This Flexo Quality Consortium (FQC) quarterly update is focused on projects! Our dedicated teams, and many member companies, have participated in numerous press trials to gather the data needed to report the valuable information our projects set out to obtain. These results will be shared at the FQC Preconference Session, “#Research,” at Forum 2017.
High Resolution Printing Project
As you may recall, the High Resolution Printing Project has already reported on Part A: Print Output Metrics. This initial portion of the project was to define and implement a new test target and define the print quality attributes that are relevant to a high resolution image. Once the attributes were identified and agreed upon by the team, a data collection sheet was developed for use at press trials.
The team is now ready to report out on Part B: Performance Comparison. The team focused on narrow web and called on member companies to participate in the research. The scope of Part B was to conduct print trials using the test target and metrics to assess the impact of the various technologies on print quality. The report will summarize and discuss the comparative print results from the narrow web print trials conducted over the last year. The results show there are discernible differences in print quality using available technologies.
As we conclude the narrow web segment of the Part B project, we are excited to move on to the wide web segment and will be seeking active participants.
The CxF Project is continuing its effort to discover and define spot color integration in a color managed CMYK workflow. Press characterization is a timely process and the flexographic process has inherent variability that can degrade the accuracy of a color profile. Providing a faster and more accurate way to characterize color produced on press may offer improved efficiency in color reproduction.
Procedures leading to significant efficiencies in color production are promising. The team has conducted two narrow web press trials under controlled conditions. The team is gathering data on more than 30,000 blocks of color. The project report will detail the team’s efforts in printing, measuring and developing the tools incorporating “spectral blending” technology in color reproduction.
Plate & Tape Optimization
The Flexo Plate and Tape Optimization Project is also in the data analysis stage. As we know, new plate technologies are coming out rapidly. The optimization of the polymer plate and tape combination is critical to print quality and press productivity. Plate durometer and stickyback tape density are the two variables in this changing dynamic. The team has conducted several wide web press trials at member companies following the same protocol and consisted of 12 different plate/tape combinations. The results indicate that changes in plate durometer require a fresh look at the tape density needed to optimize print quality. The team will present the results that may change the way you print today.
The final presentation, #Research!, is a two-part look at expanded gamut (EG) printing—ink sequence and EG’s perceived impact on the consumer. This session will be data rich and start you thinking about applications in your own operations. #DoNotMissThisSession!
The winter of 2016-2017 has been somewhat slower for the Standards Working Group (SWG). There were a few ballots left from the fall, after the last ISO TC 130 meetings held at Adobe headquarters in San Jose, CA.
One of the areas that has raised some interest among those who follow the SWG was two new standards being drafted covering file formats for print requirements and print quality. They are termed PRX and PQX, respectively. The FQC/SWG membership has been following these closely and we have been posting the minutes and presentations from committee meetings.
The next meeting of the ISO TC 130 Graphic Arts standards committee is set for June 4-11 at Ryerson University in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The meetings will be a full seven days—the longest TC 130 meeting in the history of the committee.
