7 Ways Colour Management Software and Proofing Solutions Push the Digital Transformation of Printing
By CGS Oris
Digitalization, automation and sustainability are keywords these days. The COVID-19 crisis and the shut downs are powerful drivers of change processes in SMEs, as well as huge global companies. Branch surveys reveal what the biggest challenges for printers and packaging printers are, and in which areas many of them focus on to emerge from the crisis stronger than before.
This article briefly illuminates the potential that colour management and proofing technology has for companies of the graphic industry to push their digital transformation and improve processes.
1. Connected processes & automated quality control
Branch experts agree: Printing quality remains a key aspect in competition. Any activities which are conducted to reduce costs or to improve the productivity of the companies may not affect the results in a negative way.
Smart and flexible tools help a lot to control printing results, especially when they are easy to integrate in existing infrastructures. It also allows the printer to monitor all presses in the production environment, as well as connected devices and other processes automatically - in real time. The software informs the user immediately whenever a part of the system deviates from an expected standard or requires user intervention.
Detailed reports and trends analysis are available from anywhere in the world. They allow a perfect overview of all processes and deliver clear facts for further improvements or communication with customers, suppliers and partners.
This is the best basis to achieve optimal results and reliable consistent quality – and to work more sustainably, as a huge amount of waste can be reduced by identifying problems at their source – before incorrect proofs or plates enter the press room.
Automate processes and connect devices and global production locations the best way – with central and mobile access to control, regulate and certify.
2. Smart job handling
Intelligent colour management technology can support printers by determining which printing presses in the production hall (locally or globally) fits best for the jobs.
Special algorithms can pick out which available press should be used for the best possible result, such as information about colour space and ink sets. Based on that, the software detects which available press will produce the ideal result, optimizes the print data and sends it to the selected press for production.
3. Maximum efficiency & productivity
Or course, it’s not new that customer complaints and maculature are not good for business. Besides the economic dimension, nowadays the ecological perspective is gaining more and more attention. Both goes hand in hand as money can be saved if unnecessary print runs, energy consumption, material, inks are avoided, and when waste and its disposal is reduced, for example.
Suitable software tools can help to work efficiently on both levels. This applies for the proofing and the production area likewise.
A professional proofing tool helps you to be more efficient and to produce fast and easy contract proofs, as well as colour-binding packaging proofs and prototypes. Physically and virtually. This optimizes the communication and decision making process with customers and partners as you have clear common goals. Small quantity production of labels or mock ups is also possible.
Colour management software which has been specially developed for print production will help to achieve a much more efficient printing process by avoiding unnecessary change-over times or downtimes in the production hall.
But, it is not “just” achieving the best colour result with the printing presses and the optimal and easy handling of colour. It goes beyond that: accurate and consistent colour across all printing devices can now be achieved. All print jobs can now be repeated worldwide easily and reliably – today, tomorrow, anytime!
The last months have shown that this becomes vitally important for companies that were part of consolidations and have added different printing presses into their production environment. The integration and harmonization of mixed machinery including modern and older printing presses can be easily conducted with the right software.
As a result, you will optimize the usage of your presses and create sustainability.
4. Optimal usage of resources & sustainable working
Besides quality improvements, with the suitable colour management software a huge amount of inks can be saved, especially when printing advertising material like posters or banners, etc. This leads to a huge cost reduction, and has several “side effects” which should not be underestimated.
A less total ink coverage leads to higher range of your inks as well as faster drying times. This allows a higher production speed which as a result, raises capacities and productivity of the company. Increased productivity means more sales and higher margins.
Besides that, other results are reduced print head wear or longer UV lamp life with reduced energy consumption. The lower ink coverage can also reduce ink breaks across folds and minimize negative impacts of environmental factors. Prints become less susceptible to fading and abrasion, for example. This is an important asset for promotional material.
The environmental factor can especially be observed if you use large amounts of UV inks, as these inks have the highest savings potential, resulting in less ink waste.
As a result, not only will printers be able to earn more money, their customers will get their orders faster and in a better quality. Perfect match!
5. High efficiency thanks to multicolor printing
For those who work a lot with more than four colours and spot colours, software solutions which were specially developed for this printing method can help to optimize workflows and printing process. Why?
With the right tool, you will be able to reproduce nearly 100% of spot colours with an extended fixed ink set like CMYK+OGV. And this opens up great potential to save money and time!
Let us review some:
- No need to order/pay for special inks or wait until they are mixed and delivered. This reduces ink costs enormously.
- This leads so great competitive advantages because printers can offer reduced pricing and faster delivery times to customers…
- No need to store inks, pay for huge warehouses and for the disposal of useless spot inks.
- You considerably streamline, optimize, and speed up the entire production process. This is a very important point!
Without the need of changing over special inks for every single print job – or even for one job, if there are many spot colours used that the job cannot be accomplished in just a single run – there will be faster throughput, without make-ready times or additional cleaning and wash-up times of the presses. The picture below visualizes on an abstract level these aspects, before expanded gamut printing and after making use of this technology.
Last but not least: there is a lot of flexibility gained as you can gang-run print jobs, containing different spot colours. There is no longer any need to print one job after the other.
6. Customization, flexibility and workflow integration
In general, professional colour management and proofing software should be simple-to-use and work intuitively although it is really “heavy stuff”.
That means on the one hand, CGS ORIS’ tools contain an enormous amount of all powerful features and functions you may need to optimize your entire production process in the best and most effective way. On the other hand, they offer the possibility to customize and use the tools in an individual way.
Flexibility is crucial for us: The software and its features can be used to automate processes to a maximum level, but you can also make your own decisions and selected special functions you need, customize and make changes. As a print service provider, you are fully free to decide the level of automation you would like to work with.
Our solutions can be integrated easily into existing workflows and infrastructures, but there is also the possibility to build up a new holistic system based on the tools.
All this applies for single locations but also for production bases worldwide – we think colour globally.
7. The true/real digitalization of colour
Every day, many companies of the graphic arts industry still face difficulties due to the communication of incomplete or misleading colour information. This still causes many challenges, additional print runs and money.
Today, it is possible to use smart software tools to organize, edit and communicate colour with all its (spectral) properties in a simple, secure and cost-effective manner. Of course, the central management of colour is greatly important for brand owners, but also offers a lot of advantages for prepress companies, printers, brand owners, paint manufacturers, mock-up agencies and packaging designers.
Comprehensive digitalization of colour optimizes the coordination and production processes and makes them much faster and less expensive. This ensures that media designers have exact specifications at hand and use the correct colour at any time or it also assures correct ink formulation by the ink manufacturer.
Thanks to special prediction features the entrance to the world of “CxF data” which are the basis of all that, became easy.
The result of using spectral colour data through the entire supply chain – the strong fundament of real colour digitalization – is consistent colour reproduction in every print run and perfect brand colours worldwide!