Trends such as faster changing designs, seasonal adaptations and personalisation support the rise of digital print. Beneath all the benefits of digital printing, there are a few challenges as well. Since you cannot change the colour behaviour of a digital press while printing, your data needs to be 100 per cent correct from the beginning and if a global brand owner counts on hybrid print production, i.e. combining analogue and digital, you have to ensure the same colour appearance whether a design is printed in one or another. Moreover, we see market demand to print more jobs with more variations in less time. To manage these expectations you need a reliable colour management system that allows dynamic and individual profiling, especially in packaging printing.
Another driver we see is extended colour gamut printing. To enlarge the colour gamut of the press by adding two to three spot colours to the standard ink set, like CMYK + OG or CMYK + OGB, gives printing houses the opportunity to print more jobs in the same time. The standardisation of a process like this increases the ink savings, reduces wash-ups and leads to a faster make ready time, but using more than four colours needs a good colour management solution for multicolour separation. Registrations problems, instability on the press through too many colours or unintended colour shifts are reasons why there is a need for good separations to achieve the best visual results.
The biggest driver across the industry is of course sustainability – and a good colour management system can support printing companies and converters with that as well. The key theme here is ‘first time right’. A reliable and consistent colour management solution takes into account the behaviour of the printing presses and substrates, predicts the colour correctly and delivers colour accurate proofs plus individually converted printing files. Printers will reduce their set-up time and waste, get faster into colour and customers will receive a result matching to their expectations – without any complaints afterwards, and reduced waste.
There are a few areas of technology that are a focus of continuing innovation. For us on of these is profiling for proof and conversion. Using the same data to convert the files and prepare the proofs based on the same data saves time and money. Convert your files, proof them for a check, maybe adjust them and go to print without bad surprises.
Another area at the cutting edge is automatic conversion and the direct connection between the single colour management tools. Full flexibility is what the market is expecting and colour management solutions should deliver this. But perhaps the most significant advance we’re seeing is the move toward using extended colour gamut printing already in daily production. Multicolour solutions and a reliable colour management system, especially for global productions, represent the state of the art for this technology.