Colour Control

GMG has introduced version 4.9 of its ColorServer technology with new PDF/VT-1 compatibility, CMYK to RGB conversions and support of IDEAlliance file standards.

GMG ColorServer automates the colour normalization of PDF files, which is designed to provide accurate CMYK to CMYK, RGB to RGB, RGB to CMYK, CMYK to RGB and spot colour to CMYK conversions, while preserving the integrity of the black channel. The result, according to GMG, is a standardized and simplified colour management model for more consistent print results across a range of print processes and substrates.

The PDF/VT-1 file format, now supported by ColorServer 4.9, continues to gain momentum for work requiring high-speed personalized content such as transactional applications like credit card bills and bank statements, as well as with jobs like direct mail, catalogues, photo-books, coupons and tickets.

Along these lines, GMG is releasing a 64-bit native version of ColorServer 4.9 to meet the required processing times of high-speed inkjet systems. The current 32-bit version of ColorServer 4.9 has also been optimized to deliver processing times of up to 3,500 variable-data PDF pages per minute (depending on hardware configuration and job specifications).

The Paper Adaption Tool in ColorServer allows print service providers to recalculate a file’s colour data against a particular support material, even if the proof simulates a different final stock. For example, the Paper Adaption tool can adjust print data to match an ISOcoatedV2 proof, even if the production material is different.

GMG ColorServer 4.9 also now supports the new FD 5 and FD 7 spectrophotometers from Konica Minolta.

Ryobi MHI launched a new colour control system called INSTA.COLOR, which stands for Integrated Smart Technology and Automation for Color Print, during a mid-May open house event in Marietta, Georgia.

The company ran live demonstrations of its flagship 8-up Ryobi 920 series press with INSTA.COLOR for more than 60 printers. Ryobi states INSTA.COLOR allows the press to come to colour with sellable work in as few as 25 sheets, while also helping the press hit 6-minute make-readies.

“INSTA.COLOR provides color fidelity well beyond pre-set densities and gives Ryobi users the control they need to meet their customer’s precise color demands,” explained Chris Manley, President of Graphco, Cleveland, and co-founder of Graphic Systems North America (GSNA).

GSNA is group of six distribution companies carrying Ryobi press technology, which includes Canada’s KBR Graphics Canada and Canadian Printing Equipment, as well as Print & Finishing Solutions, G.E. Richards, Paper Handling Solutions and Graphco. GSNA was formed in 2013.

The GSNA open house event was held May 7 to 8 at the Ryobi MHI North American Demonstration Center. INSTA.COLOR leverages Ryobi’s PDS-E SpectroDrive scanners with closed-loop print density monitoring. It allows for on-press colour adjustments as needed.

The Ryobi 920 press series can be integrated with both INSTA.COLOR and LED-UV instant curing. The 920 press is available in up to 10 colours with fully automatic simultaneous plate changers, reaching speeds of up to 16,200 sheets per hour.

Techkon, a German developer of densitometers, spectrophotometers and software for colour control with a North American division in Danvers, Massachusetts, unveiled its new PressLink technology, describing it as a “closed loop print colour control solution.”

PressLink is comprised of hardware and software components that, Techkon explains, enable both automatic presetting of the ink fountains at the start of a press run as well as continuous automatic adjustments based on target values throughout the press run.  PressLink runs based on a range of industry-accepted file formats and is compatible with most press manufacturers.

The system connects prepress directly to the press using Ink Presetting software. As the press starts running, the operator scans press sheets with the SpectroDrive to ensure the accurate density has been achieved. If accurate density is not achieved, then Techkon Expresso Software will send the right settings to the ink keys to make the necessary adjustments on the fly, thereby providing closed-loop colour control.

PressLink is available in thee different packages, as well as in custom configurations, including:
 
PressLink Ink Presetting
Calculates ink coverage for each ink zone and all colours based on CIP3, JDF or TIFF file from prepress. Automatically presets press ink keys for optimal ink coverage.
 
PressLink Scanning
The Techkon SpectroDrive automatically scans entire colours bars while simultaneously sending spectral colour and density measurement data wirelessly to a PC running Techkon software.
 
PressLink Closed Loop System
The Techkon SpectroDrive measures press sheet colour bars and automatically adjusts press ink keys to maintain optimal ink coverage. Ink keys are set based on target density or minimum achievable Delta E.

