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FLEXO Magazine : May 2013
to take shape. These devices were able to bring the average ∆E of a proof-to-print match from 5 ∆E to below 3 ∆E when proofing on a high-quality paper proofing media. Most recently, manufacturers are offering the same en- hanced gamut with the ability to proof on actual substrate, further enhancing the ability to demonstrate to the brand own- er the true look and feel of the finished package. These latest devices can generally be offered at a fraction of the cost of a dot proof, and the gamut of these inkjet printers now reaches what a dot proof could achieve within 1 ∆E. Each of these technology enhancements has driven time and cost from the system, while enhancing the predictability of the proofing system — something extremely important when considering altering color on press, while running jobs in combination. Less costly and faster expanded gamut proof turnarounds help drive decisions on color further upstream in the process, where managing color is performed digitally, rather than on multi-million dollar printing presses. PROOFING & PREDICTABILITY Now that proofing accuracy has reached a point where brand owners have accepted its predictability, they have begun to accept expanded gamut separations as a viable so- lution to help achieve higher levels of profitably. It is expected the industry will continue to embrace the newest technologies as a way to enhance its products. The development of flat top dots on the plate has allowed expanded gamut to reach another level of quality. Better solid laydown leads to a larger gamut, reducing the impact of the substrate. This can be especially important in snack packag- ing, where metalized films are widely used. Gamut expansion, again, begins to push the limit of what proofing devices are capable of producing. Flat top dots have also generated more consistency in the plate and higher impression latitude, resulting in a more consistent package from the first impression to the last. These en- hancements also reduce variability in the press character- ization process and printruns that lead to inaccurate profiles being used for proofing. A comparison of an extended proofing gamut to the print result: The spectral field represents inkjet on gloss media; the cyan field represents wide web clear film. Devices with additional inks make it possible to accurately represent the expanded gamut printing result. Gamut Comparison: The red field represents inkjet on paper; the spectral field shows inkjet on clear film. 40 FLEXO mAy 2013 www.flexography.org