(Posted on 29/06/16)

With 50% more entries this year, the judges of the annual Stationers’ Company Innovation Excellence Awards had a difficult time deciding the top accolade of Innovator of the Year. The quality of the entries was so high that the judges selected two companies, DataLase Ltd and Heidelberg UK, for the honour. 

 DataLase Ltd won for what the judges recognised as significant disruptive technology development. The company had introduced a process for printing detailed packaging labels accurately at high speeds without the use of conventional inks. In the judges’ view, the intriguing combination of digital, chemical and laser technologies has the scope for application across all aspects of the printing world where personalisation is required to be brought closer to the final consumer.

Heidelberg UK received the honour for its Omnifire system for printing on pre-existing three-dimensional objects of all shapes and sizes. The combination of robotics and inkjet design impressed the judges who saw the technology as a gateway for the printing industry to expand into new outlets at a time when demand is falling in other sectors.

“Many entries this year demonstrated the power of integrating unrelated technologies to create something new. This was evident in the widespread application of digital technologies, particularly where detailed customisation is required by consumers, as well as efficient manufacturing operations,” says Tony Mash, who organised the awards programme for the third year. He also welcomed a significant increase in the number of SME companies submitting entries.

Peter Day from the Radio 4 programme, In Business, was a judge and presented the Awards at Stationers’ Hall on 27 June. He told the audience that big or small, innovation is at the heart of what a business is all about.

“Innovation,” he said, “is now the main driver of many of the world’s largest enterprises. But innovation is also about execution: turning an idea into a product, service or new business making waves in the marketplace. Execution is hard to do.”


In its third year, the Awards attracted 49 entries from the printing machinery, consumables, office supplies, publishing, digital media and packaging sectors. The other six winners of Innovation Excellence Awards were:

Jessica Kingsley Publishers for innovative books and comics that focus on graphic medicine and related areas, and present information about difficult subjects.

Kolbus GmbH & Co KG for a production system that mechanises the manufacturing of luxury packaging items that have so far only been mass-produced by manual labour.

Parkside for Rockpocket®, a novel concept that offers an extremely lightweight pack for the transportation of high value, delicate or breakable items using a combination of flexible laminate and vacuum technologies.

Ravensbourne College for a digital platform linked to on the ground academic communities, which captures, communicates and links networks to innovation and new services.

Sun Chemical for Aquacure, a functional water-based inkjet ink technology that incorporates a hybrid of water-based and energy-curing technologies and offers a reduction in environmental impact.

Troika Systems Ltd for an accurate volumetric measurement device used to ensure aniloxes are in a suitable condition to ensure optimum printing press set-up efficiencies and maximise waste reduction during set-up.

The Master of the Stationers’ Company, Helen Esmonde, praised the innovative skills of all companies entering the awards programme and congratulated the winners on their success.

“The key to future prosperity,” she said, “is to be flexible, adaptable and to present and communicate content across multi-platforms. For those companies involved in manufacturing and production, the challenge is to seek ways to harness and develop new technology to deliver better value for money in the shortest possible time. It is very encouraging in these challenging and competitive times to see the UK Communications and Content industries rising so strongly to the challenges of the future.” 

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