October 7, 2021

Know Your Number

Knowing your quality number or metric becomes the basis of how an organization communicates color as part of a Color Quality Control program. Part of the quality control program identifies a given print reference (think of a bullseye in a dart target) for the type of paper (or any material you are printing on) the job is being printed on, in North America most companies use GRACoL Coated (Europe uses ISO Coated).

Ideally this number should be based on a scale where the lower the number, the closer the eye will perceive the visual match to the defined reference; and the higher the number, the bigger the perceived difference. At some number, the difference is too large to be salable, and this becomes the NUMBER that is the limit for color difference.  Multiple people within the organization will need to determine this number based on the type of customers that you print for, it is important to not have too small a number that your customers will not appreciate and will cost your company more money to maintain, nor do you want too high a number that will cause you to lose customers.

You will want to assess actual printed, acceptable jobs with ChromaChecker to begin to understand what number your existing work is meeting. Once you know this it will allow for expectations to be tied directly to the printed result and allow production maintenance to be performed at the right time by the right staff. 

 

 

Communicating consistency of color print quality can be completed with Green for within tolerance and with Red for outside of tolerance. This enables all the staff involved to be alerted that something has changed requiring intervention. Starting with the production staff first completing known basic maintenance tasks that will resolve device issues and escalate more complex errors in manufacturing print.

 

 

Executives and managers can monitor the Key Performance Indicators (KPI) report providing a window to the overall production metric for success. Performance reports are provided for Top Management, Location Managers, and Production Managers for salability, compliance, and productivity. While operators are provided real-time results, they also can be provided a report showing their performance as compared to the organizational goals.

 

 

 

Having a number at any given time provides insight into the "current state'' and, in turn, provides the basis for decisions.  What exists today is the range of capabilities available to drive your business and highlights the capabilities of instrumentation, printers, and manufacturing processes. Knowing what your organization is capable of today allows for organizational planning that will affect all aspects of the business and provides insight into developing a roadmap for success.  

 

 

Providing data measurements can also become the basis for decisions related to purchasing, allowing for past investments such as instrumentation and printers to have a new life while defining requirements for future purchasing decisions.

The six assessments that can be evaluated before purchase include: 

  • Color Gamut — We are determining the gamut size by calculating the ISO Gamut size in a numeric number, and we are calculating the percentage of PMS colors that can be reproduced within 2 delta. This test assesses the device/ink combination. 
  • Uniformity — Within Page uniformity to determine the degree of uniformity on the imaging area. 
  • Reproducibility- Between days to determine the uniformity and repeatability benchmark of the press over time.
  • Repeatability — This assessment reports the between page variation 
  • Addressability — This assessment compares the resolution and contrast of the capabilities of a device.
  • Color Accuracy — This assessment is defined as a preferred print aim target and directly relates to the workflow and substrate used for the benchmark. 
     

When it comes to COLOR — It’s clear that things have changed -- now is the time to relax what you know about your color production and MEASURE what is being produced and how it is being COMMUNICATED.

 

 

Once your number is established, the planning for improvement becomes clear, past investments in instrumentation, printing presses, and manufacturing processes can be evaluated, while future investments can be targeted at measurable improvements while progress is reported to evaluate the value of those changes.

 

 

ChromaChecker allows you to report on a real-time basis and empower management to make informed decisions regarding investments and organizational goals. This will allow you to quantify your color consistency for precision and accuracy, provide reports, set appropriate goals, and monitor performance using KPI reports.

 

 

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