Exclusive for Techtime: Scitex is alive, kicking and planning to revolutionize printing for Packaging

The acquisition of Scitex Vision by HP in 2005 resulted in the creation of the Israel-based, HP Scitex division. The division is now developing a novel digital printing press for the corrugated packaging market. General Manager, David Tomer: “We discovered a multi-billion market, which is still fully analog”

General Manager, David Tomer

In contrast to its public image in Israel, the well-known Scitex brand has not disappeared. It is now operating under HP’s thick cover, far from public attention. The company is on the threshold of a technological revolution which could completely change the multi-billion corrugated packaging printing market.  Techtime recently met David Tomer, the head of an advanced HP research and development center In Israel, HP Scitex, which is part of HP’s Imaging & Printing Solutions business.

The group employs some 500 employees in its various sites across Israel, including its headquarters in Netanya, hardware manufacturing plant in Caesarea and inks manufacturing plant in Kiryat-Gat. HP Scitex plans to bring to market its new innovative digital corrugated packaging system. Tomer: “We discovered a multi-billion market, which, to our amazement, is still fully analog. The packaging market still relies on traditional Offset and Flexo technologies”.

According to Tomer, the printing market’s new focus is packaging. “This was one of the main themes at Drupa (the leading Print exhibition worldwide, held in Germany) three months ago. The market demands short runs, high versatility, reliability and an extremely fast response time. A typical Supermarket in the US carries some 48,000 products. The customers make decisions in a matter of seconds. Packages have to be fetching, they need to be interesting, unique. To cope with this challenge, we developed the new HP PageWide C500 Press, which will reach the Alpha stage at a customer site this year. We expect to be able to distribute it commercially as soon as 2017. I am proud that this is a project led from Israel, from top to bottom: from technological development, to production and assembly of the machines, and finally to delivery to customers worldwide – all of these take place in Israel”.


What is the technological depth of the project?

omer: “Development began in 2014. It is based on a series of technologies developed specifically to handle the unique problems associated with the world of corrugated packaging. One has to keep in mind, that corrugated boards are an uneven media, which led us to develop a specialized gripping technology called CorruGrip. This technology manages to handle any board, no matter how warped it may be, making it possible to bring the print-heads very close to the media”.

“Another challenge was the development of the ink. In the packaging world, ink has to be water-based, because the more commonly used UV ink is not cleared by the FDA for food packaging purposes. Food packages make up 30% of the global packaging market. Our ink formulas are kept as confidential as the famous Coca-Cola formula”.

The ink injection method developed is based on HP’s PageWide technology. In this technology. Thermal inkjets are mounted across the beam, which hovers over the printing surface. By using multiple beams, all the required shades can be produced. The accuracy is measured by the numbers of nozzles across the beam – in HP Scitex’s case, 1 million nozzles. The new system is extremely fast, but its exact speed is still kept confidential. When the system is distributed, it will be managed through HP’s cloud-based PrintOS system.

In which stage are you now, are there customers for the new system?

“We already have several customers waiting for the new system. We created a group of chosen customers called the Corrugated Packaging Advisory Council, which includes seven of our top customers. We meet them every few months, showing them our progress and discussing relevant issues. They take part in the development process, and they will be the first to receive the HP PageWide C500 Press when it comes to the market”.

The only company which HP chose to disclose as a C500 customer is Smurfit Kappa Group. “This is the leading corrugated packaging company in Europe, with over 100 corrugated converter factories. A year before the printer will be available, they already decided, that it is the best solution for them”.

What is the scope of HP Scitex?

Since the acquisition by HP, we have built up an Israeli operation which develops, produces and sells large format presses worldwide. We focus on commercial printers sold for a $0.5-$1.5 million a unit. Currently we have an installed base of over 2,400 presses – all of which were developed and produced in Israel.”

MATLAB Targets Big Data, says Dr Shure

Dr Loren Shure from MathWorks: “MATLAB environment, computational speed, and integration for GPU-acceleration makes a good environment for Deep Learning”


This month, Dr Loren Shure from MathWorks will particiate in IMVC 2015 Conference for Machine Vision in Tel-aviv, where she will talk about recent MATLAB features to solve problems such as training image recognition algorithms or processing large volumes of medical images.

Dr. Shure is one of the first employees of MathWorks, and works for MathWorks over 28 years. For the first 27 of these years, she co-authored several MathWorks products, contributed core functionality to MATLAB and to the design of the MATLAB language. She agreed to Make an email interview with Techtime.

