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FLEXO Magazine : May 2013
with ink drawdowns that reflect a match to a brand's colors on a particular substrate and anilox combination. During a print approval, a converter would match the desired brand colors within a specified ΔE tolerance while matching CMYK to a set of process conditions determined during the press characterization. With an expanded gamut proof, every graphic element has to be properly represented on a single output device and media. Unfortunately, the core color technology to provide an accu- rate expanded gamut proof, lagged behind the printing and separation technology. Software did not accurately predict the outcome of the flexo process. Proofing engines lacked the gamut needed to proof the expansion of additional RGB process colors. Breaking down the graphics, an expanded gamut proof must be able to predict standard process overprints, as well as highlight gain, solid laydown, and substrate influence. It also should account for the graying component, whether it be black, CMY or RGB. For example, if a brand color yellow is created using a solid process yellow and a highlight of orange, the proof must ac- curately show the influence of the substrate with the transpar- ent process ink and the typical press gain on a highlight dot (generally accepted around 15 percent). First generation color management software was often de- veloped for offset where profile targets rarely contained single color patches less than 10 percent or builds less than 5 percent with smoothed fades to zero. Using this type of color technology resulted in poor representation of the flexo process, leaving brand owners frustrated with the lack of predictability. As suppliers of color management began to understand the problems the industry was facing, they began to create software geared for flexo printing. Today, software has the ability to generate targeting designed with patches geared toward the highlights, while adding internal redundancy to ensure the position of web and print defects, does not influ- ence the accuracy of the profile. One of the most impactful improvements to generating an expanded gamut proof is the use of device link profiles. Rather than relying on the profile connection space using In- ternational Color Consortium (ICC) pairs, device link profiles contain mathematical information for a color conversion. This results in lower ΔE conversions while maintaining the black channel, helping to maintain gray component replacement and keeping cleaner primaries. These device link profiles are less flexible, however, and often are not compatible across multiple RIPS, software and output devices. The success of any proofing system relies heavily on the ability of an output device's gamut to encompass the print gamut. Until 2008, the industry relied on inkjet devices with a limited gamut, hampered by CMYK inks and light ink coun- terparts. As device manufacturers began to release inkjet devices with orange and green, the color space needed to ac- curately represent that of an expanded gamut system started www.flexography.org M AY 2013 FLEXO 39