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FLEXO Magazine : October 2009
www.flexography.org OCTOBER 2009 FLEXO 51 UltraFlexTM --HD thin sleeve Xymid, LLC 5141 Craig Rath Blvd. Midlothian, VA 23112 804-744-5229 • fax 804-744-5331 www.flexoprintsleeves.com ON THE PRINTED RESULT In the past, press operators were skilled craftsmen that had a keen eye and utilized voodoo to match color from job to job. On the other hand, the jobs produced today have in- creased in difficulty and matured from one to two spot colors to four or more color process. With the increase in colors and graphic difficulty, measurement devices have made their way into the press operator 's tool box. Let's take a look at mea- surement devices commonly found in the pressroom. Reflection Densitometer. These devices offer press opera- tors the ability to measure ink density and dot area. Measur- ing ink density and dot area are the most important steps toward effective color management, as both factors are di- rectly related to the intensity of color perceived by the viewer. By measuring and controlling ink densities and dot area on press, the prepress department can accurately predict the printed result through a color managed proofing workflow. Although they are most commonly used press-side, they are also used in the prepress department to measure dot gain and establish dot gain compensation curves. Spectrophotometer. The spectrophotometer is the key instrument used in color management. Like the reflection densitometer, the spectrophotometer is used to measure printed samples from the press. Although they are similar in this way, they measure completely different types of informa- tion. The spectrophotometer measures the spectral data, that is, the color of light reflected from the surface, while the densitometer simply measures the amount of light reflected from the printed surface. Spectrophotometers are often found in prepress depart- ments and ink rooms. Their use in the prepress department is most commonly for color managed proof output. This process includes reading in a printed target from the flexo press and applying the resulting ICC profile to the proofing device. When used in the ink room, spectrophotometers are key in quality control of ink color and consistency. CONCLUSION While measurement devices can be somewhat pricey initially, their cost is easily recovered by their ability to save in makeready time and consumable waste. When looking to implement mea- surement systems, keep in mind that there are many devices out there, and they range in cost and features. Still, they are a sound investment for any flexographic printer and can improve the overall quality of the product and reduce waste. ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Justin Green is a train- ing and technologies specialist with Anderson & Vreeland Inc. In this role, he works closely with customers to improve their quality and efficiency through best practice implementa- tion, process control procedures, and FIRST methodology. He has spent the majority of his 12 years in flexography as a student in the Flexo in Education Program culminating with a Master of Sci- ence in Graphic Communications from Clemson University. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org. TECHNOLOGIES & TECHNIQUES
Sustainable Fall 2009