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FLEXO Magazine : November 2009
22 FLEXO NOVEMBER 2009 www.flexography.org Anyone who prints four-color process work, regardless of market segment or printing technology, has invariably run into situations where customers have specified the exact color of the cyan, yellow, magenta and black inks. This presents a number of obvious problems. First and foremost, us- ing different colored "crayons," as I like to say, or process inks, will obviously yield different printed results. Now, many times files are color separated specifically for those inks and are part of the overall calibration process with the proofing system, so it can work quite well. The bigger problem, from a print manufacturing point of view, is that printers must then inventory multiple sets of process inks and changeover the inks in press when switching jobs for different customers. This adds cost and reduces productivity. Not to mention, you run the risk of using the wrong set of inks for a given job. Wouldn't it be nice if we could all use the same shades of process inks and avoid all these problems? I wish it were that easy. Unfortunately, there are multiple reasons why this doesn't and won't happen. Many large consumer product companies (CPCs) aren't interested in using a common set of process colors. It could be that for years they have used one set of ink colors and simply have too much legacy experience and products produced with them that they don't want to change. Or, maybe they feel the inks they are specifying give them the largest gamut and help differentiate their products from their competitors. There are also functional require- ments of the finished product that may render some pigments inappropriate, like light-fastness, chemical resistance, etc. STANDARDS TO THE RESCUE? Our part of the industry, along with the rest of the printing industry, continues to adopt and embrace various standards in • Flexographic printing/converting is as much a manu- facturing industry as any other, and we should imple- ment the proper measurement devices and practices. • Many large consumer product companies (CPCs) aren't interested in using a common set of process colors. • FIRST 4.0 specifies colorimetric values for the process colors of the three main ink systems (water, solvent & UV) based on the ISO 2846 test procedure. • FTA has been hearing from its membership that printers are being required by brand owners to hit the ISO 12647-2 offset ink target values as a condi- tion of doing business. • FQC will document and benchmark colorimetric val- ues of known pigments for process inks, and release this information for FTA members to use. Which Crayons Should I Use? Process Ink Color Selection and the Changing Landscape of Specifications & Standards By Bill Pope TECHNOLOGIES & TECHNIQUES
Sustainable Fall 2009