FQC/SWG Updates: Winding Down 2016 & Preparing for 2017

Flexo Quality Consortium FQC LogoGreetings from the Flexo Quality Consortium (FQC) Executive Committee! We have got a full plate of projects underway and they are gaining momentum as we head through the holidays. They include the CxF Characterization Comparison, the Flexographic Plate and Stickyback Optimization Project, the Environmental Impact on Flexo Printing – Temperature Effects of NW Waterbase and UV Ink, and the High Resolution Printing Project.

I would like to take this moment to thank all of the participants on these project teams and the printer members that are donating their valuable press time to run trials. We cannot do any of this work without our volunteers. Press time is valuable and scarce, and resources are already pretty thin. Your dedication to the mission of the FQC, FTA and our industry is so greatly appreciated.

This industry is unique. When it matters most, we all come together to further our technology and grow our businesses. The data and insight we collect is not put on a shelf. It is communicated to the standards groups that define the expectations of our process. From ISO to CGATS, and even the FTA’s Flexographic Image Reproduction Specifications & Tolerances (FIRST) document, the Standards Working Group (SWG) is communicating our findings and reporting back on how our information is impacting change—change to benefit the flexographic process. There is always time to get involved with projects or the SWG. Let us know if you are interested in being heard!

The 2017 Forum planning is already underway. The theme of Forum is “Trending Now.” You’ll be seeing a lot more on the content in the very near future. Plan on attending the FQC Pre Conference session! This is where you will hear the latest SWG update, final project reports, and a feature presentation on expanded gamut printing from a faculty member at Clemson University and the Rossini Scholarship winner. Mark your calendars. Plan ahead. Arrive with plenty of time to sit in on what will prove to be a session to remember—#Research!

SWG Update 

The fall of 2016 was pretty busy for the SWG. Several draft documents that went through ballot last spring and summer were discussed. The ISO TC 130 held its plenary meetings at Adobe Headquarters in San Jose, CA. As a result of the meetings and review of current ballots, there will be new drafts for further balloting.

The next meeting of the ISO TC 130 Graphic Arts standards committee is set for June 4-11, 2017 at Ryerson University in Toronto, 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 WD was approved, the comments that were submitted are being resolved and a new committee draft (CD) will be prepared for ballot by the end of the year
  • 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 is to close on Feb. 10, 2017
  • 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; committee draft ballot closed on Dec. 9
  • ISO/DIS 16613-1, Graphic technology – Variable content replacement – Part 1: Using PDF/X for variable content replacement (PDF/VCR-1). This standard is nearing completion and is out for ballot. It closed on Nov. 4
  • ISO/SR 12640-4:2011, Graphic technology – Prepress digital data exchange – Part 4: Wide gamut display referred standard color image data [Adobe RGB (1998)/SCID]. This standard underwent a systematic review and a ballot was drawn to confirm. Standards must be reviewed every five years and either withdrawn, revised or confirmed
  • ISO/DIS 17972-4, Graphic technology – Color data exchange format (CxF/X) – Part 4: Spot color characterization data (CxF/X-4). This standard is about to be balloted for a minor revision
  • 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 and this document will move to an FDIS ballot
  • ISO/PWI/WD 20616-1, Graphic technology – File format for quality control data and metadata – Part 1: Print Requirements eXchange (PRX). This document is being edited now that the PQX document is moving forward. A working draft should be out for ballot before the next meeting of ISO TC 130 in 2017

Working Group 3 

The process control and related metrology group saw updates to:

  • ISO 12647-2:2013/Amd 1 – Graphic technology – Process control for the production of halftone color separations, proof and production prints – Part 2: Offset lithographic processes – Amendment 1. This standard was balloted for a minor revision and amendment that changed the values of the colors of the inks and substrate. Reports from the meetings in San Jose indicated the revisions are inconsistent with the data from current productions in North America and Japan. This standard previously contained the aims given in the FIRST guide
  • ISO/DIS 20654, Graphic technology – Measurement and calculation of spot color tone value. The DIS ballot on this new standard closed on Oct. 21, but the results of voting have not yet been released
  • ISO/NWI-WD 18621-31, Graphic technology – Image quality evaluation methods for printed matter – Part 31: Evaluation of the perceived resolution of printing systems with the contrast/ resolution chart. The working draft was approved and a committee draft ballot should be out soon
  • There was a CIB (an internal ballot) to approve Plenary Resolution #635, with an intent to withdraw ISO/NP 12040, Prints and printing inks – Assessment of light fastness using filtered xenon arc light. This standard was balloted for systematic review and it was recommended to have it revised, but at the plenary meeting this fall, it was moved that the standard be withdrawn and development stopped. The U.S. delegation is confused, as there was no justification for the deletion given in the plenary request. In the recent ballot, it was recommended not to remove a document on fade resistance of printed materials
  • 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 by early 2017. Currently, the inks submitted for trial are consistent with the aims given the current version of the FIRST guide

Joint Working Group 7 

The color management group, in conjunction with the ICC, has the following updates:

  • ISO/CD 20677, Image technology color management – Extensions to architecture, profile format and data structure. The working draft was passed by the ICC and the JWG 7, so a new CD ballot is being distributed
  • ISO/DTR 21830, Graphic technology – Graphic technology – BPC for n-color profiles. A ballot on this draft Technical Report (TR) recently closed. Results of the ballot are not yet available. This is an important TR as it gives guidance on selecting the black point for more than 4-color primary printing

Joint Working Group 8 

The color measurement group, in conjunction with ISO TC 42 Photography, has one update:

  • ISO/DIS 13655 Graphic technology – Spectral measurement and colorimetric computation for graphic arts images. A second DIS ballot just completed balloting and the USTAG is waiting to receive the results of the ballot and the list of comments to see if this can now be moved to FDIS stage

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. 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.