The Flexo Quality Consortium (FQC) established the Standards Working Group (SWG) to both inform the membership of developing standards that may affect our industry and to seek input on those proposals so our voices would be heard during the development process.
Dr. Danny Rich of Sun Chemical is currently the leader of the SWG. FTA Hall of Fame Member Steve Smiley of SmileyColor & Associates is also a member of the team, and both Danny and Steve are active committee members on several standard-setting bodies.
Danny and Steve are on the front lines for us, making sure our technology is recognized, our research and advancements are communicated and alerting us to new standards that will affect the way we do business. You have all seen the fantastic job Danny and Steve do as they explain the standards documents and update us (with a bit of humor) on what it means to you during the FQC’s session at Forum every year.
What we are not seeing is any feedback from the membership that will support our contributions on behalf of our organization (FTA). We publish the SWG Update quarterly in FLEXO Magazine so membership is informed of what is going on with relevant standards development. The summary is brief and easy to understand. The SWG is a small group and its members only represent a fraction of the composition of our diverse membership. That means if a proposed standard does not align with their expertise and experience, we may not be providing the right input during the development process.
That is where we need you!
Here is a current example. You should all know that ISO 12647-6 Graphic technology – Process control for the production of halftone color separations, proofs and production prints, Part 6: Flexographic printing will affect our entire industry. This document is currently being revised. We have long struggled with ink color and process control based on offset standards that measure ink on a white substrate. This standard is focused on giving us the flexibility to define the requirements for the exchange of data and information necessary to define colors in flexo printing of packaging and publication materials. It will provide guidelines so those in the flexo workflow will agree on targets for the job, while maintaining the ability to provide a neutral print density from well-balanced inks.
The standard applies to all print using flexo and includes proofing processes as well. Who among us has not struggled with a print buyer bringing a color swatch on white backing to a reverse print clear film flexo pressrun and being asked to “match” the sample? Press goes down, inks are questioned, anilox are switched out and the spin begins. The primary changes in the new revision are in the color definitions. The primary changes are requiring ISO 20654 for tone value of spot color, as well as requiring ISO 17972-4 CxF data for characterization of spot colors. They have also updated the plate section to optimize calibration aligning to new CDI technologies.
Lastly, the category of inks has changed from non-lightfast to traditional. These changes should provide more consistent color and tints in brand colors, and simplify workflows for printers and brands. Does anyone reading this article (printer, ink supplier, proofing device manufacturer, brand owner) have input on the success and/or definition of this important standard? In short, you should. We’d like to hear from you.
There is another one: ISO 12641-2, Graphic technology – Prepress digital data exchange – Part 2: Advanced color targets for input scanner calibration. This vote/input should be very important to proofing and prepress members and those expanding operations into digital print. It is looking at an enhanced collection of color sets to be used in devices to demonstrate the range of color the device can produce—not a copy of what goes on press. The practical use of this standard is in calibration of digital press units using more automation. This new standard will utilize bar codes and spectral data to align the reference of the target to the printed sample. What does that mean for your operation?
And then there is ISO 20616 Graphic technology – File format for quality control data and metadata – Part 1: Print requirements exchange (PRX) and Part 2: Print quality exchange (PQX). These are being developed to support print buyers’ flexibility in data exchange, regardless of print process, and to define print quality requirements so they can assess the quality of their printed material. Interested now? You should be, as they are defining a process workflow for packaging or labels that will set an industry expectation for execution. Do you want to have some input into these developments that will affect the way you are expected to do business? We’d like to hear from you.
There is so much more! The FQC and the SWG are going to work even harder to get this information out to the membership. We will continue providing updates (please read!), we’ll be working on a portal interface for input and we will now reach out to specific members in order to get relevant feedback in the various aspects of our technology. Don’t wonder, “How did this happen?” Be part of the process that makes it happen—for the success of flexo!
Those interested in getting involved can contact any FQC Executive Team member or sign up through the FQC volunteer portal.