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FLEXO Magazine : April 2009
TECHNOLOGIES & TECHNIQUES Equipment Optimization Human Capital Press Characterization Production Understanding a Color-Controlled Workfl ow of a process condition once it is in a repeatable state. When a printer is seeking color management, it is actually embarking on a process of monitoring and controlling their manufacturing process. The thoroughness of this exercise will determine how well it achieves its goal. This is where the real work takes place. Fundamentally, there are three general phases on the road to a color-controlled workfl ow. The beginning phases of a color-controlled workfl ow starts C with the equipment optimization and calibration procedures identifi ed by the manufacturers. All equipment that contributes to the workfl ow must be operating in its optimal calibrated state. The ability to measure this compliance will create a repeatable environment for day-to-day production. For a color-controlled workfl ow to be successful this calibration procedure must be- come a daily routine. Phase two begins with what is commonly known as fi nger- printing or press characterization. This is one of the single most important parts of a color-controlled workfl ow. At this point, we know that we can reproduce consistently calibrated printing plates, but we need to determine how those will transfer the ink fi lms on press. Using a series of tonal scales along with a few other densitometricly measurable targets, we begin to identify how each color behaves under certain conditions. Once identi- fi ed, we will create compensation curves for all four colors that will allow us to successfully reproduce color on a specifi c press or a specifi c set of presses. This is called densitometric press characterization. In addition to adjusting the curves and other press conditions, like solid ink densities, mounting tapes and substrates are locked in as production standards. These contributors will then become standards for this specifi c condition for future production. The third phase is the production phase. Now that we have identifi ed our controlled press conditions, we are able to repeat what we have done by printing to the identifi ed numbers. We will begin reproducing production jobs with control targets on 24 FLEXO APRIL 2009 olor management is a commonly misused term, often misleading and confusing the production environment. At its core, color management is simply a snapshot them that refl ect the standardized conditions that were set dur- ing phase two, including specifi c ink densities and tonal values that are related to the anilox rolls, stickyback, and other press conditions measured and recorded. These conditions can now be mapped in two separate meth- ods for optimal contract proofi ng. The fi rst method is by ap- plying the adjusted press curves to the proofer engine. This, for many years, has provided a somewhat stable condition for con- tract proofi ng, but only provides about 60-percent to 70-percent color accuracy. The second method provides a much more con- sistent color reproduction through the measurement of spectral color information. Known as ICC profi ling, the press now runs an IT8 target and identifi es the three dimensional color space of the press. The ICC profi le is then applied to the proofer engine, allowing it to make additional adjustments to the hue of the proofi ng inks, thus matching the solid inks used on press and allowing for 80-percent to 90-percent color accuracy. So, where is the missing 10 percent to 20 percent of color ac- curacy? The answer is simple. It lies in the hands of your human capital, the single most important asset you have on your pro- duction fl oor. It’s every person within your company that makes a color controlled or color-managed workfl ow successful. Success begins by creating a sense of ownership among your production personnel. Participation by everyone in the organiza- tion will contribute to the consistency of the system. Each person contributes to the manufacturing process, and is responsible for ensuring that their equipment is in compliance with the standards required to repeat the original conditions. The focus should be on educating production personnel on an overall un- derstanding of the process, and equipment compliance rather then incremental pass/fail monitoring. If all the equipment in the manufacturing process is in compliance, and the conditions are functioning at the required standards, then the resulting print results will be color accurate. ¦ This article was submitted by Anderson & Vreeland. For more in- formation, contact 419-636-5002 or firstname.lastname@example.org. www. f le xography. org BEGINNER FLEXOGRAPHER