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FLEXO Magazine : January 2014
PLANTS & PROCESSES PDFing For Packaging Include All Relevant Color Info in One File By Gary Russell Imagine having one single PDF file representing a pack- age, self contained and complete enough that, wherever it goes, it has all of the information needed to produce the package. This includes being able to make color accurate proofs and generate all necessary print tools without needing any supplementary documents. This is what is known as a “Blind File Transfer.” Although this capability is not practiced today, it may be in the future. Ghent Workgroup (GWG) is trying to make this a reali- ty. The organization’s color management subcommittee is working on the standardization of attaching all necessary color information for a package inside a PDF using the Color Exchange Format (CxF). This is an XML-based schema de- veloped by X-Rite to handle just about any color information needed. ONE FOR ALL In the past, especially in packaging, it was common to create multiple files for different uses. One may be set up for proofing, where the varnish is colored to show where it is going to print; another may have that setting turned off in order to make a color accurate proof. There are many other instances of this having to do with: • Dies • Language selection • Braille • Versioning It goes without saying that having multiple versions of a PDF file representing a package leaves numerous opportuni- ties for errors, not to mention the logistics of having to handle extra files or remembering to update multiple files when a change is requested. By organizing content into groups and applying tags based on intended use, these groups can be turned on or off—as needed—for different applications, without having to make separate files. Because these tags are standardized, a person picking up a file (or an automated workflow) will know the purpose of each group and be able to handle them accordingly. This is the first step in being able to establish a single PDF file as being a complete representation of the package. Stan- dardizing how these content groups are built, named and represented within a PDF allows vendors and users world- wide to seamlessly interact with one file for many different use cases. The consumers of these PDF files will be able to trust the content to a much greater extent. PDF COLOR MANAGEMENT The next step centers on color management. Historical- ly, there has been no way of communicating within a PDF file the necessary details about colors that are not in the document color space. If a document contained a color called “Acme Logo Red,” the only thing that document tells someone is its name. How this color should look, how it will interact with other colors and how to mix the ink—this information would have to be communicated through sep- arate means. These details could then be lost, changed or misinterpreted. It would also be difficult to incorporate this information into an automated workflow. In packaging, just about every job that comes through con- tains different inks being printed on different substrates using different print methods. There is no way a person could make color profiles for every possible combination of colors on all of the myriad substrates used for these packages, especially when colors are sometimes modified at the last minute to compensate for unforeseen influences. Imagine trying to make color profiles when there are different “flavored” colors used on each package. If you know enough about the print condition and ink being used, you can make a prediction about how the colors will reproduce without actually having to print them first. In the packaging sector of our industry, there has been an increase in the development of tools that model what will BENEFITS OF ONE PDF SYSTEM • Keeping relevant information together • Save time by producing fewer files • Mitigate chance for errors • Avoid forgetting to include an update/fix in all PDFs • Increased efficiency 42 FLEXO JANUARY 2014 www.flexography.org Visual ID of problem 4 inks same substrate All using different ingredients. Using Lab and DE all are within 2.o, Packages do not match in multiple lighting conditions. ie:the store