We get many questions about correcting colours at the press. Our systems can offer both a one-time bucket adjustment and a recipe correction. Correcting the recipe is a permanent, ‘future proof’ solution. Adjusting the bucket is a temporarily solution to compensate press circumstances that normally do not appear, like substrate colour deviations. If bucket adjustments are not archived, the return inks are not recyclable in new ink batches. To adjust colour at the press, one should therefore always measure the ink weight to achieve the right colour before putting it in the press, and process this adjustment in the ink management software.
The recipe changing process can be supported by a proofer and ink formulation software. One takes the proof, measures the colour using CIELAB coordinates, and if the colours fall outside the required Delta-E parameters, the software makes a suggestion to correct the recipe. The new recipe is imported to our ink management software; and you can dispense a batch again. The colour is measured and if correct, the adjusted recipe will be stored and the job goes to press.
GSE Dispensing’s partner company, Print Proof Solutions, markets the table-top proofer, the Perfect Proofer, in Europe. We believe that, when looking at the total ownership cost of the process, proofing is best done offline rather than on the press. A compact proofing device that uses in miniature the exact plate material, anilox cell counts and substrate as the press can provide a perfect simulation of the press and thus precisely predict the settings needed. Proofing is thus possible without using extensive amounts of costly substrates and inks.
The parallel proofing cycle also tends to be faster than the on-press method. In their book “Setup Reduction for Printers”, professors Malcolm Keif and Kevin Cooper argue that the first step of the Setup Reduction process is to identify each setup task as either internal or external. An internal activity is one where the the machiney is idle (stopped) as the setup activity is performed (e.g. plate mounting). An external is one that is completed while the equipment is in operation. To improve makeready time, you should minimize internal processes. Keif and Cooper comment: “Ink proofing tools are getting very good. And if you control your processes well, you might find that you can do external ink color adjustments with precision. Put your brightest and best color operators on the task and you may found out that you have moved that function entirely external”.
GSE Dispensing’s ink management software (IMS) is an independent platform, as it offers standard integration with all commonly used colour formulation software solutions for packaging and label printers, like X-Rite’s ink formulation software. IMS also integrates with ERP/MIS software packages, providing the order manager real time information about recipe availability after the corrected recipe has been stored. This will enable Quick Response Manufacturing for the package printer.
The right equipment and software not only provides consistent colour corrections, but also the basis for less material waste and an increased (press) productivity.