You are the first employee in Mathworks. What are the major advancements that took place since you started for Image Processing & Computer Vision?

“Large Data – A decade ago, a 2000×3000 image was HUGE. Now it’s quite common. It’s also common now to have thousands of images. Performance – Almost all of our IP Toolbox is performance optimized. This means C/C++ code under the hood with multithreading, Intel instruction optimizations, and world class algorithm implementations. Additionally, we’ve got over 50 algorithms that can run on NVIDIA GPU cards.  For image processing, MATLAB is pretty fast now.

“Algorithms – The world keeps on discovering new ways to solve problems and we make sure that the best techniques make their way into our tools. We’ve made major advancements in the areas of image registration and image segmentation. Computer Vision – A decade ago, this was still a relatively young field. It has matured quickly and so has the MathWorks solution. CVST has a very compelling set of capabilities with easy to use tools like Camera Calibrator.”

 “Deep Learning has become an important ingredient for computer vision. Does Matlab support DL?

“MATLAB is being used in two of the popular deep learning frameworks, caffe and torch – computer vision is a primary application area. The MATLAB environment, computational speed (e.g., MKL integration), and integration for GPU-acceleration make it a good environment for deep learning. Today deep learning is being used by a relatively few researchers; they often use multiple technique to get optimal results. Tools like feature detection in Computer Vision Toolbox, classification in the Statistics and Machine Learning Toolbox, and Neural Network toolbox are also used for these types of problems.

“Last year at IMVC, a professor in CV with deep learning (Lior Wolf) professed his love for MATLAB because it made setting up his problems so much easier.  There’s a lot of data prep in order to use deep learning algorithms. MATLAB is really great at that.

Deep Learning works well for users with large sets of labelled data and with significant computing resources; this explains why most of the deep learning research is being performed by companies like Google and Facebook. Our tools for computer vision and machine learning will help those without the computing power or data to solve these problems. Additionally, the MATLAB community has created several third party toolboxes that perform deep learning as well.”

How does Matlab support GPU computing for computer vision applications ?

“We support about 50 image processing algorithms for use on NVIDIA GPUs.  Also, users can integrate CUDA kernels into their MATLAB workflow with PCT.”

What can we expect in the near future in the computer vision toolbox ?

“As of R2015a, we just finished a bunch of work on making recognition frameworks easier to use. For example, check out the new ‘Bag of Visual Words’ framework. Moving forward, we’re focused on stereo vision and point cloud processing. We’ve release some capabilities and there’s more to come.”

How does Matlab support big data problems?

“Our support for big data is designed to help users to scale their algorithms with very few code changes ( e.g., parfor , batch, imageSet ). They can start trying out their ideas with imageSet or datastore in MATLAB, and continue their analysis using MapReduce. With MATLAB MapReduce they can explore and analyze big data sets on their workstations with the MapReduce programming technique that’s fundamental to Hadoop. They can create applications based upon MATLAB MapReduce to work with their ‘uncomfortably large’ data on workstations, and deploy these same applications within production instances of Hadoop, using MATLAB Compiler.

“This is important since the majority of companies don’t have production Hadoop systems today, but many are considering these in the near future. By supporting MATLAB MapReduce today, companies can begin learning to use and build programs and become familiar with how easy it is to take models and integrate them into their IT systems. We see many companies taking the next steps to build more sophisticated analytics.”

SPTS Technologies and Fraunhofer IZM Develops Wafer Level Packaging

For the joint development project, Fraunhofer IZM is using SPTS’ Rapier process module to etch a range of silicon features, such as deep cavities and tapered or vertical TSVs with high aspect ratios


SPTS Technologies, an Orbotech company, is collaborating with Fraunhofer IZM, on the next generation wafer level packaging of microelectronic devices. “To meet the technical requirements of future microelectronic products, 3D-IC architectures using through silicon vias (TSVs) are being employed to overcome scaling limits while delivering better device performance,” stated Kevin Crofton, President of SPTS Technologies and Corporate VP at Orbotech.

For the joint development project, Fraunhofer IZM is using SPTS’ Rapier process module to etch a range of silicon features, such as deep cavities and tapered or vertical TSVs with high aspect ratios.

