New Technology for Creating ICC Profiles for Presses

In recent years, with the constant emergence of new color management technologies, the quality and stability of color management have also increased. The basic condition for color management is that various raw materials are relatively stable. For the printing process, the printing conditions also need to be relatively stable. However, the reality is that the printing process needs to control many factors such as density, dot gain, print contrast, and overprint rate, but the printing process is intense and busy, and it is often difficult for the printer to measure every factor. Therefore, even if the ICC profile of the printer was created in strict accordance with the standard conditions, the conditions have changed when the actual printing is performed, which also affects the quality of the printed matter.

In view of this, this article combines X-Rite's IntelliTrax ICC Auto-Scanning Densitometer with Profiles module to introduce how to combine quality inspection and creation of ICC profiles to achieve efficient and perfect color management.

The IntelliTrax Auto Scanning Densitometer can measure a fully open print test strip in less than 15 seconds, and obtains all data such as density, dot gain, print contrast, overprint rate, and color difference, and displays it in a graphical format (Figure 1). The staff can adjust the printing conditions according to the prompt information.

Color management requires relatively stable printing conditions. However, how do you determine the printing conditions? In other words, what kind of field density should be determined? How much network expansion is needed? How to set the overprint rate? A practical approach is to measure the print contrast, get the best real density, reasonable dot enlargement and so on.

Different brands, different specifications of ink, printed on different substrates, the field density can be achieved are different, the dot expansion is also different. Therefore, in actual production, it is necessary to determine the best on-site density and appropriate dot gain values ​​for different substrates and different inks.

As shown in Fig. 2, the density of the field at the time of maximum printing contrast is the best in-situ density based on the print contrast relationship corresponding to the different solid density, and the field density, dot enlargement, print contrast, overprint rate, etc. at this time. As a standard condition for quality inspection and creation of printer ICC profiles.

IT8 color blocks are printed according to the set conditions. Print sheets are printed using IntelliTrax's built-in IT8 color patches or color patches generated by other color management software. It is worth noting that there is a test strip for product inspection on the edge of the color patch (Figure 3). The function of this measurement strip is to monitor the quality of the color patch and measure its density before the official measurement of the IT8 color patch. , network expansion, overprint rate, etc. meet the requirements.

When the conditions of the color patch meet the requirements, the ICC configuration file can be generated. If it does not meet the requirements, the IntelliTrax software will prompt the problem, such as the density of an ink key or the incorrect expansion of the dot.

Once you have created an ICC profile, you can apply it to color separations and other processes. In the actual printing process, it is also necessary to observe the density, dot gain, and other conditions when measuring IT8 color blocks, which ensures the stability of the printing conditions.

Throughout the entire process, summarized as follows: 1. Determine the correct printing conditions; 2. Print IT8 color blocks according to the conditions; 3. Formally print according to the conditions.

Since the same instrument was used to create ICC profiles and quality inspections in the entire process, the negative impact brought by the difference between the instrument tables was eliminated; the use of the same conditions for printing the color blocks and formal printing achieved the echoes before and after the quality inspection and creation of the configuration files. The stability of production conditions has been achieved; the rapid automatic scanning system has increased the speed of creating configuration documents, product inspections, and printing, thereby improving product quality and production efficiency.

Author unit: X-Rite

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