophotometer designed to bring the ink, print, and packaging workflow together in one device by directly connecting to a full ecosystem of software from color specification, ink formulation, and quality control software on the device screen. It features X-Rite’s new, patented Mantis video targeting technology to show the operator what is being measured. Using the device’s touch screen and “two taps or less” interface, operators can see the precise measurement spot, measure, and seamlessly verify customer requirements.

eXact 2 is the only spectrophotometer to deliver enhanced measurement accuracy using X-Rite’s Mantis video targeting technology. This patented technology uses a high-resolution camera and a 30% larger display to make it easy for operators to find the precise measurement area. Operators can see, zoom, and save each color patch image for inspection on the device screen which has twice the screen resolution than that of other spectrophotometers in its class.

Moreover, eXact 2 makes it easy to capture color data and seamlessly integrates with the X-Rite ecosystem of software via Wi-Fi from anywhere on the pressroom floor. Embedded software capabilities include X-Rite NetProfiler for device optimization, Ink Formulation Software, ColorCert Suite for print quality control and reporting, and PantoneLIVE for digital color specification and communication. This high-level connectivity enables printers to meet quality standards 17% faster.

eXact 2 comes with the new X-Rite Link platform, an intuitive cloud-based dashboard that provides real-time insights into device performance. From one central location, customers can verify the status of one or a fleet of devices and configure and distribute updates and libraries. With X-Rite Link device intelligence, operators can work with confidence that all devices are in top operating condition.

Besides, eXact 2 has a new adjustable tilt touch screen and an easy-to-use “two taps or less” menu structure. The Digital Loupe functionality provides dynamic zoom capabilities to capture and inspect the right spot to identify print defects and saves an image of the measurement. eXact 2 allows for non-contact measurements and can be used to measure wet ink to minimize contamination for increased accuracy, fewer re-measurements, and less substrate waste.

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