FQC/SWG Updates: New Projects & Meeting Activity

Flexo Quality Consortium FQC LogoThe calendar year may be ending, but the work being undertaken by the Flexo Quality Consortium (FQC) is ongoing. Currently, the FQC is working on a pair of projects and exploring a third.

Current Projects

The first is called the Ink Temp Project. The team is working on Phase 1, which will be an evaluation of the effect of ink temperature changes on print attributes. This phase will utilize proofing equipment to tightly control the variables in lab settings. The goal will be to demonstrate that changes in ink temperature will affect the print.

Phase 2 will likely take this information to press and determine what variables in the pressroom contribute to an increase in ink temperature affecting print quality and productivity. The project team consists of three ink makers, three equipment suppliers, a plate maker and two printers.

The second project is about opacity. Currently, that project’s team is testing various substrates with different equipment in preparation to establish their experimental design. This team consists of four prepress/color management professionals, three equipment manufacturers, two printers and two plate makers.

Want to join either of these projects? Visit the FQC web page to learn more about being part of an FQC project and sign up to help.

Third Project’s a Charm

We have just started planning of a potential third project. At FORUM 2019, we had a meeting to discuss the “magenta conundrum.” Brand owners want their print providers to run to CRPC6 (aka GRACoL 2013) as a global standard—which includes a magenta hue angle of 357 degrees (ISO 12647-6 flexo standard).

However, depending on the flexo segment, this can vary widely from printer to printer. A vast majority are running out of specification at 6 degrees to 12 degrees. Much of this discrepancy is due to the pigments used in the ink systems. The recommended pigment (ISO and FIRST) is R57 at a hue angle of 357 degrees. However, many ink makers are using R52 with a hue angle of 6 degrees to 12 degrees for compatibility and print production practices.

The objective of this project will be to measure and document how the overall printed color gamut changes based on magenta pigment selection and determine how this affects print production practices. The team will be forming as soon as the charter is approved!

SWG Update

Amid this update, the ISO TC 130 meetings were in full swing in Lehi, UT. This is the annual plenary meeting and formal actions were taken on the last day of the meetings. Many of the ballots that were discussed in the last Standards Working Group (SWG) update were discussed and the next steps determined. ISO has issued a new Code of Conduct and now only a person registered with a national mirror group (American National Standards Institute for the US) and pre-registered for the meetings will be allowed to sit in on the committee meetings. I will try to capture here the activities that may be of interest to the flexographic printing community.

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. A third Committee Draft (CD) ballot was posted and closed Sept. 13. The document passed the third CD but with a number of strong comments. It is being prepared for a fourth CD ballot with the goal of having it out for the Draft International Standard (DIS) ballot before the fall 2020 meetings. This is the revision of the test for resistance to various agents and the Working Group (WG) is looking for volunteers from various countries who are interested in this process and would like to participate in a round-robin trial. This trial would require following ISO procedures with some specified printed materials and agents to determine how consistent the assessment results will be. If you have an interest in participating this round-robin test, please reach out to the FQC and let us know
  • ISO 12647-2, Graphic technology — Process control for the production of half-tone color separations, proofs and production prints — Part 6: Offset lithographic processes. The revision of this standard is moving slower than hoped. There have been several side meetings over the past couple of months to develop new wording that can fit into the ISO 12647-2 format that will clearly show how the near neutral methodology, known as G7, can be used to set up a press to produce correct color images. It appears that the text will be accepted and the new, revised standard will be out for ballot just after the meetings this winter. Hopefully, there will have been significant movement leading to an update in the spring
  • ISO/CD 20616-1, Graphic technology — File format for quality control data and metadata —Part 1: Print Requirements eXchange (PRX). A second CD ballot was sent out and it closed in mid-October. Once again, the ballot passed. It looks like this long-awaited standard will finally move forward to the DIS phase and by the end of summer 2020 may finally be published
  • ISO/FDIS 20616-2, Graphic technology — File format for quality control data and metadata — Part 2: Print Quality eXchange (PQX). The FDIS ballot was submitted to ISO headquarters on Aug. 30. The Final Draft International Standard (FDIS) ballot process requires about eight weeks to work through all of the final drafting and editing and then a short review period for editorial changes only. Thus, this new standard on how to format the requirements for a print job should be available for purchase now
  • ISO/CD2 23395, Graphic technology — Method and device for testing the ink or varnish adhesion of a substrate. There was a second CD on this new standard because in the first ballot there was a typographic error in its title and that forced a second ballot. This standard will be of interest to flexo printers as it describes a method and a device for assessing the adhesion of a coating or ink to a substrate at the end of the press. It is a joint standard between WG4 on Materials and WG14 on Print Quality. Interestingly, the device is not a commercial product and the standard provides all or most of the information required to have the device fabricated
  • ISO/DTS2 23564, Image technology color management — Evaluating color transform accuracy in ICC profiles. This second draft Technical Specification (TS) was out for ballot and passed with only two minor comments, one from Australia and one from the US. This document describes procedures for evaluating the accuracy of colorimetric rendering intents in ICC profiles. It applies to v4 ICC profiles made according to ISO 15076-1. It does not apply to subjective tests of ICC profiles, e.g. for Perceptual or Saturation rendering intents, and it does not apply to high dynamic range color media or spaces

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.