Color Management Workflow in the Pressroom

Posted June 19, 2017 by Ray Cheydleur

We’ve written a lot about “color workflows” and “color management” on our blog. Today we’re connecting the dots to show you how “color workflow management” can mean big savings in a busy pressroom.

Pressroom

Without color workflow management, you can end up producing something you think is right, but is completely wrong in the end.

Especially in the printing industry, checking color quality at multiple steps along the way is the key to ensuring you’re on the right track. Color workflow management closes the gap between users, specifications, and color to ensure good quality.

  • During design, it means accurately specifying colors for reproduction on the final material and using calibrated monitors to understand achievability.
  • In the ink room, it means formulating the right color, quickly.
  • For prepress, it means calibrating all devices involved to ensure color is accurately viewed and clearly communicated.
  • In the pressroom, it means securing measurements directly from the press, adjusting ink keys as needed, then measuring and reporting on the results of those adjustments.
  • Throughout the entire process, standards like CxF help ensure accurate communication.

Even if you’re dealing with multiple operators, jobs, machines and sites, effectively linking your color workflow is a breeze… if you have the right tools.

Managing Design and Prepress

For design and brands, we offer PantoneLIVE to ensure the color is specified using an approved spectral value that is used consistently throughout the workflow.

On the measurement side, we offer i1Publish, a professional color management package to ensure the colors you bring into the workflow are accurate. i1Publish helps imaging and prepress professionals create custom profiles for cameras, monitors, digital projectors, scanners, and RGB, CMYK and CMYK+4 printers. It also calibrates and matches multiple displays for consistent color viewing.

i1 Publish

i1Publish users can choose between a basic, wizard-driven interface, or an advanced user-driven interface to create high quality, precise, custom color profiles.

Managing the Ink Room

We’ve found the ink room is one area of the workflow that is often overlooked. But if there are problems with the ink – the incoming materials are faulty or formulations are not accurate – color will suffer in the pressroom. Ink formulation doesn’t need to be overly complex or time consuming. With InkFormulation Software, even novice users can formulate fast, accurate, consistent recipes using the colorants you have on hand.

Managing the Pressroom

For pressroom use, we have eXact, a portable spectrophotometer. Two big reasons for its success are it’s cordless operation and innovative color touch screen, making it very easy for printers and packaging converters to understand, control, manage, and communicate color from anywhere on the pressroom floor.

We also offer IntelliTrax 2, a fully automated pressroom solution. This non-contact scanning system makes it easy for busy pressrooms to measure color bars and press sheets without the risk of human error. Adding press-side quality control into your color workflow can shorten your makeready, reduce waste; helping you get to optimum color quality fast and maintain it throughout the press run.

ITX2

IntelliTrax2 can scan the color bar on a typical press sheet in less than 10 seconds.

Standardized lighting is another area that is often overlooked, but is, in fact, one of the most critical influencers in accurate color evaluation. Using the Judge QC light booth during design, specification, pre-production, production and quality assurance stages, you can accurately evaluate color under all relevant lighting conditions.

Managing the Overall Workflow

Here’s the catch. Even if you’re employing color management during each stage of production, you need to be able to effectively communicate what’s happening between groups to ensure color remains consistent from specification to final quality control. Instead of looking at each step in the printing workflow as an island, then passing it off for the next step, the key to quality and consistency is to look at color holistically – from the time it is specified until the time the final product is delivered.

That’s the beauty of our ColorCert® Suite. Utilizing a combination of desktop modules, every stakeholder in the workflow – including prepress, ink room, and pressroom, in one site or many – can be linked. This allows proper communication of color, print expectations and actual performance… streamlining communication of color standards, tolerances, press setup information and on-press performance.

NetProfilerThe final step to ensure color consistency across your supply chain is to certify your instruments. NetProfiler, a cloud-based blend of software and color standards from X-Rite, allows you to verify and optimize the performance of your color measurement instruments. It not only reduces variances among measurement devices, it will actually correct issues caused by age, wear or environmental conditions. Of course, you should still plan to send instruments in to our labs for formal certification on a periodic basis.

Start Small and Build On

Implementing color management at each step of your workflow and overlaying management solutions like ColorCert and NetProfiler will create a reliable, end-to-end process. But you don’t have to do it all at once.

To learn what color workflow management would look like in your pressroom, get in touch. One of our Color Experts will be happy to help you design the best solution for your needs.

Questions? Need a Quote? Contact Us.  1.888.800.9580