PRINTING United Alliance, the most comprehensive member-based printing and graphic arts association in the U.S., has recognized three Heidelberg technologies with its Pinnacle InterTech Awards (formerly the PIA InterTech Technology Awards) for 2021 – making it one of only two companies to receive multiple awards this year.
With thirteen awards presented overall, Heidelberg’s Hycolor Pro, PAT (Performance Advisor Technology), and Push-to-Stop in Folding technologies stood out amongst many entries from industry-leading companies. Since 1978, Heidelberg has received 42 awards, which is the most of any manufacturer in the industry.
“The Pinnacle InterTech Awards honor innovative technologies that are likely to have a significant impact on our industry,” said James Workman, VP of Research and Technology, PRINTING United Alliance. “After reviewing this year’s entries, the judges concluded that these Heidelberg technologies, with a focus on automation, will influence the future of print production – more specifically in aiding with the lack of skilled operators the industry will continue to face.”
Innovation Across Product Lines
For Heidelberg, the awards reflect the company’s continuous innovations across its product lines. “We’re particularly proud of our accomplishments this year,” said Clarence Penge, Executive Vice President for Product Management for Heidelberg USA. “Being presented with awards in different product areas that integrate our offerings across press, postpress, and people shows our commitment to helping our customers gain efficiency not just in certain areas of production but throughout their businesses as a whole.”
On its newest generation of Speedmaster presses, Heidelberg has introduced Hycolor Pro as part of the Heidelberg User Experience (UX). With Hycolor Pro, the press uses a digital monitoring system to remotely adjust dampening settings while the press is running. Hycolor Pro reduces the press operator’s workload through its user-friendly operation and increases production reliability, all while being connected remotely.
Using artificial intelligence, Heidelberg’s Performance Advisor Technology (PAT) monitors the printing process, detects deviations, and suggests suitable optimization measures for users to improve their performance. Available in the Heidelberg Assistant platform, PAT shows benefits and savings visually via easily digestible charts and data. PAT can even monitor the performance of individual press operators, provide recommendations, and observe whether the recommendations have a real impact on performance.
On the finishing side, Heidelberg has extended its Push-to-Stop philosophy in print production to its Stahlfolders. With Push-to-Stop for Folding, print shops can produce different signatures or jobs of similar formats and folds on a single pallet – without any touchpoints. Automatically scanning a unique, job-specific barcode printed on each sheet, the Stahlfolder’s integrated camera recognizes the signature change and initiates all necessary measures for job changes and activates them autonomously. The operator can now focus on quality control and intervenes only if production needs to be stopped. When coupled with the P-Stacker robotics technology, more work can be completed with less stress on needing people for finishing.
“In speaking with our customers, a lack of skilled operators is one of the issues keeping them up at night,” said Penge. “These innovations were developed to tackle this issue – automating processes, to help our customers be successful now and into the future. We’re honored that PRINTING United Alliance recognized these efforts.”