Color Management--Degrees of Separation
"ICC profiles work great for the printer. They can work great for the client, as well, if the client really wants to work with the printer and understand the printer's workflow," states Paul Macfarlane, director of sales and marketing at BOPI.
Five years ago, the Bloomington, IL, printer was chiefly a two- and four-color operation. During 1998, a six-color MAN Roland 700 was purchased. BOPI also installed a Polaroid PolaProof and started using this as its contract color proof solution with clients. At this time, BOPI was still outputting film for its workflow; however, it saw the key to a successful launch of CTP would be educating customers about the PolaProof proofing solution.
"File integrity and contract color were the issues for ourselves and our clients, especially in light of our growing technology investments," Mcfarlane continues. "The Rampage RIP system provided the file integrity and, throughout 1998 and into 1999, BOPI showed its clients that the PolaProof was far more accurate to the press sheet than our former proof."
As BOPI continued to grow its technology portfolio, a second MAN Roland 700 was installed 12 months after the first. An Agfa Galileo digital platesetter was installed in February of this year. "Fully realizing all the great benefits that all this equipment had to offer necessitated a complete assessment of the company's color production routine and dot calibration," Macfarlane explains.
BOPI's approach was that everything in the production process should be tied to the final output device. A Statistical Process Control (SPC) team was created with members from all areas of production involved. Their objective: Measure and control the dot at all points to achieve the almost insurmountable—color management.
Connecting the Dots
Step one for BOPI's zealous Statistical Process Control team would be to get BOPI's ink manufacturer involved. The team commissioned BOPI's ink manufacturers with matching the pigments in the PolaProof ink sheets so that the proof and press sheet were even closer. A spectrophotometer was used to measure the L*a*b readings on the scanning station monitor, the proof, the plate and the press sheet. Adjustments were made and ICC profiles were used to get the differential of all the dots at all stages.