Techkon, a manufacturer of colour-measuring instruments for the printing industry, is introducing new functions for its SpectroDens handheld Spectro-Densitometer.

The advances include a new scan-function for individual control elements. The instrument can measure density and spectral values of up to 54 patches in one scan, based on new pattern recognition algorithms. For the scan, no guide bar is required because the instrument’s four wheels keep straight alignment while scanning. SpectroDens algorithms detect that the colour bar being scanned is correct, has the correct number of patches and that the colours are in the right sequence. SpectroDens displays an error message if the incorrect number of patches are scanned or if the scanning speed is too fast or too slow.


Techkon’s SpectroDens now also features support of the common ECI/bvdm Gray Control Strips tvi10 and M i1 with ISO-Check functions. This, according to Techkon, allows users to perform a check in accordance to ISO/PSO within three seconds.

New ISO 12647-2:2013 values are also now included in SpectroDens as well as its supporting SpectroConnect software. These new target values and tolerances for offset printing were published in December 2013.

Teckhon’s updated SpectroDens instrument is also designed to work with the Substrate Corrected Colorimetric Aims (SCCA) formula, designed to account for variances in paper colour, developed within the IDEAlliance Print Properties & Colorimetric Committee. SpectroDens allows users to measure the paper and, based on those measurements and using the SCCA formula, calculate new aim points on the instrument. This helps with colour matches for substrates containing optical brightening agents.

All new functions are free depending on the instrument version by firmware update of SpectroDens. The updated instrument will be showcased during the upcoming Ipex exibition in London from March 24 to 29.


GMG, developer and supplier of colour management and proofing solutions, has launched an upgrade program in which users of older i1 measuring instruments can upgrade to the latest i1Pro 2 spectrophotometer for a special price.

Users to turn in their older i1 measuring devices to GMG via an authorized retailer, can purchase the i1Pro 2 device along with a ProofControl update for $1,221. The offer will run until November 30th.

The i1Pro 2 features new measuring technology that supports the M1 measuring standard. The future ISO/Fogra industry standards - which will probably be available from the end of this year - are based on the new M1 measuring standard. To be able to employ the new measuring standards, users will have to replace their current measuring devices and software by new technology.

GMG ProofControl permits contract-quality verification of proofs, making colour accuracy objectively measurable. The latest version supports the verification of spot colour and GMG OpenColor profiles.


X-Rite Inc. introduced version 1.5 of its i1Profiler system with an emphasis on creating accurate device links to better drive a range of printing processes (inkjet, toner, offset) and to manage legacy print work.

i1Profiler v1.5 includes a new Device Link Profiling feature for colour mapping from one device to another, which includes an emphasis on creating what X-Rite describes as digital-to-digital and digital-to-offset links. Version 1.5 allows for re-targeting colour data values when a job is being printed – in maintaining colour separations.

Frank Maeder, X-Rite Product Manager of Imaging Solutions, states that in addition to running equipment more efficiently, customers using i1Profiler v1.5 should see benefits in the vibrancy and saturation of printed materials and efficient use of inks and toners.
 
Beyond the new Device Link Profiling feature, the i1Profiler v1.5 update also includes: M1 support for i1iO in spot mode, support for the Hutch Color (HCT) targets for scanner profiling, support for the Ugra/Fogra Media Wedge CMYK for large-format printing, and enhanced display and projector profiling.
 
Device Link Profiling is available free of charge to current X-Rite customers with i1Pro 2. Users must have an i1Pro 2 instrument with an i1Profiler Publish license or a USB dongle with an i1Profiler Publish license to unlock Device Link.


Color-Logic, a developer of colour systems and software, has certified the Presstek 75DI press for use with the Process Metallic Color System. This announcement extends a long relationship between the two companies.

“The Presstek 75DI press and its predecessor presses are well-suited to market demands for fast turnaround short-run color printing, and are gaining acceptance for short-run prototype production in the packaging market,” said Mark Geeves, Director of Sales and Marketing at Color-Logic. “As packaging printers embrace the Color-Logic process, many are turning to the Presstek machines to show clients how their packages would appear on the shelf.”

Mark Sullivan, Presstek Group Product Director of Digital Printing, added: “The special effects and extreme high quality produced by the Color-Logic software and the Presstek 75DI presses invariably catch the eye of brand owners as they look for ways to make their brands stand out from the crowd."


Pantone is celebrating the 50th anniversary of its Pantone Matching System with a special, limited-edition release of its Pantone Plus series of guides and books. 

