Ricoh colour correct
Ricoh production colour is helping printers manage colour woes across differing output units and on repeat jobs.
One challenge facing print rooms of all shapes and forms is producing consistent results time after time from their differing presses and devices.
For example, a print run of 10,000 books printed on an offset press then needs to be backed up several days later for another order for the same book with a small quantity of 100. How do you get the same result from multiple devices? Consistency is needed across every sheet, whether it’s output one or 1000.
This issue is being exacerbated by the market trend for smaller print runs, while still maintaining a business that is profitable.
But how does a printer get the same result, every time, with a consistent output across all its presses? Moving from offset to digital can lead to discrepancies in results. Even printing the same file across multiple digital devices can cause stress in print rooms with varying results in colour and consistency.
Ricoh has helped printers manage this problem by working with a number of customers to develop customised profiles that would work across all their devices, offset and digital, for small to large print runs.
For example, it has successfully colour matched prints from three competitor devices against a Ricoh digital colour production device. Ricoh has also been able to match its device to an offset press with consistent and highly satisfying results.
Profiling is done using EFI Colour Profiler suite by Ricoh’s Production Solutions consultants after carefully working with each device.
The project was started by Ricoh as a way to solve a challenge they knew many of its customers were facing, and have been facing for a while.
Damien Robins, product manager – Production Software Solutions for Ricoh Australia, says, “Colour matching across devices has been a sticky issue within our industry for a long time. Advancements in the software technology as well as in our hardware have now nullified this problem.
“As well as helping customers who were suffering from inconsistency issues, we asked several other customers to participate. We saw this as an opportunity to exchange knowledge around profiling digital and offset print engines that utilise completely different technologies.”
As a result, Ricoh was able to develop and provide ICC profiles, using standards set by the International Color Consortium, to participating print rooms, which could then load the profile across each of its presses for consistent colour results, no matter which, or how many, of their machines were printing a job.
Being able to match colour results from an offset to a digital device offers a great advantage to a print room that operates both offset and digital engines. Large, initial print orders can be run on an offset; follow-up orders for short runs can be done more cheaply on the digital, with no noticeable sacrifice in print quality for the customer.
When it comes to colour matching, one area where Ricoh has achieved great results is in its Delta E results. Local testing has shown that Ricoh’s production engines produce a Delta E of approximately 4, considered very low in the production market.
The results have been greatly helped by the stable, consistent colour and quality results achieved from its production colour devices.
Dave Gully, product group manager – Production Printing, Ricoh Australia says, “Smaller print runs are the trend, and being able to produce the best results for an affordable price will greatly help all print rooms. Our expanding range of colour digital engines offer a way for print rooms to expand their offering, or provide a better solution to handle their small print jobs.
What is Delta E?
Simply put, when you’re talking about Delta-E (dE), you are rating the consistency of an engine’s output. As a number it represents the distance between two colours.
Delta E is a method of measuring differences between colours. Every colour has a specific wave length in the visible spectrum. The human eye can see colours between about 400nm – 700nm which represents all colours from violet to red.
In order to differentiate between certain colours it was necessary to develop a system or a scale to formulate the difference between two colours in numbers. All printing standard defines tolerances for colour variation; this is done in Delta E.
When reading dE, the lower the number the better. For example, a dE of 1.0 is the smaller difference that can be seen by the naked eye. Therefore any dE less than 1.0 should be indiscernible, and a dE between 3 and 6 is considered a good commercial match.
As a practical use, looking at the dE of a press can help make a fair evaluation on:
• How close the sample is to the proof
• If the current profile you are usingis effective
• How much drifting is occurring
The term Delta is derived from Greek, meaning difference or incremental step between two specified points. E comes from the German word Empfindung, meaning feeling, and serves as the unit of measurement for what Delta means.
Excerpt from article that appeared in Australian Printer - July 2011
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