Sign & Digital Graphics

January '19

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42 • January 2019 • S I G N & D I G I T A L G R A P H I C S DIGITAL PRINTING AND FINISHING DIGITAL GRAPHICS ink," he says. "Knowing proper head- tending procedures—when to purge and how to do it properly, or knowing when to use certain print modes or the various types of multi-layer printing —can also reduce ink consumption without reduc- ing the quality of the print." With the right training, Goodearl says purging can be virtually avoided, cutting back on a substantial source of waste. "Incorrect or excessive purging may be the single most wasteful and expensive thing an uneducated printer operator can do," he adds. "One excessive cause of waste may be that it seems easier to perform a 'purge all' for 20 or 30 seconds instead of opting to run a jet test, evalu- ate the issue and take more appropriate action." Goodearl also recommends printers put a little more focus on their inventory, monitoring and maintaining supplies to avoid running out entirely—resulting in expensive downtime—or ending up with surplus or aged-out inventory, leading to expensive waste. Better ink usage can also be achieved by working with the software that drives your image-making. Jonathan Rogers, international marketing manager for Onyx Graphics, Inc., says that using that built-in color management software as part of the end-to-end RIP and print workflow is a very efficient way to maxi- mize ink usage. Too many users, he says, start with the wrong default profiles, bad color management or simply too much ink, resulting in unnecessary waste. "Within the software solution, these concerns can be alleviated with correct ICC profiles for the type of ink and media used for each print job," he says. "We've seen customers with up to 30 percent savings by using technologies such as GCR+ found in Onyx software. Combine this with the ability to correct color for accurate and consistent output, removing bad prints or the need for reworks, and the savings can be significantly higher." Rogers says using new process control tools such as ColorCheck in the preview process will help ensure color accuracy and consistency, and can validate the out- put quality long before printing, reduc- ing waste. HP's Mitchell is a big advocate of using solutions such as Onyx's technol- ogy to cut down on ink usage, before a file is even sent. He's had great results using GCR+ in the ICC creation process, helping the printer to optimize the qual- ity and look of single colors, using the Color Engine, designed specifically for wide-format printing. "Latex inks are very rich, especially black, and you honestly don't always need to use cyan, yellow and magenta, which used to be the case with solvent ink. You're really just making the printer work harder." Mitchell says the ICC process also provides the opportunity to program to print entirely in pure hues, which is once again very helpful and ink-conserving in primarily black jobs. "Your RIPs provide the ability to send in a single color, by programming the black text as 000100. The RIP sees that and prints in black only, which will pro- duce beautiful, rich text without needless waste of ink." Even the ink-makers are keen on printers optimizing their process to cut down on waste. Javier Robles, INX Digital's director of digital technical services, is also an advocate for software that avoids multi-color overkill for single color black output, saving users between 5 and 30 percent of their ink spend. And don't forget some old-fashioned, hands- on maintenance, he says. "Keeping equipment in optimum condition can also reduce ink purges and improve appearance, allowing faster print modes and reducing ink usage at the same time," Robles says. "People get into problems when there is a lack of a comprehensive maintenance plan, or regular measurement and tracking of print quality using some sort of control strip." And what's the best way to train your staff, especially new operators? Onyx's Rogers says employees can take certified training in color management, which will help operators understand common mistakes and avoid them, as well as opti- mizing automated workflows to reduce manual error. An array of online tools and even a dedicated YouTube channel also provide up-to-date tips. SDG Ink efficiency starts in the pre-press department, and tools such as Onyx Thrive can recali- brate color usage and management in the RIP process. (Photo courtesy of Onyx Graphics.)

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