“In celebration of Pantone’s 50 years of colour inspiration, we designed special anniversary edition packaging and covers for the PANTONE PLUS SERIES,” said Giovanni Marra, director of corporate marketing at Pantone. “The PANTONE MATCHING SYSTEM® sparked a revolution in colour management and inspiration. We can’t wait to see how the PLUS SERIES shapes the next 50 years of colour.”

The origins of Pantone stem from a commercial printing company after employee Lawrence Herbert used his chemistry knowledge to simplify the company’s stock of pigments and production of coloured inks. By 1962, he ran the ink and printing division at a profit while the company’s commercial-display division faltered. He bought the company for $50,000 and the first Pantone Matching System for Printers was released in 1963.

Herbert soon got the majority of the ink producers he contacted to sign on to his system. In the mid-1960s, the Pantone system was adapted outside of the printing world for use in the design and artist markets. The company followed the desktop publishing revolution of the 1980s and remains a global standard today.

The limited-edition Pantone Plus Series guides and books feature metallic covers and a 50th anniversary logo. Additionally, the Pantone Formula Guide and Pantone Colour Bridge sets are packaged in a 50th anniversary gift box. The guides are available separately or part of value bundles.


X-Rite is introducing the IntelliTrax News auto-scanning system, a newly developed hardware-software package, to help newspapers reduce ink usage, press time and paper waste, while improving the quality of printed colour images. 



The new software is primarily designed to monitor and control colour density and gray balance. IntelliTrax News (ITX News), which has been running in what X-Rite describes as large regional newspapers, includes a newly developed spectrodensitometer.


"With prior systems, newspapers had to manually align gray bars of printed sheets to take measurements, which creates extra steps and opportunities for errors if press operators don't position everything correctly," expained Steve Mattingly, Senior VP of Sales and Marketing at Southern Lithoplate Inc., a Wake Forest, N.C. manufacturer, distributor and provider of printing plates and associated products for targeted print markets. "With the ITX News system, our customers will get accurate, consistent measurements in a single pass, giving them a high level of confidence and managing waste in an industry that is continuously challenged to track, manage and lower costs."

Pressroom personnel, according to X-Rite, can use the ITX News system to scan the gray bar of a full broadsheet in about 10 seconds and generate graphics that summarize data and can used to adjust ink flow at press consoles.

X-Rite continues to explain that ITX News can closely monitor the density values of cyan, magenta, and yellow inks on any of the columns being run on newsprint to reduce the time and paper needed to produce sellable copies. The graphics shown on the system's touch-screen monitor for gray balance allows press operators to make the necessary adjustments to maintain process control throughout the press run.

In addition to reading C, Y and M values, the instrument concurrently can read black patches embedded in the gray bar so pressroom personnel monitor both colour and black text with one measurement. An earlier version of the product could not measure both colour and black values on the same sheet at the same time.



X-Rite introduces new features into version 1.4 of its i1Profiler colour management software, including new scanner profiling, as well as support for new operating systems.

Employing the software’s new scanner profiling, users scan the target to generate a high-quality custom ICC profile and the software will automatically detect and crop the target. It supports the following targets: ColorChecker Classic, ColorChecker Digital SG, Reflective IT 8.7/2, and Transmissive 4x5 and 35mm IT 8.7/1.

The version 1.4 release of i1Profiler software now includes basic and advanced modes for professionally calibrated and profiled monitors (including presets for video production workflows), projectors, scanners and printers. Scanner functionality is now available in i1Photo Pro 2, i1Publish Pro 2, i1Publish and all upgrade packages.

i1Profiler verison 1.4 also includes additional CGATS and other minor workflow improvements, plus several maintenance fixes. The update is free for current users and available for download from xrite.com and xritephoto.com.


X-Rite proposes opening the XRGA standard to third parties, so that printers can exchange data between sites using different instruments, regardless of legacy affiliation.

XRGA is a standard that X-Rite implemented around two years ago to integrate its own technology with that of GretagMacbeth, PANTONE, and other entities that X-Rite acquired over the past several years. This standard aligns all X-Rite instrumentation to a single standard, regardless of the point of manufacture or date of manufacture of a product.

Through its subsidiary Pantone LLC, X-Rite’s proposed program would reduce problems that companies face when they try to exchange colour data that has been measured with different model instruments made by the same manufacturer or with instruments made by different manufacturers.

