QuadTech showcased its new Color Quality Solution at ICE Europe 2013. The solution provides accelerated, assured means of reaching and maintaining colour perfection by sharing and processing data from in-line colour control and off-line colour measurement technology
The solution comprises in-line spectral data obtained from QuadTechs SpectralCam, ink formulation data from X-Rite and ink dispensing technology from Huber Group or other ink dispensing system suppliers.
The process begins with customer-defined colour targets. A spectral colour curve is generated for each colour target and loaded into the ink formulation software, which then formulates an ink recipe, based on the ink database.
The ink recipe is sent to the ink dispenser, which then prepares the ink batch for production. After successful quality control by means of a draw-down, the ink goes to press.
The colour targets are loaded into QuadTechs Color Measurement System with SpectralCam.
When the press starts up, colour measurements are automatically taken and any colour deviations are captured and reported.
Comparisons of printed work with the original colour information begin immediately. If perfect colour is not achieved, for example, due to contamination, a .CxF file is created automatically and sent back to the ink kitchens ink formulation software for fine-tuning of the recipe.
For the first time, colour data can be shared in a common format and processed between in-line colour control and off-line colour measurement technology. As a result, the packaging printer has an accelerated, assured means of arriving at colour perfection and maintaining it to the final print. By simplifying one of the most time-consuming and complex stages of the make-ready stage, this solution offers potential for significantly reduced start-up waste and time savings, said Stephan Doppelhammer, regional sales manager for QuadTech in Germany, Austria and Switzerland.
Stable, on-the-fly Measuring of Colour on Different Materials
Another highlight at the QuadTech stand was a web stabilising unit that enables spectral colour measurements of transparent and opaque web material on-the-fly without risk of substrate corrugation.
The web stabilizer device consists of a flat-top, low-friction platform, onto which the moving web is stabilized by suction, to enable colour measurement over a ceramic tile. The substrate is sucked down for a few milliseconds, to take colour readings without wrinkles, bubbles and shadows that may result in distortion. Suction occurs when a vacuum is created around the tile, by pumping pulses of high-pressure air through a channel and out through small holes along the side of the tile. Multiple targets can be captured at one time.
The low friction-coefficient of the food-grade contact area prevents scratching or scuffing of either the surface area or substrate. The device contains a black and a white ceramic tile, allowing for precise colour measurement on any substrate. Both tiles are slightly depressed, never coming into contact with the substrate. The tiles meet the British Ceramic Research Association (BCRA) ceramic colour standard, guaranteeing a long-term constant backing value. The tile assembly is removable for easy cleaning.