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FLEXO Magazine : April 2011
Technologies & Techniques RAISING THE BAR Although well-known and recognized within the offset printing industry, the G7 Master Program has less of a follow- ing in flexographic circles, something IDEAlliance is trying to change. According to IDEAlliance, G7 companies are trained to proof or print to G7 Neutral Print Density Curves. Print buyers can expect G7 suppliers to adhere to key metrics with the goal of reliably rendering brand images across print locations and different printing types. The qualification mark means that the printer uses this modern application of gray balance that is based on colorimetry and employs G7 process controls. “T he benefit of G7 for the flexo printer is that they are able to gray-balance the imagery and address the customer’s par- ticular needs,” says Joe Fazzi, vice president, media produc- tion technologies at IDEAlliance. “F lexo printing requires a lot of custom ICC profiles because of the inks and substrates, so having it gray-balanced with specific targets is very helpful to the printer to be able to proof to it and know with certainty what the product is going to look like. Print buyers like G7 be- cause consistent brand recognition is critical. They know they can move from offset to point-of-purchase displays to banners or other products and have some assurance that the brand image looks like it is intended to.” Revolution Labels shares some of the same customers as an offset printing partner that was already G7-qualified, so there was an expectation that Revolution Labels would adhere to the same standards, and that proofs and sharing of jobs would go seamlessly. Plus, because so few flexographic printers are G7 Master-qualified, having this designation gives Revolution Labels a competitive edge. “T he fundamental controls required by G7 help make sure that products sitting side-by-side on the shelves visu- ally match,” says Spillers. “For example, one of our custom- ers is a major food company with a mayonnaise product. The 32-ounce jar has an offset label, while the 48-ounce jar displays our flexo label. Obviously, the two labels have to look the same to the consumer. The G7 process that All Printing Resources (APR) helped us put in place gives us the tools to hit the offset bull’s -eye every time.” GETTING TO G7 As the southeastern technical solutions manager for APR and a G7 Expert, as designated by IDEAlliance, I was in a unique position to try and help Revolution Labels become part of the small—but growing—family of flexographic printers with G7 Master status. After an initial consultation with Mike Spillers, we deter- mined that the best approach was to schedule a 2- to 3-day onsite engagement. Our goal was to complete a thorough analysis of current capabilities, validate that the process was repeatable, and then print the proof-to-press (P2P) target and make adjustments to calibrate Revolution’s process. The pre- FIGuRE 1. screen capture of iDeAlliance Curve2 software analysis of the linear P2P target. The nPDC curve is based on measurements from several print samples and is slightly higher than the target nPDC curve. However, the CMY gray-balance curves indicate their process has a natural gray balance. www.flexography.org APril 2011 FLeXO 25