A special thank you to all of the presenters at the Flexo Quality Consortium’s (FQC) session at Forum 2018! It was well attended and received. Titled, “Cultivating Our Future Through Research,” it offered a look at promising initiatives, presentations from a pair of FTA scholarship recipients and more.
As mentioned at Forum, two members have retired from the FQC Executive Committee: Andy Knapp of Flint Group Flexographic Products and Shawn Oetjen of AWT Labels & Packaging. In addition, there are three new committee members: Catherine Haynes from All Printing Resources Inc (APR), Cori Devlin from DuPont Advanced Printing, and Joe Riccardella from Berry Global. Thank you to the retiring members for their service, and to the new members who will help guide and advise the project teams.
Two new FQC projects are beginning:
- Evaluating the impact of environmental factors, like temperature and humidity, on inks and coatings. The team for this project is being formed now and is looking for volunteers, specifically press manufacturers, anilox roll manufacturers, printers, ink makers and testing equipment suppliers
- A focus on opacity, as retail and CPC customers are concerned with the hiding power of white film and white ink on clear film. The purpose is to identify common white/black point specifications for backing materials, recommend a generic test method, create a correlation look-up table between instrument geometry and create a best practice for Flexographic Image Reproduction Specifications & Tolerances (FIRST)
Those interested in getting involved can contact any FQC Executive Team member or sign up through the FQC volunteer portal.
Standards Working Group Updates
The spring of 2018 saw the meeting of the ISO TC 130 Graphic Arts standards committee held April 16-20 in Berlin, Germany. Some of the results of that meeting were presented at Forum during the FQC session on Sunday, May 6. The fall plenary meetings of ISO TC 130 will be held Oct. 14-19 at an undetermined location in Tokyo, Japan.
Here are the actions that have occurred since the last Standards Working Group (SWG) update, including at the spring meeting, that were not discussed at Forum and are of interest to the FTA community.
ISO/TC 130 Graphic Arts – Standards of Interest to Flexography
- ISO 2836 Graphic technology – Prints and printing inks – Assessment of resistance of prints to various agents. Earlier in the year, this standard was up for re-approval, the U.S. Technical Advisory Group (TAG), including the FTA committee, had voted to have the standard revised because it did not reference ISO 2834-2, the standard for test print preparation of flexographic printing. The ISO working group (WG) responsible has accepted this but will first revise ISO 2834 from three parts back into a single standard that references all forms of test print preparations. This will resolve the objection to not referencing a standard on test print preparation from flexographic inks
- ISO/CD 12547-6 Graphic technology – Process control for the production of halftone color separations, proof and production prints – Part 6: Flexographic printing. Steve Smiley (of SmileyColor & Associates and the 2017 FTA Hall of Fame inductee) presented his proposed resolution of comments for the Committee Draft (CD) ballot. The wording of clause 4.3.5 on ink-set color reproducibility has been improved to help the reader make sense of the standard. Annex B will be incorporated into the main text. All comments have been resolved and the group agreed to have a second CD ballot on this important revision
- ISO/DTS 15311-1.4, Graphic technology – Requirements for printed matter for commercial and industrial production – Part 1: Measurement methods and reporting schema. This fourth draft of this Technical Specification (TS) was approved by the U.S. TAG with some comments. There were 41 comments and they were all addressed at the meeting in Berlin. The TS has one more ballot to incorporate the recommended changes and then proceed to publication. With each ballot, this standard has become more refined and the measurement systems better defined and explained
- ISO/WD 20616-1, Graphic technology – File format for quality control data and metadata – Part 1: Print Requirements eXchange (PRX). The Working Draft (WD) was revised during the meetings in Indonesia and the document has been submitted for a second WD ballot. This standard contains requirements for the use of XML to prepare files containing all of the requirements for a print job. The SWG has been following the development of this standard and of Part 2 on the exchange of the quality results of a print job. The CD ballot has not yet been released but when it is, it will be available for review and comment from FTA HQ
- ISO/NWI/CD 20616-2.3, Graphic technology – File format for quality control data and metadata – Part 2: Print Quality eXchange (PQX). This standard passed its third CD ballot and the comments were discussed and resolved at the meetings in Berlin. However, there were so many comments that at the Berlin meeting it was decided to send out a fourth CD ballot
- ISO/DTS 23031, Graphic technology – Assessment and validation of the performance of spectrocolorimeters and spectrodensitometers. This draft TS was discussed in Berlin and the comments from the Draft Technical Specification (DTS) ballot were not resolved. It was decided the document should be converted to a Technical Report (TR), as it is not yet desired to define required steps for instrument assessment. Since the proposed document contains various information and guidance on how to determine if your spectrodensitometer or spectrocolorimeter is operating within factory specifications within your planting plant, it will be important to determine a set of best practices from field testing before making any one path through the standard a requirement. There are many ways to accomplish the task of instrument assessment, but no one way has yet been identified as preferred or better. The document will be revised and reformatted, and sent out for ballot as a Draft Technical Report (DTR)
- ISO/PWI 21328 Graphic Technology – Requirements for multicolor printing. Steve Smiley presented his findings on multicolor printing. He and Clemson University’s Dr. Sam Ingram developed a first draft document containing requirements on multicolor process printing in flexographic reproduction. The document could be a good starting point and Steve explained the rationale of the document. Andreas Kraushaar (Fogra) showed a first candidate for FOGRA55, which is M1 based and non-process related 7-color color space. The multicolor printing is not limited to 7-color printing, because it could also be 5-, 6-, 7- or 8-channel printing. He proposed to start with 7-color printing. Alessandro Beltrami from Italy explained digital printing should not be covered by this scope, because it is impossible to cover all aspects of digital printing. The group discussed the aim of the project and Andreas prepared a list of open questions for multicolor printing. The ISO project had been stalled due to issues around offset printing. This move now forks the development so flexographic packaging printing can move forward without waiting for the offset committee to come to a consensus. FTA has clearly taken the lead here
Other Items of Note
Fogra announced it has initiated a project to assess the measurement of translucency. Many substrates in both commercial and package printing are intended to be either translucent or nearly opaque and the measurement scales for not fully transparent and not fully opaque are not well defined. This work will be of interest to flexo printers who print on clear films and yet need a white or colored layer to hide the materials behind the film or to provide a paper-like substrate for color printing.
Similarly, Phil Green, secretary of the ICC and a member of the ISO delegation from the U.K., has drafted a proposal for what he calls, “Visual Opacity.” The only visual part is a link to a visual assessment done by a graduate student at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology. Those findings show strong correlation to the measurement of contrast ratio. So, the standard is really about measuring contrast ratio with a linkage to the visual study that validates the results.
If you would like to review and 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 and a member of FTA’s Board of Directors and FFTA’s Board of Trustees. She has earned an AAS in graphic and design technology, a B.A. in printing management, an MBA and an M.A. 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 Kodak. Most recently, she served as the business development manager – packaging group for RR Donnelley. In 2017, she received the FTA President’s Award.
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 and the Mattiello Memorial Award from the American Coatings Association in 2015.