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FLEXO Magazine : May 2009
TECHNOLOGIES & TECHNIQUES end user. I’ve seen this in action where once the designers are enrolled they feel like they’ve been let off the leash! An important aspect of design is to select colors that can be achieved by the gamut and will support a suffi ciently broad operating window. Generally it is desired to maintain three or less donor colors and avoid too many highlights as part of the recipe to support a consistent outcome. Software treatments to pattern the solids of background colors can contribute to the strength of a manufactured color. Some platforms FIGURE 2. Some of the day-to-day challenges for the converter and client to work together against are: 1. Ink specifi cations for color and strength 2. Managing plate type, tolerances at plate making, wear and fragility 3. Proof matching reliability and consistency 4. Run to run consistency and correct problem recipes and also those that work the best. A quarterly review with printers, designers and end users which compares results by color will effi ciently reign in color consistency by helping to understand the assembly of successful and more variable colors. Proofi ng remains a large, if not largest, challenge for extended gamut printing and the end user must work closely with printer and prepress teams to align capabilities and expectations. However, the practical application is not much diff erent than conventional printing—the digi- have color books available similar to PMS. If working with a custom or profi led based platform it is recommended that a printer produce a print form of colors and show examples of start up and end of run as part of reinforcing capability and consistency. This is a great way to communicate the span of colors achievable on press. The graphic image and design advantages of extended gamut may be pulled from marketplace examples or included in the print form too. It will not take long for the brand owners to appreciate the improved images and design elements they can use to upgrade, and in some cases modernize, their packaging outcomes. Clouds, fl ames, oranges, more realistic product images, and vignettes are examples of elements boosted by extended gamut. QC UPDATE The end user must be prepared to modify quality control processes and expectations to fi t the extended gamut. Where to measure on packages, and what to measure for images and colors will change to an extent. A good place to start is to look at some control target and strip examples from the market and compare the approaches being used. Producing a printed color book to use as the quality control tool is a good idea. Tolerances will need to widen somewhat for light colors in extended gamut. Feedback loops on ∆E have been an eff ective way to quickly spot tal proof is the compliance tool for process images and a printed color block is the compliance tool for manufactured brand colors. For the printer, stepping up the game means process control and quality control advances in order to manage the day to day challenges (see Figure 2) of printing all process graphics. The benefi ts from running at one process set up and conditions are well worth it, but the process must be supported by components that are in tight control. Printers should be prepared to more tightly control ink viscosities and temperatures, plate tolerances and anilox rollers. Quality control specifi cation and measurement of the process inks before release and during the run is recommended. It is imperative that the printer and prepress teams eff ectively profi le the press and that the printer be able to verify compliance to the profi le conditions. The separation and printing components must support multiple “fi rst time right” outcomes at the same time to be successful at combinations. SUPPLY CHAIN Converters and end users should work together to modify sup- ply chain practices in order for the benefi ts of extended gamut printing to be fully exploited. Planning capabilities of both need to accommodate combinations and some fl exibility in min/max tolerances will assist in reduction of set ups without undue inventory exposure. Structural and dimensional harmonization will contribute to combination run potential. End users and suppliers