“Just about every company in the printing industry deals with this problem at one time or another,” said Stephen Miller, Market Manager of Print Solutions at X-Rite. “Unfortunately, some printers deal with this on an almost daily basis as they are trying to exchange high-quality colour measurement data to stakeholders in their supply chain.

"XRGA proved to be such an effective tool at harmonizing the colour measurement data of our own wide array of instruments that we think it's worthwhile to offer the same method to benefit the entire colour measurement industry,” continued Miller. “While X-Rite competes with a number of other respected companies in this field, we should cooperate as a industry to develop a common standard of instrument agreement to benefit all of our customers.”

XRGA incorporates ISO-13655 with other best practices in colour science methods to greatly reduce measurement variation among instruments due to different calibration standards. This means that handheld and bench-top colorimeters and spectrophotometers, formulation and quality assurance software packages and equipment, such as pressroom colour scanners, are all measuring and communicating using the same standards.


Tobias Associates has introduced the new TBX 1000 Series of transmission densitometers, which measure visual diffuse optical density (OD) to 6.00D. According to the company, this wide measuring range is unique in its ability to evaluate many types of film, laminates and substrates. 



The TBX 1500 model also calculates positive and negative dot areas, while the new top-range densitometer in the series, TBX 2000, also measures percent opacity and transmission.

“The TBX 1000 Series provides a very high degree of accuracy and precision and offers an optional colour filter for special applications,” said Bill Bender, International Sales Director, who has been with Tobias for the past 34 years. “It is very durable, requiring minimal repair or maintenance.”

Tobias has manufactured its densitometers in Ivyland, Pennsylvania, for the past 50 years.

X-Rite and Pantone have announced a new cloud-based initiative called PantoneLIVE. The service aims to provide centralized access to brand colour data. It will enter service on June 15.

Brand colour standards are the principal component to the system and are derived from real ink on real substrates using real printing processes. This allows brand owners to predict how corporate spot colours will reproduce on a variety of substrates, including brown corrugated, clear film and white polypropylene.

“Globally consistent colour standards are essential to brand identity. With supply chains made up of hundreds of different facilities scattered around the world, corporations struggle to control and maintain colour consistency,” said Dr. Sonia Megert. “PantoneLIVE is a dynamic ecosystem, open to all supply chain participants, which delivers consistent colour across the entire packaging workflow – from design concept to retail-store shelves.”

According to Pantone, one company, Chesapeake, a global producer of consumer packaging, was able to reduce colour variation by 84 percent while decreasing its stocked inks from 3,000 inks to only 537.

Sun Chemical and Esko have been named as “preferred partners” in the PantoneLIVE initiative due to their involvement in its development. Pantone assures users that any manufacturer’s ink will be able to take advantage of the system.

Access to the system will cost designers US$99, while those in pre-production and production will have to pay US$1,150 and US$2,650, respectively. A colour audit for a brand owner starts at US$4,500.


Ohio-based Color-Logic has started to ship a new visualizer tool, which enables creative-professionals and brand owners to visualize Color-Logic’s metallic and decorative effects on their designer workstations. 



The tool is based on Color-Logic’s preexisting, patent-pending Process Metallic Color System, which relies on CMYK and applying a fifth colour. It allows for the production of up to 250 different metallic colours on metallic or paper substrates when running offset, lithography, flexography, toner, inkjet or and screen printing processes.


“The Color-Logic FX-Viewer is an integral part of the basic Color-Logic software, which creates 5-colour files for printing with metallic inks or with white inks on metallic substrates,” stated Mark Geeves, Director of Sales and Marketing for Color-Logic. “Using our software, designers can both create and view the metallic look and special effects of Color-Logic files right on their desktop workstation monitors, and thus verify visually, in one easy step, how their designs will appear when printed.”


FineEye Color Solutions has released new colour separation software, called ICEit! 2.0, which is delivered as a Photoshop Plug-In. According to the company, ICEit!, designed to replace the default separation process in Photoshop., captures more of the original RGB image’s colour gamut during the CMYK conversion.

ICEit! is offered as a base product and as a professional version. With ICEit! Pro, a user can place the ICEit! separation in a Photoshop layer for colour editing. This includes separation options called Colorize, Brighten or Extreme.

ICEit! is offered as a subscription service ranging from $79 to $189 annually, which gives users access to all upgrades and support offered by FineEye Color. ICEit! supports GRACoL and SWOP industry specifications, 


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