A New Appreciation for Inline Color Measurements

It goes by many names.  Some call it “pressroom color QC”, “pressroom color QA”, or even “pressroom color quality control”.  However, regardless of the name, packaging printers are recognizing the value and are investing in color quality solutions for their pressrooms with the ultimate goal of getting up to color faster, lowering their make-ready costs, and achieving more consistent color across long press runs.

Most typically, these solutions feature new software (such as Techkon’s ChromaQA) that works with the printers’ existing pressroom handheld spectrophotometers.  Together, these solutions can absolutely help press operators make smarter choices when it comes to quickly matching brand colors on press and staying on color throughout the job, provided that they stop the press, pull the samples from the roll, and take the required measurements.

While the workflow and benefits of using a pressroom color quality solution with a handheld spectrophotometer are becoming better understood in the industry, I would like to use this blog to discuss the hidden benefits of automating the color measurement process with the use of an inline spectrophotometer which can be mounted inside your existing flexo, gravure, or digital presses.  I know…I know….at first glance, most will think the only advantage of inline systems (such as Techkon’s SpectroVision) is that the press doesn’t have to be stopped to obtain the color measurements.  However, while this is true, I would like to take a minute and share how automated measurements with Techkon’s SpectroVision can really take pressroom color control to a whole new level.  Let’s take a look at some of the lesser known key benefits of inline color measurement with SpectroVision:

Key Benefits of SpectroVision:

  • Automation ensures that color measurements occur regularly throughout the entire press run and completely eliminates the measurement burden for the operator.
  • While color on a flexo press tends to shift over time due to changes with ink viscosities, anilox rolls, doctor blades, etc., with more frequent color measurements, inline systems can become “predictive” and can detect when color begins to drift, alerting operators to take corrective action before color goes out of tolerance.
  • SpectroVision has the ability to traverse across the entire web width, measure color bars on both the “operator” & “gear” sides of the web, and display measurement data independently for each side of the press to ensure uniform color.
  • Because SpectroVision can move across the web, it offers the ability to measure color directly from in-image locations. This is perfect for jobs that do not have the real-estate required for color bars or when you need to measure brand colors in multiple lanes across the web width.
  • Live web viewing and bar code grading are also features included with SpectroVision which extends its value beyond just automated color measurements. Monitoring registration and bar code readability in real-time can further reduce waste and save printers money.
  • SpectroVision has the ability to provide many more color measurements during the press run, without stopping the press, allowing for tighter color tolerances to be achieved.

Hopefully this short blog has given you a new appreciation for the value that an inline spectrophotometer can bring to your pressroom color quality activities.  Interested in learning more?  Please feel free to contact us.  We are always happy to speak with printers of all sizes to learn about your individual business needs and how we can help you overcome the challenges that you face in todays’ print market.  Thank you and please stay safe and be well.