Sign & Digital Graphics

January '19

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S I G N & D I G I T A L G R A P H I C S • January 2019 • 41 E ach time you examine your fixed costs—especially when you spend an evening doing some "what can we do to save money this year" bud- geting—you'll probably find that ink remains a considerable, unavoidable and ever-increasing expense. But what if you could take a few simple steps for each print job, no mat- ter whether you're using eco-solvent, UV-cure or latex inks, and save as much as 30 percent of your overall ink bill? Would that be enough incentive to take the time to tweak those settings, or make sure your operators are up to speed on best practices for ink conservation? A quartet of industry experts, includ- ing those in the ink manufacturing end of the business, say the secrets lie in your Andy Stonehouse is a freelance writer based in Greeley, Colorado. Even the ink makers admit that wide- format printers can achieve ink savings between 5 and 30 percent by tweak- ing their equipment and their software to avoid unnecessary color duplication, yet still producing bril- liant results.(Photo courtesy of Onyx Graphics.) printer's own built-in capabilities to use less ink. And if you've been simply using the built-in defaults on your RIP soft- ware, customizing those settings can provide noticeable savings. Tim Mitchell, H P 's Latex Czar— when you know your stuff that well you get a cool title to match—says that the many benefits of latex printing technol- ogy also produce plenty of redundancies in the CMYK process, often causing you to use more resources than necessary. "Don't print with more ink than you need," Mitchell says. "The goal of print- ing is to hit your maximum gamut with the smallest amount of ink possible. That way, your printing can be more efficient and your runs faster, and the ink will also dry faster." Mitchell's three must-do moves for saving ink on latex jobs include modify- ing your settings governing ink restric- tion and global ink limits, as well as switching from six-color CMYK to four- color, when possible. "Those light hues, light cyan and light magenta, do not get used a lot, especially on large volume printers, where every- thing matters," he says. "Ink restriction is also important—you could achieve maximum density or a maximum chroma value much earlier than 100 percent. If the restrictions are too high, that could result in a distortion of linearization. Ink restriction is a key factor for high speed when liquidity is crucial, as well." For UV-curing printer equipment, Mark Goodearl, senior ink product man- ager with EFI, says purging and ink waste management is critical, and that means proper operating training can ultimately produce big savings. "Customers who invest in training their printer and pre-press operators are able to prepare their own custom ink profiles to get more mileage from their

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