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Adding Closed Loop Automation to Your Press

Posted April 03, 2019 by Ray Cheydleur

Hitting offset lithographic color targets isn’t always fast or easy. The manual process of measuring color bars and making ink key adjustments takes time and opens the door to operator error. Meanwhile, the press is running (and wasting) paper and ink. To achieve accurate and repeatable color, printers need to convert their printing operation to an efficient manufacturing process and drive efficiencies in all phases of their operation. For many, a closed-loop automated solution is the answer.


Closed-loop automates the process by capturing spectral data directly from the press sheet and automatically updating the ink keys. It cuts down on paper and ink expenses that accumulate when you’re not getting up to color quickly, makes short runs more profitable, and minimizes operator intervention. It’s so much faster and more accurate than a traditional workflow that it pays for itself almost immediately.


Is your printing operation ready for a closed-loop solution? Today we’re looking at the tools and software you need to upgrade.


Color Measurement Tools to Automate Press Sheet Scanning

Capturing spectral data is the first step in automating your workflow, and we offer two devices that tie nicely into closed-loop control. While both can be used on their own, they gain more power as part of a complete solution.

IntelliTrax2 Automated Scanning System


Our ultra-fast IntelliTrax2 automatically scans the color bar of a typical press sheet in less than 10 seconds, then provides instant, on-screen reports. The advanced imaging technology in IntelliTrax2 automatically adjusts the scanning head to locate the color bar, ensuring faster sheet positioning and accurate measurements every time. Since it's non-contact, you don't need to worry about smudging or scratching the image. 


eXact Auto-Scan


X-Rite eXact Auto-Scan Versatile Scanning Solution

The eXact Auto-Scan offers press room flexibility for measuring color with spot, manual, and automated scanning capabilities. When scanning, the eXact Auto-Scan can measure a 40-inch color bar in less than 15 seconds, reducing the potential for human error and cutting make ready by more than 30%. It reports immediate, comprehensive color data through Bluetooth technology so press operators can make prompt adjustments to the press run. 


Software to Automate Ink Key Adjustments

Rutherford Graphics offers two products that interact with eXact Auto-Scan and IntelliTrax2 to automatically update ink keys without manual operator adjustment. Each solution offers a touch screen interface that allows operators to initiate or reject closed-loop action after the scan with one touch, empowering users to print to G7, ISO standards, or in-house standards with ease and confidence. It has never been so fast and easy to increase quality and decrease costs!

IntelliPack Closed Loop Solution

Compatible with IntelliTrax2 and eXact Auto-Scan, this complete system works with up to 20 units web and sheetfed presses of any width. Before you start the press, the CIP or TIFF files from prepress will provide all the information that IntelliSet needs to automatically preset the ink keys. Simply choose the print job and paper type on the touch-screen monitor and IntelliSet does the rest. 


Once you start the job, simply scan the press sheet color bar to get spectral and density data and IntelliLoop will take care of adjusting ink keys. During the press run, feed color data into IntelliLoop with periodic scans of the color bar, and the software will alert the press operator if auto-adjustments are necessary to keep color consistent.


IntelliPress2 Closed Loop Solution

Rutherford’s entry-level solution also works with both IntelliTrax2 and eXact Auto-Scan. Simply scan your sheet fed color bars and the data will be sent to EasyLoop to make automatic adjustments to the ink keys on press. 

To learn more about all of the features and benefits of a Rutherford system, visit their website.

Is a closed-loop system worth the investment?

With a closed loop solution, you can automate your older press to perform like a newer model and recoup your investment in just 6-9 months. In fact, our solution is the most impactful cost-reducing tool on the market for sheetfed litho offset printers!


Use our Closed Loop ROI Tool to calculate your potential savings.


Ready to enhance the performance of your press? Get in touch for custom help.

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