Martin Wilke, the expert in plasma etching at Fraunhofer IZM, commented, “Our researchers and customers expect us to use the latest state-of-the-art equipment. The SPTS Versalis fxP system was selected for our cleanroom facility in Berlin as it combines industry leading DRIE and CVD modules on a single platform, with the option to add additional modules as our capacity demands increase. The multi-technology Versalis fxP allowed us to reduce initial capital outlay and therefore cost of ownership, within a small footprint.”

With the APM CVD chamber, Fraunhofer IZM is benefiting from SPTS’ ability to deposit PECVD SiN/SiO film stacks at <190 degrees C with tunable stress, low electrical leakage and excellent diffusion barrier performance. Both technologies are on the single Versalis fxP platform, saving capex and valuable floor space.  The ability to run multiple process recipes inside the same system gives Fraunhofer IZM significant flexibility: a valuable resource when working with clients from diverse sectors including automotive, healthcare and industrial electronics.

SPTS Technologies designs, manufactures, sells, and supports etch, PVD, CVD and thermal wafer processing solutions for the MEMS, advanced packaging, LEDs, high speed RF on GaAs, and power management device markets. It operates manufacturing facilities in Newport, Wales, Allentown, Pennsylvania, and San Jose, California.

Orbotech from Yavne, Israel, is a provider of yield enhancement and production solutions for electronics reading, writing and connecting, used by manufacturers of printed circuit boards, flat panel displays, advanced packaging, micro-electro-mechanical systems and other electronic components. Today, virtually every electronic device is produced using Orbotech technology. For more information, visit http://www.orbotech.com/

Motorola Solutions Invests in VocalZoom

VocalZoom has developed a unique Optical Microphone agnostic to background noises

VOCALZOOM MICMotorola Solutions Venture Capital has invested in VocalZoom Ltd., a developer of optical speech sensors from Yoqneam, Israel. The terms of the transaction were not disclosed. Other VocalZoom investors in this series of funding include existing investors 3M and OurCrowd, as well as new investor FueTrek (Japan).

VocalZoom has developed a unique optoelectronic microphone able to substantially enhance a speaker’s voice over any background noise. “VocalZoom has the potential to be the difference of whether a firefighter can communicate at a dangerous fire scene or if a transportation or utility worker can give or receive information in a noisy work environment,” said Paul Steinberg, chief technology officer at Motorola Solutions.

“For police officers, for example, turning their heads to communicate can be the difference between life and death for them or the people they are protecting, or the difference between whether a criminal is apprehended or escapes.”

VOCALZOOMVocalZoom was founded in 2009 by the CEO Tal Bakish, former HW engineer in companies such as Cisco Systems, IBM, Modu-Mobile, ConnectOne and Intel. While conventional approaches focus on filtering and signal processing to isolate the voice from ambient noise, VocalZoom is applying its patented technology that integrates a standard acoustic microphone and a special optical sensor to solely detect the speaker’s voice.

The benefits are essential for next generation user interfaces, providing high directivity, speaker isolation, improved signal quality, and precise voice activity detection. This SEEON microphone, is first demonstrated this week during the CES exhibition in Las-Vegas.

Growing at an astounding rate, speech recognition technology is included in nearly every major technology people rely on today from cars and computers, to TVs and smartphones. In the automotive industry alone, it is expected that more than half of new cars in 2019 will integrate speech recognition, as manufacturers increasingly seek safer ways for drivers to interact with navigation, audio and Bluetooth systems.

“VocalZoom’s optical microphone is the only technology of its kind that is not affected by any background noise, and has the potential to provide disruptive voice clarity in any condition,” said VocalZoom’s Chairman, Yechiel Kurtz, “We are excited with the partnership with Motorola Solutions, which provides us with new opportunities in a large and strategic market.”


Israeli High-tech exits Reached $6.94 Billion

Seventeen Israeli High-tech IPOs raised approximately $2.1 billion during 2014

During the last year, 99 Israeli high-tech exits totaled $6.94 billion, up 5 percent from $6.59 billion of 2013 (90 exits). While 2014 final figures were close to those of the previous year, a detailed analysis performed by IVC Research Center and law firm Meitar Liquornik Geva Leshem Tal, reveals significant changes.

Total Exits 2005-2014
Total Exits 2005-2014

The year 2014 was characterized by notable growth in both the number and size of IPO exits. Seventeen IPOs accounted for $2.1 billion, compared to eight IPOs that brought proceeds of some $0.36 billion in 2013. MobilEye – the largest IPO of 2014 – raised slightly over $1 billion and was listed on the New York Stock Exchange. NASDAQ-bound firms underwent 11 Israeli high-tech IPOs in 2014, in amounts ranging from $35 million to $150 million.

