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FLEXO Magazine : November 2013
PLANTS & PrOCESSES From Chaos To Control Transforming The Packaging Industry With Color Management by Patrice Aurenty Brand owners want a productive and dependable value chain that remains profitable. In it, consistency is critical for packaging printers, as is being logisti- cally located for ease of supplying the package to the brand owners’ plants. Due to the expense of technology, as well as the amount of space and training required to operate equip- ment, color communicated from the brand’s designers was traditionally handled by experts within the value chain. Today, that’s changing. Brand owners want a harmonization of brand colors across all substrates, applications and geographies to communicate their brand equity to consumers worldwide, however, this is very difficult due to regulatory issues, logistics and economics all being managed cohesively. In 2005, GISTICS, a think tank devoted to customer en- gagement and content transformation, reported that as many as 73,507 daily interactions took place per product launch, creating chaos and confusion. In 2003, the Food & Drug Administration reported it took 12 months to launch a stock keeping unit (SKU) from design to shelf, costing an average of COLOR “DNA” • Brand owners want a harmonization of brand colors across all substrates, applications and geographies to communicate their brand equity to consumers • Color management is often a mix of gut feel, operator experience and the somewhat inconsistent use of measurement tools and samples of uncontrolled origin • To take the guesswork out of color in packaging, every participant in the supply chain must be working from the same, scientific point of reference: the spectral data of a color • Every color that can be printed can also be measured and its characteristics stored as a spectral curve that acts as the “DNA” of the color • Total color management in packaging is no longer the elusive Holy Grail—the data and systems that make it a reality are already here $6,700. Due to the color getting lost in translation, an addition- al 40 percent to 70 percent of costs was added just for rework. In the packaging industry, regardless of the vertical market, the same business issues float to the surface in most discussions with brand owners and their suppliers. Brand consistency across formats, substrates and geographies is a business-critical objective, tied in with the desire to streamline processes, introduce efficiencies where possible, manage cost by eliminating waste and accelerate time to market. CorreCT CoLor Without a doubt, color inaccuracy and inconsistency can be a major cause of delays and bottlenecks in the process. The universe of different individuals involved in reviewing and approving color for a particular job can be vast and geographi- cally disparate, making it hard to communicate effectively and get a grip on something as slippery as “correct color.” Of course, the packaging community has taken steps to take out the guesswork around color. In the field of process color, that has mainly been a question of introducing and enforcing standards such as ISO for the participants in the supply chain to adhere to. The difference: Colors are created by mixing on the press rather than pre-mixing (as a spot color). Here the require- ment is for the ink manufacturer to produce inks to the color specification set that meets the standards for the appropriate printing technology in ISO2846. Then the converter must set up and control the press in line with ISO12647 and profile the press, so that the color created from it is measurable and predictable. This enables the creation of a good quality and consistent color image that matches the original brand owner design. Library building using real ink on real substrate Same ink on different substrates 73,507 Daily interactions per product launch 12 Months Time to launch SKU design to shelf $6,700 Average cost of launch 40%-70% Rework cost added to each launch due to color getting lost in translation 36 FLeXO NOVEMbEr 2013 www.flexography.org www.flexography.org NOVEMbEr 2013 FLeXO 37