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«Verified Color Handbook: Using Color Process Control to Operate a Sustainable Printing Business in the New Economy Written by: Jim Raffel Provided ...»

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Not only will you be comparing the measurements of the proof to the press sheet, but you will be building a history of what is a "normal" print condition of each press and paper combination. Some refer to this as finding the "sweet spot" of the printing press.

Overall, as your volume of collected data grows you will be able to refine the system in small steps by reviewing the proofing and press information both independently and together. Using numeric results, charts, and graphs you will be able to see small differences in color that can be adjusted for over time.

No system is stable over time, so continuous monitoring is a must in order to maintain stable color.

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5. The difference between satin-gloss & high-gloss …Everyone has an idea of what the terms "glossy" and "matte" mean. In case of terms like "satingloss", "high-gloss" or "satin-matte", however, which are often used in the printing industry, different observers may reach different conclusions… (Source: http://www.qipglossmeters.com/glossmeters ) For many years ColorMetrix has quietly developed keyboard wedge software for a line of gloss meters manufactured by Quality Imaging Products. As a result I have had the opportunity to test and work with the Gloss Meters and have also developed a pretty good understanding of why one would want to measure gloss in the printing industry (even though very few of us do).

In the last few weeks I have been assisting clients in understanding why their inkjet proofs do not match press sheets even though they have gone through the entire color management process. The problem in more than one case has been the inkjet paper selection. For sake of argument, we are printing on a semi matte sheet and proofing on a semi-matte inkjet proofing paper. Even if both the inkjet proofing device and the press have been profiled, these two papers are not the same and probably do not have exactly the same gloss. While a paper simulation is nice, it does not adjust for the difference in paper coating which is best quantified by gloss measurement.

Gloss has a great deal to do with how our eye and measuring instruments see images printed on paper.

If for some reason you do not believe this, compare an identical advertisement printed in a newspaper versus weekly news magazine.

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6. Grey Balance & Printing like a Master I have written before about the Printing across borders initiative and late last week made a post to the mail list which I feel generated a very good response. My post shown below was in response to a post

questioning the GRACoL MasterPrinter‚Ñ¢ program:

It stands to reason that that a printer with tight control over TVI would in fact also be a "better" Master Printer. With conventional 4/color process printing (both offset and flexo) large variation in dot size will cause large shifts in color.

Also, in some testing (unrelated to G7 method) we have found very large delta E shifts in grey balance do not necessarily translate to large or any shift in saturated colors at the outer reaches of the gamut. So, if part of ones work is reproduction of saturated corporate colors G7 process control techniques alone may not be sufficient.

link(subscription required)

Joseph J. Pasky made the following comments in response to the first paragraph above:

Yes, that is exactly correct...a point that Felix Brunner has been trying to make for more than 30 years. Even small shifts in midtone gray balance are FAR more noticeable that very large changes in SID. He is the one who 'invented' controlling a press with midtone, not only SIDs. From my understanding, he's even got patents on several aspects of this.

(GRACoL didn't come up with this 'last week' in a marketing focus group.) Brunner established the order of importance: 1. gray balance, 2. tone reproduction, 3. color. But, he also looks at every aspect of the reproduction curve, from highlights to solids.

link(subscription required)

Others made some very valid comments also but I decided to pick the one that told me I was "exactly correct." Seriously, the group has generated some good discussions about printing to standards and using new methodologies. I would suggest visiting the web-site and subscribing to the email list.

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7. Proper Press Fingerprinting takes Commitment

A reader named Dale once asked this question:

In fingerprinting our presses, we've run up against the dreaded "Hurry up and do it, but don't put too much work into it." What are your recommendations for impressing upon the higher ups that doing color balancing and working out the calibrations takes time?

I would suggest you have your management read JimRaffel.com. The reality, however, is that the culture required for completing successful fingerprints starts at the top and does not get worked up from the bottom. I spent the better part of the first ten years of my career trying like heck to change the culture of a printing company (now out of business I might add) from the echelons of lower and middle management. While I hesitate to use the words "can't be don" (and not because my Mom the English teacher told me to never use contractions), I believe this is one place where this expression applies.

I have been very fortunate in my career. At 21 years of age before I had even graduated from RIT I was able to observe one of the press runs used to set the early SWOP press standards. A lot of very smart people participated in this run and the scientific procedure was impressive. Then, not a year later I was the guy doing all the print quality measurements on a brand new Baker-Perkins G14 that cost about 9 million dollars back in 1986. While I was just one member of a very large team, the owner of the company made it quite clear that he was not making his first lease payment until we had a press that was printing correctly.

Over the next 3 years I had the same responsibility as 2 more new presses started up in that facility. In both cases, the purchase contract was very clear that we did not make lease payments until the press met our print quality standards. While the company in general had an difficult culture, in the case of all three of these press start-ups the message from the very top of the organization was "Do whatever it takes to get a solid press fingerprint." The reason was simple, without a solid benchmark at start-up how could we ever know what condition the press was in later?

Dale, it takes a great deal of time, money and a great team to perform a successful and meaningful press fingerprint. During the press start-ups above, the fingerprinting process could go on for a week or more. The press was fully crewed and lots of paper was run during this time. All the support staff had to be available from pre-press, plating, maintenance, materials handling, and more. I don't think it's an understatement to say that these fingerprint cost $100,000 or more.

