The awards, which took place yesterday (20 June) at Stationers’ Hall, London celebrated the best in innovation in the print, publishing and packaging industries. Organiser and Stationers’ industry committee chairman Tony Mash urged printers to enter last February, after introducing five new categories to go alongside the Innovator of the Year award.
Addressing the 110 guests in attendance, Mash said the awards were a celebration of the contribution the communications industries make to Britain’s economy every year. They were presented by BBC journalist Peter Day.
Muller Martini took the Novel Manufacturing prize for its InfiniTrim three-knife trimmer, which has three individual cutting stations and can process up to 2,000bph.
In praise of InfiniTrim, Mash highlighted the “creative technical development process capable of building such a fast book process”.
“This was surely not just an improvement on older binding products, it was a ground-up improvement with impressive results,” he said.
The print finishing manufacturer beat off competition from IST Technologies, Baldwin and also Heidelberg, which nominated its Drupa-launched Primefire 106 B1 industrial inkjet press. Last year, it scooped the joint Innovator of the Year award for its Omnifire 1000 4D Printing System, along with inline digital print specialist Datalase.
Heidelberg UK digital product manager Chris Matthews said: “We have entered again as we want to reinforce that Heidelberg is more than just a litho company, we are very digital.”
On the personalisation side, Grimsby-based Ultimate Packaging was highly commended in the Designs for Retail Markets category, for its work with Nestlé in printing and sending out 56,000 unique personalised KitKats, using its bespoke web-to-print system Smartflow. It lost out to Parkside Flexibles, which entered its recloseable Seabrook Crisps’ packet.
The main Innovator of the Year gong went to the Publishers Licensing Society (PLS), along with the Digital Application award, for its PLS Permissions service, which automates the permission process for authors and publishers to re-use extracts from published content. The judges’ decision was unanimous.
Speaking to PrintWeek at the event, Mash, presiding over the fourth Innovation Excellence Awards, said this year’s entries had proved that print is still “part and parcel” of communication.
He said: “This year has been quite a different year where yes we’ve still got manufacturing coming through, but the key theme is digital technology and application. And it’s gone everywhere; it’s gone into printing machinery, it’s gone into packaging machinery, it’s got all the way through to publishing, and you’ve got people doing things smarter, quicker, faster and broader, thanks to digital technology.”
Elsewhere on the day, Hobs Group was presented with the award for Creative Communication for its 4D construction services within bids, while the Social Development prize went to charity Calibre Audio Library for its CAL Download app. Dennis Publishing took the final new award for Business Development.
This year's awards scheme received 32 entries, down on last year’s 49 entries, which Mash put down to this not being a Drupa year.
“Last year we had a vast number of entrants of manufacturing excellence, which people wanted to promote,” he added.