FTA announced three winners of its 2019 Technical Innovation Award held in New Orleans, LA during Forum & INFOFLEX 2019 being held in New Orleans. The award honors those who have helped in continuing to advance the flexographic industry toward exceptional performance, productivity and efficiency.

In the Heavy Metal category, a 2019 Technical Innovation Award went to Paper Converting Machine Co (PCMC) for SteadyPrint, a combination of hardware and software that reduces bounce, improves press speeds by 200 to 400 percent and reduces waste by 35 percent. In addition, SteadyPrint eliminates overimpression and can print bounce jobs with a light kiss between rolls through a wide range of press speeds. It has less press vibration and noise, mandrel bearings that operate at a cooler temperature and continuous printing through different speed ranges without adjusting impression, while delivering real-time feedback on print quality by implementing a disturbance-canceling algorithm on the software side.

In the Prepress Graphics category, a 2019 Technical Innovation Award went to Esko for its Print Control Wizard (PCW), a wizard-driven software used in prepress that automates the role of the color expert. It generates perfect screens and curves for any application, allowing for plates to be exactly the same. The company worked closely with plate manufacturers from around the world for nearly two years to build an accurate database of specifications for PCW, outputting screen algorithms called Esko Crystal Screens. What would typically take more than an hour to do, can now be done in 10 to 15 minutes on average.

In the Prepress - Pressroom category, a 2019 Technical Innovation Award was given to Koenig & Bauer Flexotecnica for Augmented Reality-DataGlass Remote Support. It provides remote support personnel the ability to experience what a printer’s technical team sees and hears in real time, improving the time in which technicians can fix issues and instantly provide support. The project took approximately 18 months to create, modify and rework parts of the hardware and software so it can work with different devices and machines. The device has a noise-canceling microphone, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, and battery built into a band that wraps around the sides and back of a press technician’s head with a camera mounted over the right eye to allow for hands-free operation. This innovation has reduced the number of on-site service calls and provides remote support with a clear understanding of what parts to bring along if an on-site visit is still necessary. Plus, calls are recorded and accessible for the technician to watch and rewatch, if needed.

Trophies were given to a representative from each company, accepting the honor as FTA commemorated achievements made for all three groundbreaking new technologies. FTA congratulates all organizations that entered this year’s competition.

Chartered in 1958, FTA is a professional society dedicated to bringing all members of the flexographic printing community—printers, suppliers, consumer product companies, institutions, prepress houses and others–together by providing opportunities for the free exchange of technical ideas and discussion of mutual concerns. It is a proponent of maintaining and advancing quality standards and includes 1,350 member sites that represent more than 35,000 individuals. Foundation of FTA, founded in 1974, is the educational arm of FTA and is dedicated to supporting and advancing the flexographic printing industry.