FQC/SWG Updates: New Projects & Upcoming Meetings

Flexo Quality Consortium FQC LogoAnother quarter, another standards update. And speaking of standards, did you all have the opportunity to read Dr. Danny Rich’s article, “From Practice to Standard,” in the April issue of FLEXO Magazine?

Danny is the chair of the Flexo Quality Consortium’s (FQC) Standards Working Group (SWG). We are fortunate to have his expertise in the life of a standard that encompasses the types of documents, rules of submission, various paths these documents take on the way to becoming an ISO standard and the nuances of the entire process. If you have not had the chance to read the article, please do. It breaks down the lengthy process into very understandable terms. Thank you, Danny!

As we reported last quarter, we now have a portal for you to comment on any of the current ballots up for review. Get involved!

Forum 2019 is in the rearview mirror now, and what an incredible event! It was great seeing everyone in New Orleans learning about technology, research, brand owner preferences and print quality advancements. The FQC session, “FQC: Research Is the Key to a Successful Flexo Future,” brought together student scholarship research, an FQC project report and, for the first time, a presentation from the winning Phoenix Challenge College Competition team. What a tremendous bundle of our future workforce demonstrating their curiosity, insight and ability to move flexo to new levels.

We currently have two new projects starting. The first is going to be evaluating the impact of environmental factors like temperature and humidity on inks and coatings. The second is all about opacity. Retail and CPC brand clients are concerned with the opacity or hiding power of white film and white ink on clear film. ISO standards and test methods do not exist specifically for application in the printing industry. We want to identify common white/black point specifications for backing materials, recommend a generic test method, create a correlation lookup table between instrument geometry and create a best practice for Flexographic Image Reproduction Specifications & Tolerances (FIRST). The teams are just getting started. Look for more updates soon!

SWG Updates

With the recent ISO TC 130 meetings, which were held May 27-31 in Hong Kong, China, there has been a lot of activity. Many ballots were either completed, posted or finished prior to the May meetings.

The fall meeting is scheduled to be held Oct. 27-Nov. 1 at the Adobe facility in Lehi, UT.

ISO/TC 130 Graphic Arts – Standards of Interest to Flexography

  • ISO/CD2 2836, Graphic technology — Prints and printing inks — Assessment of resistance of prints to various agents

This second Committee Draft (CD) ballot was fully approved and will now move to Draft International Standard (DIS) phase. This is the revision of the test for resistance to various agents and the US Technical Advisory Group (US TAG) through FTA added several additional agents to the list.

  • ISO/CD 12647-6, Graphic technology — Process control for the production of half-tone colour separations, proofs and production prints — Part 6: Flexographic printing

The document had been out for ballot. The US TAG voted to approve but filed 24 comments on the draft, which will be resolved. The global comments were discussed last month in Hong Kong. This standard was approved last year and immediately, a need for a minor revision was proposed. This will be the anchor standard for process printing in the flexographic printing industry.

  • ISO/CD 15930-9, Graphic technology — Prepress digital data exchange using PDF — Part 9: Complete exchange of printing data (PDF/X-6) and partial exchange of printing data with external profile reference (PDF/X-6p and PDF/X-6n) using PDF 2.0

This standard was restarted earlier this year, as the time for development of it expired. But it was restarted at a faster pace. It was approved at this CD stage with about nine pages of comments, most of them editorial, so it will likely be moved to a Final Draft International Standard (FDIS) ballot following the meetings in Hong Kong.

This is a really important standard, as it documents how to use the new PDF 2.0 standard to create content and exchange that content, along with references to external ICC profiles. Once this is in place, it will no longer be necessary to strip an embedded profile from a PDF so that the local printing system can be utilized.

  • ISO/CD 18947-1, Imaging materials and prints — Abrasion resistance — Part 1: General rub testing methods

This is a new Joint Work Item (JWI) between ISO/TC 42/JWG27, ISO/TC 130 and ISO/IEC/JTC1/SC28. It covers the use and reporting on the automated testing of the abrasion resistance of printed media. It is an international standardization of the tests based on instruments like the Sutherland rub tester. This is a very important attribute to packaging and label printers whose product must maintain its appearance while being shipped from place to place. The ballot due date was May 10.

  • ISO/DTS 18621-11, Graphic technology — Image quality evaluation methods for printed matter – Part 11: Colour gamut analysis

This draft Technical Specification (TS) was out for ballot and has passed internationally with only a few comments. It will therefore be published. This specification document describes how to evaluate and compare the color gamuts of reproduction systems. It is critically important in taking process print work from one reproduction medium to another while maintaining the color appearance of the images.

  • ISO/DTS 23564 Image technology colour management — Evaluating colour transform accuracy in ICC profiles

This new TS was approved with only one negative vote, coming from The Netherlands. The document provides details on how to assess the accuracy of a colorimetric rendering intent from a given ICC profile. It will be extremely useful as the industry moves to more blind transfers and the use of external ICC profiles using PDF 2.0.

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 Headshot
Jean Engelke is chair-elect of the Foundation of FTA’s Board of Trustees. She is also the chair of FTA’s Flexo Quality Consortium and a member of FTA’s Board of Directors. 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.
Danny Rich Headshot
Dr. Danny Rich obtained a master’s degree in physics in 1977 from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in Blacksburg, VA, and in 1980 completed a Ph.D. at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. 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, and both the Inter-Society Color Council’s (ISCC) Godlove Award and an FTA President’s Award in 2019.