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FLEXO Magazine : July 2013
seconds. Most high-end packaging is now designed for 8-to-10 colors, utilizing CMYK and an ever changing variety of Pantone colors, specific to design families, brands, and logos. Expanded Gamut standardizes the printing process to CMYK + 3 Pantone colors, such as orange, green, and violet, to achieve difficult colors not in the CMYK printing color gamut. This eliminates the need to constantly swap Pantone color ink formulations on press. By standardizing the same seven colors, printers can purchase ink in bulk and produce the majority of the color spectrum needed. This drastically reduces press setup times, which will, in turn, reduce costs. Software like Esko’s Equinox has extremely simplified the conversion process for trade houses and printers to achieve consistent great results. This lessens the need for graphic designers to change how they are currently working. Experi- enced separators can convert most existing designs on the fly. Utilizing the proper ink set and quality conversion software is the key to increasing the color spectrum, maintaining con- sistency, and reducing makeready costs. When using expanded gamut, reverse copy that was once a single spot color may now be made up of two-to-three colors to achieve the same PMS match. There’s now the issue of holding reverse copy registration in these areas that wasn’t an issue with a one color PMS spot. This is a challenge for flat plates, especially when talking about press widths averaging 50-in. and more. Tight tolerances in registration with elasto- mer sleeves allow printers to hold offset like traps as low as .0 03 -in., which has become critically important for these multi- color reverses. GRAY COMPONENT REPLACEMENT One of the best ways to maximize the effectiveness of expanded gamut is to partner it with advanced separation technologies, like gray component replacement (GCR). GCR is the conversions of full range colors, limited to hue and saturation, as opposed to creating hue, saturation and lightness. The lightening and darkening aspect of the color is removed from the range and added into the black for neutral- ity, consistency, and control. Think of colors as white and black colors. White colors are lighter printing and are only adding neutrality and shading, like the cyan in a red apple. Black colors are the heavy print- ing color, adding saturation and hue richness, like the magen- ta and yellow in the red apple. In another color example, like a green tree, the magenta would be the white color adding only neutrality and shading and the yellow and cyan would be the black colors, printing heavy and creating the saturation and hue richness. GCR is the removal of most, if not all of this white/gray color, from each color and then seamlessly adding it back into a full 44 FLEXO July 2013 www.flexography.org EXTRUSION | PRINTING | CONVERTING Superior craftsmanship and an artisan’s approach to printing. Food packaging with imagery that makes your mouth water. Take Sunshine Plastics and add a CI press from W&H and you’ve got a winning combination. GOLDAWARDGOLDAWARDGOLDAWARD Congratulations to all the winners of the 2013 Flexographic Technical Association’s (FTA) Excellence in Flexography Awards. Sunshine Plastics of Montebello, CA won Best of Show and Gold in the wide-web category for this outstanding wrapper for Duck a L’Orange, printed on a W&H 10-color press. 23 New England Way · Lincoln, Rhode Island 02865 - 4252 Phone: 800 - 854 - 8702 · firstname.lastname@example.org · www.whcorp.com Windmoeller & hoelscher GCR ADVANTAGES 1. Reduced color ink consumption: composite grays are replaced with less expensive black ink 2. Increased color palette and higher possible ink densities 3. Neutral and consistent gray balance independent of color density changes: grays are primarily made up of black, allowing individual color densities to be increased or decreased as needed to achieve color and saturation without affecting the neutrality of the grays. This allows for more consistency over the course of the run length 4. Less fades to zero and less chance of break offs in unwanted colors: for example, in oversaturated colors, instead of having minimum dot require- ments or fades to zero of cyan and black, in a detailed red you would now only have black. This would be similar with magentas in greens; yellow in blues; cyan in browns and tans, etc. This leads to better quality highlights 5. The ability to drop to a lower anilox roll on a specific color, if a pressman needs to hit a difficult density: this would have minimal to no effect on the majority of the other colors. For example you could increase the cyan density to get more color to greens, cyans, and blues and not effect browns and flesh tones 6. By minimizing overlap of opposite color hues for darkening, GCR allows better screening and less conflict with expanded gamut. A majority of colors are created by only two primary colors for hue, in- stead of three. Then, only black is added for shad- ing. Changes in tonal range are better perceived because of reduced hue shifts 7. Control of print contrast across the entire color spectrum without changing the saturation and hue