According to Bruce Myers, an assistant professor in the School of Media Sciences at Rochester Institute of Technology, the concept of value is “inextricably linked to consistency.” For package printers, their customers expect a consistent product, and to deliver consistency, it's imperative to adopt automation and control control.
On Wednesday, April 12, packagePRINTING hosted "The Secrets to Automation and Control," a webinar sponsored by Bobst, which focused on automation in the press room and the impacts it can have on color control. Myers, an expert in color in the printing industry, who, in addition to his academic experience, spent 14 years in various capacities at X-Rite, was one of the webinar’s presenters.
The webinar also covered the latest in UV-LED inks, presented by Niklas Olsson, global brand manager of Flint Group’s Packaging & Narrow Web division. Stay tuned to next week’s packagePRINTING inBOX for a recap of Olsson’s presentation.
Myers explained that the key to consistent print is driving variables out of an operation’s workflow. He cited a 2014 white paper from Smithers Pira that outlines five important steps for flexographic printers to adopt in their businesses, many of which revolve around eliminating variables in the printing process. The five steps Myers referred to are:
- Optimize prepress workflow to boost quality and turnaround
- Improved plate materials and imaging
- Anilox technology, link to ink and plates to boost process color — develop maximum process color gamut to minimize press downtime
- Growing use of process color to replace multiple spot colors, reducing changeover and waste
- Better press control through the use of independent servo motors to improve setup
By creating a “foundation” of a streamlined printing process that maximizes productivity through increased press uptime, Myers explained that converters can then turn their attention to selecting the best color management tool to serve their needs.
He explained that many color management systems are connected to defect detection systems, which often utilize an RGB camera to read on the moving web. Myers stated that these systems can scan an image and compare it to an original to detect if there are any discrepancies. However, he said they’re not necessarily providing the colorimetric data that can help printers make more informed decisions when managing color.
By providing specific known metrics, Myers explained communication can be made more efficient, and color data can be more clearly expressed internally in the shop, and externally to customers and vendors.