The Ryedale Group was named overall winner of the Stationers' Company's Innovation Excellence Awards yesterday. It secured the accolade having developed a means of litho printing electronic circuitry onto plastic using conductive inks. The technology has been applied to the development and manufacture of a low-cost gas sensor with significant potential in the health industry.
This is the first Innovation Excellence Awards Programme run by the Stationers' Company and a further ten companies from 24 entries were also recognised as winners for their ground-breaking developments. These included breakthroughs in the paper, ink, printing, publishing, advertising, marketing, copyright licensing and packaging sectors.
Many of the entries took advantage of digital technology and the internet and there were also a number of entries which focused on developments within the traditional spheres of printing and packaging. Sustainable development also featured in the mix of entries with examples of paper and card recycling and weight reductions in plastic packaging.
Ryedale Group's managing director John Buffoni was elated. He paid tribute to his colleagues at the North Yorkshire plant: "We are a small company but we have a fantastic team and a culture that is about succeeding even in difficult conditions."
The judges believe that the Ryedale Group invention has the potential to be genuinely game-changing in print, electronics, and manufacturing. It was deemed to be an innovation at the frontier of printing technology and with a clear business delivery plan The technology has been applied to the development and manufacture of a low-cost gas sensor and will initially be used for health industry applications. Mr Buffoni sees further opportunities in future, for instance in the food and security sectors.
All the companies who secured innovation awards were presented with certificates by outgoing Stationers' Company Master Tom Hempenstall (his final official role) and were interviewed on stage by BBC In Business presenter and one of the Innovation Excellence Awards' judges, Peter Day.
Mr Day admitted it was not easy to compare the many innovations nominated since they not only covered a wide spectrum of applications but were all at different stages of development. However, he and his fellow judges did come to a common consensus on the winners.
The judges included representation from the Stationers' Company, The Technology Strategy Board (within the Business, Innovation and Skills Department of the UK Government) and the BBC. They evaluated the entries on the bases of creativity, economic prospects, social impact and sustainability.
Awards organiser Tony Mash added: "The aim of the competition was to recognise the exceptional level of product and business creativity in the £75bn Communications and Content industry, the sector served by the Stationers' Company. We wanted to highlight outstanding innovations capable of generating future growth and prosperity for the companies concerned. The response has been excellent and the celebratory lunch at Stationers' Hall was a sell out."
The other award winners were:
Banner Business Services: A leader in closed loop recycling with a viable business plan. An example for other industries to emulate.
Bloomsbury Publishing: Drama Online, a higher education content platform which the judges said offered an innovative collaborative approach responding to the challenge of online retailing. A successful business migration following blockbuster success.
Bright Red Publishing: Digital Zone, educational foundation for the next generation. Awarded for rising to the occasion and drawing on digital technology to meet the needs of the education system in Scotland.
Copyright Licensing Agency: "Title Search API" (application programme interface) and mobile app. A simple, effective and essential aid to a wide population that clarifies an otherwise confused picture.
Fujifilm Specialty Ink Systems: Zero waste to landfill and significant cost reduction. The skilled deployment of a well engineered change programme. A great example of manufacturing best practice at work that ensures survival in a tough market place.
James Cropper: Saving 2.5 million disposable coffee cups from landfill. Breakthrough technology that offers significant sustainable development prospects.
LINPAC Packaging: Rfresh Elite tray for meat packers. For technical innovation that offers significant sustainable development in a highly competitive and regulated marketplace.
Mendeley: Free reference manager and academic social network. For developing an innovative method of organising, sharing, and collaborating research work
Nosy Crow: Apps to tell stories and provide information to children. A creative use of multimedia apps for screen-savvy children
TouchPress: App creation for supplementary education. Awarded for redefining the book through interactive App products to enhance the reading experience.