Manual Color Process Control vs Closed-Loop Color Process Control

Accurate and consistent color reproduction throughout a press run is crucial for the success of any offset, flexo, or digital printing operation. To achieve this, periodic color monitoring and control of key characteristics like color, density, TVI, and G7 are essential. Traditionally, printers have relied on manual color control, a primitive and time-consuming process that often leads to costly mistakes, wasted materials, and customer dissatisfaction. In this blog post, we’ll explore the drawbacks of manual color control and highlight the transformative benefits of automated color measurement and management.

The Pitfalls of Manual Color Control:

Manual color control, relying on a “trial and error” approach, is not only outdated but also highly inefficient. Printers, especially those without access to experienced press operators, struggle to maintain consistent color quality. This craft is vanishing rapidly as seasoned operators retire, leaving behind less experienced staff to manage the color control process. Consequently, these printers face longer make-ready times, increased waste, higher risk of customer complaints, and reduced profits.

The Manual Process Involves:

  1. Interrupting Press Operations: The manual color control process disrupts the printing workflow, leading to unnecessary downtime.
  2. Pulling Sample Sheets: Operators must remove sample sheets from the press to perform measurements, further delaying production.
  3. Performing Manual Measurements: Color bars on printed sheets are measured manually, leaving room for human error and inconsistency.
  4. Making Estimations: Operators estimate color density correction values by eye, which is subjective and imprecise.
  5. Tweaking Press Controls: Adjustments are made by hand, resulting in a tedious and time-consuming task.
  6. Iterative Corrections: The press is rerun multiple times until the desired color is achieved, leading to increased material waste and lost productivity.
  7. Potential Skipping of Validation: Due to the labor-intensive nature of manual control, operators often skip critical color validation steps, compromising color accuracy.

The Automated Color Monitoring Solution:

Embracing automated color measurement hardware and color control software revolutionizes the printing process, mitigating the challenges of manual color control and unlocking numerous advantages:

  1. Continuous Monitoring: Automated color control ensures real-time monitoring of color parameters throughout the press run, eliminating the need for manual intervention.
  2. Precise Measurements: Accurate color measurement hardware guarantees reliable and consistent data, reducing errors and enhancing color reproduction.
  3. Instant Corrections: Automated systems swiftly calculate necessary adjustments and implement them seamlessly, minimizing downtime.
  4. Streamlined Workflow: Eliminating manual measurements and corrections streamlines the printing process, optimizing productivity.
  5. Cost and Time Savings: Reduced material waste, faster make-ready times, and enhanced efficiency lead to significant cost savings and increased profits.
  6. Customer Satisfaction: Consistent color quality impresses customers, fosters loyalty, and reduces the risk of losing business to competitors.
  7. Long-term Viability: Automated color control future-proofs printing operations by reducing dependency on skilled labor and providing a sustainable solution.

In conclusion, automated color monitoring and control are the keys to ensuring accurate and consistent color reproduction in the modern printing industry. By upgrading from manual processes to automated systems, printers can unlock greater efficiency, reduced waste, and improved customer satisfaction, setting themselves apart in an increasingly competitive market.

Embrace the power of automation today and transform your color management processes!

Want to see if your press is compatible? Fill out this Checklist and a Techkon tech rep will be with you shortly to discuss your options:

Calculate your savings with an automated closed-loop color control: ROI CALCULATOR

Learn about our automated (closed loop) color process control systems for commercial offset presses by visiting our PressLink page >>

Learn about our semi-automated (open loop) color process control systems for flexographic and digital presses by visiting our SpectroVision page >>