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FLEXO Magazine : July 2012
Plants & Processes The Ignored Elephant in the Room: Multi-Channel Profiling Packaging requires alternative approach By Marc Welch Since the dawn of International Color Consortium color management, there has been a glaring, unsolved problem, but no one wants to admit how large of a problem it really is. The “elephant in the room,” so to speak, is known as, “spot color overprint,” “multi-channel profiling,” or “extended gamut printing.” Many people reading this will likely say, “Nonsense! We have been doing this for years. We know how to do this.” While it’s safe to say that we do it all of the time, it’s incor- rect to accept that there is an effective and accurate way to predict the overprint behavior of spot colors that print on top of each other. Each printing process overprints differently. Flexo does not overprint like gravure — the ink film thickness and trapping properties are very different. Using typical L*a*b* based measurement, the industry has become adept at making solid colors appear similar across different printing process- es. This is where the current technology stops abruptly. SOFTWARE & SIMULATOR • New methodology predicts actual ink behavior, on a specific substrate for each press setup—without the rigors of proprietary, chart-based press fingerprinting • Groundbreaking process modeling algorithms, coupled with spectral ink measurement, analyze pigments within each ink color, as well as the substrate’s colorimetric properties • Custom spectral ink libraries can be created and unlimited combinations of press/ink/media can be quickly modeled • New profiles are made from existing measurement data. Measurement of actual production run patches improves the database and the process becomes self- correcting over time • Prepress companies and converters can eliminate colors within a job, without changing its appearance, reducing the press stations needed, or compromising the line colors required 58 FLEXO july 2012 www.flexography.org