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FLEXO Magazine : July 2012
FTA TODAY Expanded Color Gamut Workflow What it Means to You & What it Requires Too Forum 2012’s Expanded Color Gamut (ECG) Printing Ses- sion, chaired by Al Bowers of RR Donnelley (2012 inductee into the FTA Hall of Fame) and Ellen Farrell of DuPont Packaging Graphics, staged March 19, ignited attendees’ appetites for information. Lively discussion left consider- able questions to be answered. Panelists agreed to revisit and expand on the Forum roundtable on the pages of FLEXO. Here, the magazine poses the questions flexogra- phers want answered. Two printers, a prepress specialist and an inkmaker offer input on their personal experience with expanding the color gamut. Participating: Robb Frimming, print services director, Schawk, Inc.; John Edwards, director of business devel- opment, Sun Chemical Corp.; Gary Hilliard, graphics and technical manager, Hood Packaging, Arden Hills, MN, former chairman of Foundation of FTA’s Board of Trustees; and Johnny Dye, printing operations manager, Accredo Packaging, Sugar Land, TX, and co-chair of FTA’s 2012 Fall Conference. FLEXO: How do you determine which inks to overprint to build a process replacement for a spot color? FRIMMING: This is part of the optimization process for Expanded Color Gamut (ECG) reproduction. I do not recom- mend the creation of a profile, and letting the profile “blindly ” determine the color build. Print feasibility and process capa- bility concerns should be addressed in this stage. Another factor is how the color is used in the design. If a design calls for a two-color build of orange to graduate into a three build of blue, you may not have anticipated this in the original build determinations during optimization and you may need to rethink a build of a color. ECG printing, is the process of defining a set of colors that increase the color gamut from CMYK and eliminate the need to add spot colors. Usually the colors used will be CMYK plus orange, green and blue/violet. The approach—color simplifi- cation—calls for minimizing the total number of colors used on a brand, or product line-up. Techniques for implementa- tion include color harmonization, color (ink) capping, ink utilization and Fixed Palette ECG. Color harmonization is an important part of how color management can enable clients with multiple brands to ratio- nalize the number of colors used in the print process of their various media types, with minimal compromising of brand equity and appearance. The goal is cost savings. Color capping applies to a design produced in a pre- defined number of colors. More a color management technique than harmonization, it saves plates, ink, set-up and wash-down time. It encourages careful thought on use of color, as the design to print process must be geared to a specific number of col- ors. Exceptions are by gated approval process only. Ink utilization requires that a reduced percentage of ink lay down is applied. Close technical involvement between preme- dia and the printer is required. The technique may be applied to existing artwork, depending on the design. It’s typically introduced into the process at design stage. FLEXO: If there were standards for ECG, do you see large consumer product companies adopting those standards GAMUT AND YOUR GAME • Colors are selected from a palette that is produced using the base ECG color set, not a “spot color” reference • Traditional minimum dot considerations can be lowered or even eliminated • Standards for the actual ECG printing set are an important step toward a press profile, which would set the center line for dot gain, registration and color gamut • Customers definitely benefit from more design flexibility, finer screens and elimination of coarse combo plates • Print feasibility and process capability concerns must be addressed 20 FLEXO julY 2012 www.flexography.org FOrum FLAshbAck