Running to Delta E

The packaging market continues to explode and so do the print requirements to produce labels, pouches and shrink sleeves. It is common these days for print requests to call for 175lpi, smooth vignettes, and multiple spot colors.

It is also common for print requests to specify a color target or aim point such as the new ISO 15339-Characterized Reference Print Condition such as CRPC6. The reason these are being requested is the same reason Starbucks and MacDonald’s aim at a standard, consistency. No matter where you go an Iced Carmel Macchiato or a Big Mac always look and taste the same because they are made to a standard. If we (Flexo) start using this same concept within the print industry, printed pieces from different converters or print processes will have the same visual appearance.

The interesting thing about the ISO 15339-CRPC’s is that they only contain colorimetric values. In other words, there is no solid ink density (SID) information only CYKM and LAB values.

spoton flexo

It would be a stretch to assume currently at press side most converters have LAB target values. Most likely they have SID aim points such as Magenta 1.20 or Cyan 1.30. These aim points pose the question ‘is that the best ink density to get the optimal color or is it just the target posted near the press?’ Why do we use ink density to monitor color when it is a measurement of lightness or darkness? The easy answer is, in the past, we only had densitometers press side and they were only capable of measuring density. Nowadays we have spectrophotometers press side that can measure colorimeter data such as LAB and LcH. With this colorimetric data, we can use mathematical equations, such as Delta E (dE), to determine the difference between two colors and what constitutes an acceptable color match. Using dE has created a new pressroom metric is called Running to Delta E.

Running to Delta E using hardware and software creates a metric to Objectively Quantify Color rather than using the old subjective color approval process.

For more information and a Free white paper titled ‘Running to Delta E’ Objectively Quantify Color – click here.

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