Grafiche Mercurio S.p.A., a commercial printer based in Angri, near Salerno, Italy, has achieved major improvements in color consistency in accordance with FOGRA PSO 12747-2 offset process color standards, after installing color control technology with automatic plate curve adjustment capability, co-developed by press controls supplier QuadTech and graphic software provider Alwan Color Expertise.
A leading supplier of offset printed advertising collateral, magazines, travel brochures and labels in southern Italy, Grafiche Mercurio faced a challenge in achieving quality consistency demanded by the customer.
Prof. Diodato Mercurio, joint owner of Grafiche Mercurio, comments: “Our former system could not manage the dot gain and color deviation on the fly. As a result, there was no constant reproduction of tonal curves. The color quality of reprinted jobs differed greatly, and frequent stoppages were needed, in order to achieve consistency.”
The company already enjoyed standardization in the sheet-fed department, thanks to Alwan’s CMYK Optimizer and PRINT Standardizer software packages. As a result, color was being measured inline, and corrections were made in real time, thus enabling all printing product to have its own FOGRA and ISO-certified quality reports. The company wanted to bring the same standards to the production on its 48-page, eight-color Goss Sunday 4000 web offset printing line. However, the existing color control device, with its RGB camera, only measured density and was neither able to provide spectral color control nor dot gain values. Color consistency and dot gain values had to be checked manually. This was a slow and unreliable process, in an environment where dot gain values vary sharply, due to changes in humidity, temperature, substrate quality or press mechanics. A complete overhaul of the video camera system and software was needed to allow constant control and instant remedial action.
"We gave our color consultants, ColorConsulting S.r.l., the task of searching for the optimum solution. We chose QuadTech's Color Control System with SpectralCam™ together with Alwan PRINT Standardizer X plate curve adjustment technology," said Prof. Mercurio.
ColorConsulting, based in Saronno, Italy, is a specialist consultancy that finds optimum color consistency solutions for printers in diverse graphics markets. Carlo Carnelli, general manager of ColorConsulting, comments: "The QuadTech solution consisted of one instrument (per surface) that was able to measure color as soon as it’s printed, and relay this to Alwan software in pre-press. Print deviations from standard conditions are automatically identified, and the required CTP curves are delivered for the press to print to ISO standard. We had no hesitation in advising Mercurio to choose this solution, because it is the only system on the market that provides data to Alwan software, and that offers a fully automated closed-loop between press and the pre-press."
“The ability to measure in-line is necessary in order to identify color variations and deviations on press. We now have the capability to control our printing process in a way that is vastly superior to the most advanced alternatives available on the market,” said Prof. Mercurio.