EFI innovation honored with EDP Award in three categories

EFI Fiery FreeForm Create variable data printing (VDP) software drives more productivity in graphics arts

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EDP Awards
EDP Awards 2020

Electronics For Imaging (EFI) received three European Digital Press (EDP) Awards from the European graphics arts trade press in 2020 for advanced new technology solutions that support graphic arts professionals to drive more productivity and revenue. For the 14th annual EDP Awards, judges recognized EFI Fiery FreeForm Create variable data printing (VDP) software, the EFI VUTEk 32h LED hybrid flatbed/roll-to-roll inkjet printer, and EFI VUTEk D Series LED roll-to-roll inkjet printers as winning solutions in one of Europe’s most respected print technology competitions.

We are both honored and proud in receiving three EDP Awards this year,” said Paul Cripps, EFI regional vice president of sales. “These awards are important to us as they reflect our commitment to developing smart, breakthrough technologies as well as reinforce our hard work – all to better support our customers across market segments.”

The EDP Awards are held every year by the EDP Association, an organization comprised of 20 leading European trade magazines in the printing industry. The Association evaluates the latest products and solutions that are digital or are able to integrate into a digital workflow.

Fast, free and easy personalization

Fiery FreeForm Create, winner in the EDP Awards category for best special application software, is a standalone application that comes included with EFI Fiery print servers. It enables companies to easily and quickly add personalized elements such as variable text, images, or barcodes, to files in just a few clicks, making it ideal for VDP novices and seasoned veterans alike.

For print businesses, in-plants, and packaging producers, FreeForm Create can provide a more efficient and cost-effective method of personalization compared to existing or paid applications.

Once we took the time to learn the basics of FreeForm Create, our efficiency and turnaround times became so much faster,” said one user of the software in the US, Matt Gale, owner of the AlphaGraphics franchise in Sheridan, Wyoming. “Before, all variable files had to go through our designer to be merged in InDesign, which often resulted in huge files and production bottlenecks. Now, with FreeForm Create, we have several employees that are trained to set up the files. No costly software is needed, and it can be done from almost any machine. The ability to preview variable files is great, and the ability to make changes instantly is amazing. We look forward to continuing to learn more about FreeForm Create so we can offer these capabilities to even more clients.”

Superior quality, high flexibility, increased output

The VUTEk D series and the VUTEk 32h are ideal solutions for customers moving into superwide graphics production printing. Both printers offer precision printing with UltraDropTM Technology 7-picolitre greyscale printheads and eco-friendly EFI LED “cool cure” technology, opening doors for sign and display graphics producers to get into high-volume, high-quality production-level printing.

The EFI VUTEk D series – winner of the EDP Award for roll-to-roll printers above 320 centimeter – consists of two advanced, mid-range LED printers: the VUTEk D3r with a 350-centimeter maximum printing width and the D5r with a 520-centimeter maximum printing width. EFI created these printers for the industrial printing demands of high-quality volume producers, with the ability to produce a wide range of applications, from indoor signage to fleet graphics, car wraps, and truck-side curtains. The outstanding features of VUTEk D series printers, including 1,200 dots per inch (dpi) printing, white and clear ink, multi-layer printing, and inline finishing, make them ideal for closely viewed indoor applications such as window displays, POS and POP images, backlit signs, interior décor for walls and floors, trade show graphics, and fine art prints. The durable and high-quality graphics VUTEk D series printers provide also give customers more value in their ability to produce outdoor applications.

The 3.2-meter EFI VUTEk 32h LED hybrid inkjet printer received the EDP Award for hybrid/flatbed printers up to 250 square meter per hour. The eight-colour printer is a versatile solution that can print on materials up to 5.08-centimeter thick in true 600- or 1,000-dpi resolutions. A highly versatile hybrid solution, the VUTEk 32h is ideal for direct-to-rigid printing as well as roll-to-roll applications. Its white ink, optional clear ink for spot, flood, and unique applications, and multi-layer printing capabilities make it ideal for the production of premium specialty applications.

For EFI VUTEk 32h user Charlotte Aveline, production manager of the Alsace, France-based printing service company Aveline, the VUTEk 32h and its white ink enable a stronger offering to clients: “The quality of the white ink enables us to offer printing with real added value… while ensuring that we can respond to customers from the media world.”

2023 promises an interesting ride for print in India

Indian Printer and Publisher founded in 1979 is the oldest B2B trade publication in the multi-platform and multi-channel IPPGroup. While the print and packaging industries have been resilient in the past 33 months since the pandemic lockdown of 25 March 2020, the commercial printing and newspaper industries have yet to recover their pre-Covid trajectory.

The fragmented commercial printing industry faces substantial challenges as does the newspaper industry. While digital short-run printing and the signage industry seem to be recovering a bit faster, ultimately their growth will also be moderated by the progress of the overall economy. On the other hand book printing exports are doing well but they too face several supply-chain and logistics challenges.

The price of publication papers including newsprint has been high in the past year while availability is diminished by several mills shutting down their publication paper and newsprint machines in the past four years. Indian paper mills are also exporting many types of paper and have raised prices for Indian printers. To some extent, this has helped in the recovery of the digital printing industry with its on-demand short-run and low-wastage paradigm.

Ultimately digital print and other digital channels will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future. For instance, there is no alternative to a rise in textbook consumption but this segment will only reach normality in the next financial year beginning on 1 April 2023.

Thus while the new normal is a moving target and many commercial printers look to diversification, we believe that our target audiences may shift and change. Like them, we will also have to adapt with agility to keep up with their business and technical information needs.

Our 2023 media kit is ready, and it is the right time to take stock and reconnect with your potential markets and customers. Print is the glue for the growth of liberal education, new industry, and an emerging economy. We seek your participation in what promises to be an interesting ride.

– Naresh Khanna

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