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FLEXO Magazine : March 2008
TECHNOLOGIES & TECHNIQUES In the graphics de- partment, the goal is to develop a manageable asset solution for use throughout the newly implemented workflow. These assets may include tonal curves in relation to specific anilox roll and substrate configurations. The next step is to op- timize. So, those teams are going to go in and get everything running in its sweet spots. Now go back and record all that data. This then becomes the total process workflow. For example, once you identify a starting point on an imaging device, anytime you use this laser, if the power settings and focus are correct, you know that your 50-percent dot is imaging at X. You need to take X and write it on the wall. You have now identified your starting point for your imaging process. This needs to be done in every other area of the process work- flow prior to fingerprinting your press. What's your starting point for platemaking? What's your starting point for plate mounting? What's your starting point on press? These are all things that need to be identified by your teams in order to make a successful implementation of FIRST practices. DIALED IN Now that we've established our starting points in every aspect of the workflow, and everything is dialed in, it's time to finger- print. Using a spectrodensitometer, let's take a look at how the press is behaving. What is the repeatable part? Are you able to do this consistently? What's your 50 printing at? Are we printing optimal levels of gray? Do you need any dot-gain compensation? These questions need to be answered before moving forward. Once you have addressed the above, the FIRST book identifies a key procedure for adjusting and utilizing run targets. Again, you have now established your starting points for on press. Now that the press is operating in its sweet spot, we can now define our tolerances and take a snapshot. Often this is done using some form of a colorimetric test chart, which is then utilized in today's color management practices. How are we going to control this moving forward? And, how are we going to hold people accountable? This is where manage- ment really comes into play. Management can't single-handedly control the process. Its role is to communicate the color-con- trolled workflow to all employees through accountability. At the same time, management must provide updates of newly implemented workflow procedures and support the efforts of the process-improvement teams. UNDERSTANDING FIRST If you take a hard look at FIRST, it doesn't set any specific num- bers in stone. It's about establishing your own starting points and sticking to them. It's up to you, as the printer, to identify what those numbers are and get optimal color output. In the press characterization, you are going to look at tonal values and gray balance. If you can't print gray, you can't print. This was once stat- ed in an article by George Cusdin, titled, "Gray Balance Control" (FLEXO May 2000). If you want to be a quality printer, you have to get gray balance under control. FIRST 4.0 will make gray bal- ance, or "near neutral calibration," the first step in the process. Too many people look at the numbers in FIRST and believe they are the target values. They are not. Target densities are whatever you can achieve. Target tonal values should mirror your optimal color output. If you run to the numbers in that book, you are taking a set of specifications and turning them into standards. It is not, Flexographic Image Reproduction and STANDARDS. The book has identified that if you can get to those numbers, you are in a good place, but you might be able to do better. FIRST is just a starting point. It's about finding out what you can do, not what you should be doing. But before you can do that, you have to find those starting points. www.flexography.org MARCH 2008 FLEXO 25 Like FIRST, FFTA has recently intro- duced TEST (Technical Education Services Team), which will fol- low similar practices internally to bring our members consistency within FFTA training materials. For more information on TEST, contact Joe Tuccitto, FTA education director, at email@example.com. Prepress Supplier: Imaging Device: RIP Software: Printe r: Date: Country / Time: Plate Type: Scr een Family: Device Curve: Film Type: Resolution: City / State / Prov: Temperature (Units): Humidity: FFTA FIRST Characterization Report - Flexo Printing Up To 8 Colors Prepress: Laser Type: Dot Shape: Comp. Curve: Line Screen: Plate Height: Number of Lasers: Cell Pattern: Micron Siz e: Plate Relief: Plate Processor: Tape: Press Crew: Mounting: Maintenance: pH Device: Cylinder Repeat: Metering System: Substrate Lot: Ink Vendor: Ink / Base: Press Room Information: Print Process: Press Manuafcturer: Machine Age: Machine #: Din. / Zahn #: 5 Blade Manufacturer: Blade Material: Blade Type: Substrate: Substrate Spec: Substrate lbs: 1 Station / Deck: 24 3 7 68 Color: Density: Viscosity: pH: Drye r Temp: Anilox Number: Anilox Count: Anilox Volume: Anilox Hours: Anilox Angle: Measurement Data Lab Comments: MY: CY: CM: Run Time: # Samples Taken: # Samples Average: ICC Target: Test Form: Measurement Device: Absolute Value: W: K: C: M: Y: CMY: Calibration Date: Backing Sheet: Measurement Method: Version 01(DJA) 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 Station / Deck: Metering System: Cylinder Repeat: Substrate Lot: Press Crew: Tape: Substrate lbs: Maintenance: Mounting: Substrate Spec: Machine #: pH Device: Substrate: Machine Age: Din. / Zahn #: Blade Type: Press Manuafcturer: Ink / Base: Blade Material: Press Room Information: Print Process: Ink Vendor: Blade Manufacturer: Plate Type: Plate Height: Plate Processor: Sc re en Family: Line Scree n: Plate Relief: Device Curve: Comp. Curve: Micron Size: RIP Software: Dot Shape: Cell Pattern: Imaging Device: Laser Type: Number of Lasers: Prepress: Prepress Supplier: Film Type: Resolution: Date: Country / Time : Humidity: FFTA FIRST Characterization Report - Flexo Printing Up To 10 Colors Printer: City / State / Prov: Temperature (Units): Comments: MY: CY: Measurement Method: CM: Backing Sheet: CMY: Calibration Date: Y: Measurement Device: M: Test Form: C: ICC Target: K: # Samples Average: W: # Samples Taken: Measurement Data Absolute Value: L a b Run Time: Anilox Hours: Anilox Angle: Anilox Volume: Anilox Count: Anilox Number: Dryer Temp: pH: Viscosity: Density: Color: Version 01(DJA)