Process Integration — Executing the Triple Play
The PIA/GATF expert sees 2007 as a time of transition for printing to the numbers, with the G7 methodology being promoted as an evolution of the SWOP and GRACoL specifications. G7 measures the entire gray scale, uses 50C/40M/40Y as its neutral and changes some of the target densities.
Remaley notes that a key aspect of his role as a process control expert is helping printers develop plate curves, so the printing off all of their presses will match. “You need four distinct plate curves to make gray balance on-press, but most shops only have one for their platesetter,” he points out.
“There’s no way you can globally change color on-press and make it better. The best sheet you can print is the one that’s in gray balance based on a three-color gray bar.”
Unfortunately, the most common process control practice used in printing plants today is to measure solid ink density color bars, laments the expert. “We don’t print solids; we print dots. Without a midtone dot-gain target and gray- balance patches, printers can’t measure color. They need to measure density, dot gain and gray balance,” he concludes.
As the level of printing quality becomes more universal, process convergence is happening at a number of levels. Noted industry observer Frank Romano offered an assessment of “Offset Printing in the Modern World” in the January issue of PRINTING IMPRESSIONS’ sister publication, In-Plant Graphics (www.ipgonline.com). According to Romano:
• Run lengths more than 50,000 impressions are still the domain of web presses, but wider width and long perfector sheetfed presses are challenging the low end of these runs. Narrower and full-web machines are competing for the same work in some cases.
• Sheetfed presses have the advantage in producing runs of 10,000 impressions and up, but competition is heating up as shops with 40˝ models are going after more of the same work as those with 26˝ and 29˝ machines.