Alon Sahar, Partner in law firm Meitar, noted that even though total capital raised through exits in 2014 wasn’t remarkably different from that of 2013, the blend of deals is instructive. “The interesting finding of 2014  is the increasing number of IPOs. Sometimes IPOs reflect a ‘market trend’, bu it also reflects real ability of the industry to build larger companies for long term.”

He said there is a correlation between the volume of IPOs and the number of growth round deals, which is also on the rise. “In light of success stories such as Mobileye and CyberArk, two companies that brought on investors at later stages and then followed the IPO road, more companies can be expected to turn in the same direction. This trend may also explain current findings on M&A proceeds: the number of deals below $5 million dropped to the lowest in a decade, with only 25 deals.”

In 2014, deals involving Israeli and Israel-related companies that were acquired or merged were valued at $4.84 billion, a 22 percent decrease from $6.23 billion in 2013. Analysis of M&As by deal size reveals a 45 percent increase in the number of $100-$500 million deals in 2014. Sixteen M&As accounted for $2.91 billion, compared to 11 deals in 2013 with $2.57 billion. Five deals ranging between $50 million and $100 million brought in $425 million, a 73 percent increase from four deals in 2013 that totaled $246 million. The number of M&As ranging $10-$50 million also increased.

There was also a decrease of 36 percent in exit proceeds below $5 million, continuing the trend from 2013. Koby Simana, CEO of IVC Research Center said, “Although 2014 M&A figures show a decrease in total proceeds from the previous year, 2014 was actually far more successful in terms of return on equity for investors. It’s important to remember that in contrast to an IPO, where investors may continue as shareholders and sometimes increase their shares, as happened following the Mobileye IPO, in M&A deals investors no longer have a stake following the exit,” explained Simana. “Proceeds from M&A are divided among entrepreneurs, investors and sometimes company employees, and investors expect a positive return on equity. In the venture capital industry, it is customary to strive for a minimum return of three times equity. In these terms, 2014 was an excellent year, especially in the life science, cleantech and communications sectors, with the highest annual return on equity.”

Maybe the most important finding is that mong 82 acquisitions of Israeli high-tech companies in 2014, 24 were performed by other Israeli companies, compared to 19 such deals in 2013. The report also analyzed the number of M&A deals where Israeli companies were acquirers. In 2014, 42 Israeli high-tech companies chose to grow through the acquisition of at least one company, Israeli or foreign, and were responsible for 57 deals, in total.

X-rays Capsule Developer Check-CAP Filed a NASDAQ Registration Statement

Check-Cap develops an endoscopy capsule with a colon imaging system for colorectal cancer


Check-Cap Ltd., a clinical stage medical diagnostics company engaged in the development of a preparation-free ingestible imaging capsule that utilizes low-dose X-rays for the screening for colorectal cancer, announced that it has filed a Registration Statement on Form F-1 with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission FOR ipo in NASDAQ.

The company proposed $15 million initial public offering of its ordinary shares. The timing of the Offering, number of shares to be offered and the price range for the proposed offering have not yet been determined. Concurrent with the completion of the Offering, Check-Cap plans to complete an additional financing of $12 million in a private placement of restricted securities.

Proceeds from the Offering and the simultaneous private placement of restricted securities will be utilized to support the continued development of the Check-Cap imaging system. Check-Cap is a clinical stage medical diagnostics company from Isfiya, Israel. It focused on the development of gastrointestinal imaging devices.

Check-Cap system overview
Check-Cap system overview

The company’s lead product is an endoscopy capsule with a colon imaging system for colorectal cancer and clinically-significant pre-cancerous polyps that utilizes proprietary, ultra-low-energy X-ray-based measurement technology to safely generate high-resolution, 3-dimensional imagery of the colon without cleansing or other aggressive bowel preparation.

According to the American Cancer Society, or the ACS, CRC (colorectal cancer) is the third most common cancer diagnosed and the second leading cause of death from cancer in the United States.  The ACS estimates that in 2014, in the United States approximately 136,830 people are expected to be diagnosed with CRC and approximately 50,310 people will die from CRC.

Check-Cap's accurate 3D colon image
Check-Cap’s accurate 3D colon image

CRC screening can reduce death rates from CRC by detecting polyps at an earlier, more treatable stage. CRC is one of the few cancers that can be prevented through screening because pre-cancerous polyps, from which colon cancers often develop, can be identified and removed.

