QuadTech, Inc.

QuadTech's Innovative Color and Inspection Technology to Be Featured at Emballage 2012

Exhibiting for the first time at Emballage 2012, QuadTech, Inc. (Hall 6, E126) will offer the flexo and gravure package printer fast in-line inspection and spectral color measurement solutions for film, foil, paper, and various laminates. QuadTech’s performance-proven press controls reduce setup time, eliminate waste and ensure perfect quality is maintained across the web.

Product portfolio

QuadTech’s Color Measurement System with SpectralCam HD enables continuous, in-line monitoring of virtually all web-fed package materials, including transparent and translucent substrates. The SpectralCam camera calculates accurate L*a*b*, ΔE and ΔDensity values at maximum press speeds. It measures multiple color targets within the work—without the need for color bars or patches—and is many times more sensitive to subtle color differences than the human eye. Featuring an optional HD capability, images are captured at up to 2500dpi and made available to the operator via the user interface. As a result, a host of defects common to central-impression flexo, such as pin-holing, bridging, doughnuts and halos, can be identified and remedied without production stoppages. 

The system ensures accuracy with the patent-pending web stabilizer. Its vacuum system stabilizes the moving web on a low friction surface, enabling it to maintain a constant distance from the camera at the point of measurement. This provides a controlled, repeatable way of taking accurate spectral color measurements on transparent and opaque films or paper, on-the-fly, without risk of damage to the substrate.

Launched in May 2012, the QuadTech Color Quality Solution is a collaboration that extends QuadTech’s true spectral color measurement capabilities to ink formulation.

The solution involves in-line spectral data obtained from QuadTech, ink formulation data from X-Rite, and ink dispensing technology from Huber Group, based on its consistent high quality printing ink base colors. The process begins with customer-defined color targets, typically supplied by Pantone color standard library, a Color Exchange Format (CxF) file, or color samples. These targets are evaluated off-line, manually, using the industry standard X-Rite SpectroEye. A spectral color curve is obtained and loaded into X-Rite’s InkFormulation software, which then formulates an “ink recipe.”

A Huber Group Color Database provides data to the ink dosing machine, which then prepares the ink can. After successful quality control by means of a draw-down, the ink goes to press.

The color targets are loaded into QuadTech’s Color Measurement System with SpectralCam. Obtaining the color target data occurs simultaneously with live color measurements taken at full press speeds. Any color deviations are automatically captured and reported in ?E values. A new color CxF file can be sent back to the InkFormulation software.

The QuadTech Inspection System inspects the entire substrate in-line during printing, laminating and rewinding. Inspecting the full substrate width 100% of the time instead of scanning small sample areas, the QuadTech Inspection System achieves total, uninterrupted defect detection at full production speeds.

The Inspection System with SpectralCam combines true 100 percent inspection with advanced color measurement in a single system. The system assures continuous, in-line monitoring during printing of virtually all web-fed package materials, including transparent, translucent and opaque film substrates in addition to paper. It also uses line-scan technology to compare each print repeat against a ‘golden template’, which is a printed copy considered by the press operator to be as close to perfect as possible. Golden template technology results in a fixed, unchanging quality standard that is more sensitive than other inspection methods to slow growing defects such as register, streaks and color change.

Also available for the package printer is QuadTech’s Autotron 2600 Register Guidance System with ClearLogic which provides accurate register control on any press. This is highly beneficial to users of opaque, transparent and reflective substrates such as BOPP, metalized film, high-gloss cast and polypropylene. Using MiniCam scanning heads the process detects various pale and low-contrast marks with precision, significantly reducing make-ready waste.

Randy Freeman, QuadTech general manager of packaging says, “QuadTech's technology identifies a range of flexo and gravure related defects faster and more reliably than is possible by human means, eliminating the risk of waste or the need for re-runs. The enhanced systems allow film printers to take advantage of the enormous waste savings potential that in-line measurement offers. Press stoppages are avoided and quality consistency assured.”

Software integration

Data Central for Inspection is a database for logging and analysis of defects and press performance. This program generates easily accessible reports that provide real-time overviews of current or historical performance, allowing fast remedial action. In addition to color and web data, the system can store the golden template reference image for each job, picking up every small defect deviating from this perfect image taken at the beginning of the run in good copy.

QuadTech PDF Verification further assures complete accuracy by comparing the golden template and the original customer-approved digital artwork file. This is a fail-safe tool that helps to consistently ensure the print is right the first time, minimizing waste and saving time.

A QuadTech Waste Management System enables precise waste removal and eliminates wastage of quality product. The system can automatically control the slitter-rewinder, waste removal and roll splicing. New tagless defect tracking features use weight to determine waste removal and avoid the need to contaminate a roll with expensive tags.

The QuadTech Web Viewing System provides a high-resolution, real-time digital viewing of moving web sections for all packaging applications. Defect detection is made with the press running uninterrupted, as deviations are analyzed while the Inspection System continues scanning the web. 

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