Now, not all fingerprints need to cost that much. I took part in a very successful fingerprint within the last 30-days that probably cost no more than about $10,000 including our software and professional services time. It is, however, a matter of scale. The client for the 10K fingerprint was simply making the first investment in end-to-end color process control. All the key players in this organization participated in the meetings and remained on-site during the 2 (14 plus hour) days required to complete the fingerprint.

Verified Color Handbook | 13 Please Visit http://ColorMetrix.com/blog for Similar Content The results on the second day (and in follow-up calls the last three weeks) continue to be impressive. In the case above the press is not brand new but instead a fairly old and well worn pieces of iron which is now printing at an impressive level.

My conclusion is simple. If senior management of a PRINTING company is not willing to invest the time money and effort necessary to perform a proper PRESS fingerprint, one must really question the value of performing the fingerprint.

–  –  –

Section 2: Printing Industry Sustainability and Business Issues

8. Sustainable Green Printing What is this new and latest buzzword sustainability? If I have offended you by calling it a buzzword I am not apologizing. Please do not misunderstand me; I think sustainability is a good thing. Smart printing businesses have been engaging in most if not all of the components of sustainability for years.

The reason is quite simple - PROFIT.

Recycling is a key component to a sustainability program. Has anyone reading this been around long enough to remember the late Roger Dickeson’s War on Waste (WoW) waged by web printers back in the 70’s, 80’s and early 90’s? Did they do this to be “green” or “sustainable?” Personally I think not they did it to MAKE MORE MONEY!

Did the web printer I worked for in the 80’s and 90’s commit more resources to better segregation of waste paper streams, including office paper, to be green or sustainable? Did we find ways to recycle even the cores from our rolls of web paper to be more sustainable? No, we did these things to reduce the cost of waste disposal and increase the revenue received for recyclable product. The net result of course was that we became more sustainable and green.

I suspect the sustainability ‘consultants’ out there are screaming right now that he does not get it!

While you may be right, I do understand that there are other components to a complete sustainability program including a social responsibility component. I am sure even the social responsibility component of sustainability, when properly executed, can and will result in more of that dirty word PROFIT.

What caught my interest about sustainability is that improvement must be measurable. Then I got to thinking - if the sustainability movement repackaged WoW, what else have they repackaged and relabeled? Deming’s Statistical Process Control (SPC) that’s what. The past twelve years of selling and servicing ColorMetrix color verification and process control software has provided me with a good knowledge-base in this area. I have also written quite a bit about the topic on this blog.

Since you can read all the past posts, I will keep my explanation of using process control in a

sustainability campaign short and sweet. Following is a simplified ink jet proofing example:

1. Establish a baseline of ‘bad’ proofs as a percentage of the total produced.

2. Utilize color verification and process control tools like ColorMetrix and ProofPass.com to verify color quality of all proofs produced.

3. Review process control charts and other data to establish when and why variation/drift is occurring.

4. Fix/Improve the causes which can be fixed and improved, and learn to ignore the special causes.

5. Return to step one and compare current results with the baseline.

SPC works and Quality is NOT free, it is instead an investment with a return.

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9. Five Ways Color Process Control Impacts A Sustainability Initiative Recently I was reading the 2009 PRIMIR/NPES "Sustainable Print in a Dynamic Global Market: What Going Green Means," Executive Synopsis and it reminded me that back in February 2007 I tackled this topic in #68: Sustainable Green Printing. Among other conclusions the PRIMIR study agreed with my #68 post that sustainability is good business. So, knowing that a lot of my readers are looking for ways to make more money with less business these days here are a five tips to utilize color process control in a sustainability initiative that if properly run will result in a more profitable company.

1. Hard Copy Proofing - Fewer proofs in the trash equates to the use of less media, ink and electricity. Electricity you ask? Yes, even electricity. I am sure there are sustainability consultants that have quantified this part of the equation. Ongoing measurement and review of color quality will uncover workflow and mechanical problems before any or a large quantity of bad proofs are produced.

2. Virtual Proofs - Verifying and monitoring the display panel color fidelity insures that the device is used right up until it is no longer capable of displaying color accurately for proofing purposes. The device can then re-purposed limiting and delaying disposal of hazardous materials.

3. Plating - Gary Briney at Hennegan successfully uses ColorMetrix software to monitor and control printing plate production and saves thousands of dollars each year in raw materials and the electricity to produce "bad" plates. The PRIMIR report also makes reference to a company in Washington State saving $5,000 to $7,000 by recycling printing plates. So, even when a "bad" plate is made this company (and many I am sure) makes sure the metal and hazardous materials are properly recycled and disposed of.

4. Pressroom - With paper making up 26% of landfills the pressroom is an obvious area that any sustainability initiative must focus upon. Fortunately, the cost of paper, shorter cut-off presses and initiatives like the War On Waste begun in the 70's have combined to make most pressrooms in this country fairly efficient from a paper waste point of view. Evaluation of color process control records will provide information necessary to continuously reduce makeready time and to identify when the press is not running at optimum levels and in its sweet spot.

5. Cross-media Control - Late last year I wrote about the fidelity of brand colors across the various mediums and substrates utilized in today's POP displays. Imagine the environmental impact of a critical brand color not properly matching on multiple pieces of an in-store POP display. With proper color verification techniques the need to scrap and reproduce individual components of the entire display is virtually eliminated.

If you are not sure how to start a color verification and process control program to support your sustainability initiative take some time and review the achieves of JimRaffel.com.

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