Check-Cap imaging capsule consists of an X-ray source and several X-ray detectors. The X-ray source is contained in a rotating radiation shield, enabling the generation of 360-degree angular scans. The collection of successive angular scans enables the virtual reconstruction of a portion of the colon.  During movement of our imaging capsule longitudinally through the colon, successive images of portions of the colon are collected to enable the three-dimensional reconstruction of the colon.

Semiconductor Market 2014: Strongest Growth in Four Years

Worldwide semiconductor market revenue is on track to achieve a 9.4 percent expansion this year 


Global revenue in 2014 is expected to total $353.2 billion, up from $322.8 billion in 2013, according to a preliminary estimate from IHS Technology. The nearly double-digit-percentage increase follows respectable growth of 6.4 percent in 2013, a decline of more than 2.0 percent in 2012 and a marginal increase of 1.0 percent in 2011. The performance in 2014 represents the highest rate of annual growth since the 33 percent boom of 2010.

“This is the healthiest the semiconductor business has been in many years,” said Dale Ford, vice president and chief analyst at IHS Technology. “While the upswing in 2013 was almost entirely driven by growth in a few specific memory segments, the rise in 2014 is built on a widespread increase in demand for a variety of different types of chips. Nearly all semiconductor suppliers can enjoy good cheer as they enter the 2014 holiday season.”

Widespread growth 

Last year, the key drivers of the growth of the semiconductor market were dynamic random access memory (DRAM) and data flash memory. These two memory segments together grew by more than 30 percent while the rest of the market only expanded by 1.5 percent.

This year, the combined revenue for DRAM and data flash memory is projected to rise about 20 percent. However, growth in the rest of the market will swell by 6.7 percent to support the overall market increase of 9.4 percent.

This pervasive growth is delivering general benefits to semiconductor suppliers, with 70 percent of chipmakers expected to enjoy revenue growth this year, up from 53 percent in 2013.

Semiconductor successes 

IHS SEMICONDUCTORS 2014 RANKINGThe two market segments enjoying the strongest and most consistent growth in the last two years are DRAM and light-emitting diodes (LEDs). DRAM revenue will climb 33 percent for two years in a row in 2013 and 2014. This follows often strong declines in DRAM revenue in five of the last six years.

The LED market is expected to grow by more than 11 percent in 2014. This continues an unbroken period of growth for LED revenues stretching back at least 13 years.

Major turnarounds are occurring in the analog, discrete and microprocessor markets as they will swing from declines to strong growth in every sub-segment. Most segments will see their growth improve by more than 10 percent, compared to the declines experienced in 2013.

Furthermore, programmable logic device (PLD) and digital signal processor (DSP) application-specific integrated circuits (ASICs) will experience dramatic improvements in growth. PLD revenue in 2014 will grow by 10.2 percent compared to 2.1 percent in 2013, and DSP ASICs will rise by 3.8 percent compared to a 31.9 percent collapse in 2013.

Taiwan Breaks the Barrier

Among the top 20 semiconductor suppliers, MediaTek and Avago Technologies attained the largest revenue growth and rise in the rankings in 2014. Both companies benefited from significant acquisitions.

MediaTek is expected to jump up five places to the 10th rank and become the first semiconductor company headquartered in Taiwan to break into the Top 10. Avago Technologies is projected to jump up eight positions in the rankings to No. 15.

The strongest growth by a semiconductor company based purely on organic revenue increase is expected to be achieved by SK Hynix, with projected growth of nearly 23 percent.

No. 13-ranked Infineon has announced its plan to acquire International Rectifier. If that acquisition is finalized in 2014 the combined companies would jump to No. 10 in the overall rankings and enjoy 16 percent combined growth.

The table attached presents the preliminary IHS ranking of the world’s top 20 semiconductor suppliers in 2013 and 2014 based on revenue.

Troubles for consumer electronics and Japan 

Semiconductor revenue in 2014 will grow in five of the six major semiconductor application end markets, i.e. data processing, wired communications, wireless communications, automotive electronics and industrial electronics. The only market segment experiencing a decline will be consumer electronics. Revenue will expand by double-digit percentages in four of the six markets.

Japan continues to struggle, and is the only worldwide region that will see a decline in semiconductor revenues this year. The other three geographies—Asia-Pacific, the Americas and the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region—will see healthy growth. The world will be led by led by Asia-Pacific which will post an expected revenue increase of 12.5 percent.