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FLEXO Magazine : November 2013
they suggest an ECG process, people are uneasy at first. They are concerned Beck will be unable to create accurate separations without press tests and trials—and they are not necessarily comfortable with proof-to-press matches due to negative experiences in the past. Beck walks printers through its workflow and explains how the technology it uses will help alleviate their concerns. Print- ers fret over dirty print in the highlights. Beck explains how it uses high-definition flexo and new plating technologies: • MicroCell screening strategies offer a more consistent, clean sheet on wide web • Plates, themselves, have improved • With proofing, Beck has developed a process to get to color data—including linearization, fingerprint and confirmation As expected, proofing plays an enormous part in the pro- cess. A good amount of testing and fingerprinting is conduct- ed upfront to understand color gamut and how the printer is printing. It’s done so by the time they get on press and reach their correct densities, they “are there.” “If you can show a customer a proof of what they expect, then compare it to the printed result and show that it actu- ally matches, the credibility of what we offer is enormous with printers,” says Causey. “ I do not like press trials to get to color. I prefer to gather as much information in the finger- printing process and let our proofs set the expectation. Then, when printers run their first press trial, they are excited. Communication is key. Beck articulates the process from the client’s and converter’s perspectives. It explains in advance what everyone will be seeing each step of the way, setting expectations upfront and detailing what it can guaran- tee. Once the brand owner sees better than expected results compared to past experience, that’s when everyone wins. It’s crucial to manage color from concept all the way to the shelf. According to Beck, great looking TIFFS are useful, but if the process, as a whole, is not managed, the desired results will never come. It is vital to manage the color downstream on every pressrun. When done right, print quality and productivity are im- proved. “ We can help reduce press setup and downtime when changing from job to job,” adds Brown. “Brand owners are changing the way they market to the consumer and it is forcing a change in the print industry. Long runs are less frequent than in the past. There are lots of short runs due to specialty designs created by the brand owner to keep the consumers’ attention. There are many design changes.” enAbLing & FACiLiTATing CreATiviTY If the ultimate objective is to eliminate flexo rules to free the designer to focus on creativity—while offering each printer the tools to make it happen, cost effectively—there needs to be technologies in place to make this happen. Beck has been able to weave many new prepress tech- nologies to help eliminate flexo rules and, in the process, help to reproduce brand intent. Two of the technologies that have made a very significant impact to the Beck process and reaching brand goals are ECG (or multi-color printing) and high-definition flexo. With these technologies, screens are able to fade to zero and designers have an almost infinite number of colors to work with. “Color is the core of what we do,” notes Hall. “ If you do not have a measurable color management process to help converters stay on track, you are not going to reproduce print on a consistent basis.” eXTending TonAL rAnge In the past couple of years, the technology that manages multi-color printing to provide ECG has been considerably en- riched. It is more economical and images look better than ever. While it is certainly true that print- ing with CMYK will cover a reason- able gamut, printing with seven colors extends it considerably more. What printers realize quickly is that while cer- tain tint builds will not perfectly match all Pantone colors, they do become their own color standards. When they show these standards to a customer, while assuring that they can always match those colors, the entire process is more stable. While they may not be able to match a Pantone 186 red by mixing an ink, the printer and the designer can agree that their tint build to that color will always be very close— and always, consistently, the same. The reason is quite simple. The printer is us- ing the same inks and tooling on every job. If the designer knows that upfront, there is no problem. The printer is not blending inks in a kitchen before every new job—which has its own variations— nor is the printer mixing and matching different aniloxes or chemistries. Even press settings can remain the same with ECG printing. Most printers will assert that they are more consistent with ECG printing than with either 4-color process or with spot colors. They can also get to color faster on the press. Printing with seven colors increases the color gamut about 70 percent over 4-color process (see Figure 1.) Beck At- lanta attests that with the larger gamut it achieves greater stability, with a nicer, cleaner, higher chroma image. In 7-color printing, adding orange, green and violet to CMYK, colors are cleaner (see Figure 2). This is the Triplet Concept. Looking at a hue wheel, you can see that every color influences only one-third of the hues. For example, cyan influences 100 per- cent of the colors in a CMYK model, but only 33 percent of the color when you add OGV. Cyan drops out of two-thirds of the color space. This means that colors that get dirty or muddy, such as oranges and reds, remain clean. The Triplet Concept (seen in Figure 3) applies to spot colors as well as images. A Pantone 185 red, for example, is far more stable when built with orange and magenta than with Figure 2: In 7-color printing—adding orange, green and violet to CMYK—colors are cleaner. It’s the Triplet Concept. Looking at a hue wheel, every color influences only one-third of the hues. For example, cyan influences 100 percent of the colors in a CMYK model, but only 33 percent of the color when you add OGV. Figure 3: The Triplet Concept applies to spot colors, as well as images. A Pantone 185 red, for example, is far more stable when built with orange and magenta than with yellow and magenta, because orange is closer to Pantone 185 than yellow is. It used to be common belief that there was no benefit to printing with seven colors to match a 4-color image. Now it is proven that printing with seven colors is more stable. www.flexography.org NOVEMbEr 2013 FLeXO 43 42 FLeXO NOVEMbEr 2013 www.flexography.org © 2013 Harper