Working Group 2
The prepress data exchange group saw updates to:
- ISO/NWI/CD 12641-2 Graphic technology – Prepress digital data exchange – Part 2: Advanced color targets for input scanner calibration. The working draft (WD) was approved and the comments that were submitted are being resolved. A new committee draft (CD) was to be prepared for ballot by the end of the year. As of the time of this report, no new ballot has been received
- ISO 12647-8:2012 Graphic technology – Process control for the production of halftone color separations, proof and production prints – Part 8: Validation print processes working directly from digital data. This standard is under systematic review to see if it needs to be revised or if it can be kept for another five year period. The ballot is to close on May 26
- ISO 15930-1:2001, Graphic technology – Prepress digital data exchange – Use of PDF – Part 1: Complete exchange using CMYK data (PDF/X-1 and PDF/X-1a). This standard is under systematic review and is being balloted to see if a revision is required. The ballot closed on Feb. 10, but no results were available at the time of this writing
- ISO 16684-1:2012 Graphic technology – Extensible metadata platform (XMP) specification – Part 1: Data model, serialization and core properties. This standard is under systematic review and the ballot will close on May 26
- ISO/NWI/CD 20616-2, Graphic technology – File format for quality control data and metadata – Part 2: Print Quality eXchange (PQX). This is a new work item; the CD ballot closed on Dec. 9. The U.S. voted to approve the ballot, but included four pages of comments, both editorial and technical
- ISO/DIS 16613-1, Graphic technology – Variable content replacement – Part 1: Using PDF/X for variable content replacement (PDF/VCR-1). The U.S. voted to approve this DIS ballot without comment and it is expected that an FDIS should be issued in the first quarter of this year
- ISO/DIS 17972-4, Graphic technology – Color data exchange format (CxF/X) – Part 4: Spot color characterization data (Cx- F/X-4). This standard is currently being balloted and the ballot closed on March 3. The main revisions are to the electronic annex, which contains examples of the use of this format for exchange of spot color data. One comment that has risen is that the current draft requires printing of spot color inks over both a black and a white substrate, and the black substrate must be made using pigmented black ink. This is probably too restrictive
- ISO/FDIS 19593-1, Graphic technology – Use of PDF to associate processing steps and content data – Part 1: Processing steps 2016. This ballot was approved at the DIS stage in September but has yet to be released in an FDIS ballot
- ISO/PWI/WD 20616-1, Graphic technology – File format for quality control data and metadata – Part 1: Print Requirements eXchange (PRX). A slide deck on the development of this standard has been uploaded to the FQC management
- Working Group 3
The process control and related metrology group saw updates to:
- ISO/FDIS 20654, Graphic technology – Measurement and calculation of spot color tone value. This draft standard passed the DIS ballot and has been revised, and went out for FDIS ballot with a closing date of Feb. 3. The results are forthcoming
- ISO/PWI 21328, Graphic technology – Standard ink set for multicolor printing. Several lab and production scale trials are scheduled for this technology and a working draft ballot is anticipated very soon. Currently, the inks submitted for trial are consistent with the aims given in the current version of Flexographic Image Reproduction Specifications & Tolerances (FIRST). No new information has been disclosed on this proposed work item
Joint Working Group 7
The color management group, in conjunction with the ICC, had one update:
- ISO/CD 20677, Image technology color management – Extensions to architecture, profile format, and data structure. A committee draft went out for ballot and closed on Feb. 3
Joint Working Group 8
The color measurement group, in conjunction with ISO TC 42 Photography, also has one update:
- ISO/DIS 13655.2 Graphic technology – Spectral measurement and colorimetric computation for graphic arts images. The second DIS ballot was approved and an FDIS ballot has been submitted to ISO for distribution
If you would like to review and offer comment on any of the upcoming ballots on these standards, please contact FTA Director of Education Joe Tuccitto.
About the Authors: Jean Engelke is the chair of FTA’s Flexo Quality Consortium. She has earned an AAS in Graphic and Design Technology, a BA in Printing Management, an MBA, and an MA in Industrial Engineering Management. Jean started her career teaching Printing and Paper Science at Western Michigan University. She has held positions in R&D, engineering and global product marketing with Appleton Papers, Alcan Packaging and Eastman Kodak Company. Currently she is the Business Development Manager – Packaging Group for RR Donnelley.
Dr. Danny Rich obtained a master’s degree in physics in 1977 from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in Blacksburg, VA. In 1998, he joined Sun Chemical Corp. to direct the Sun Chemical Color Research Laboratory in the Daniel J. Carlick Technical Center in Carlstadt, NJ. He has been awarded the Nickerson Service award from the Inter-Society Color Council in 1999, the National Printing Ink Manufacturers award for Technical Achievement in 2008, a Thomas Alva Edison award for innovation by the Research Council of New Jersey in 2008, the Robert F Reed Medal from the Printing Industries of America in 2013, the Mattiello Memorial award from the American Coatings Association in 2015.