Variable costs, on the other hand, influence significantly the cost of every single print and vary in accordance with the amount of prints, or printing jobs. Some of these variable costs will include the media used, the ink, operators’ time, and of course, any printer downtime experienced owing to set up processes.
Italian colour management specialist Barbieri electronic believes that intelligent use of colour management can reduce variable costs – specifically with regards to ink and media, but also in the area of operator and printer time.
Ink, regardless of whether it is UV-cured ink, solvent ink, water-based ink or latex ink, is the cost factor which is the most crucial one and an area in which cost savings can be most effective. Ink saving using colour management is done by optimised gray component replacement (GCR).
GCR is a separation technique whereby black ink is used to replace a portion of the unwanted component in a saturated colour. It also replaces those grays made with three colours, with true black. One software package that is able to create ICC Profile with ‘Ink-Saving’ (optimised GCR) is Profile-Xpert Print Pro, which has a free trial at www.Profile-Xpert.com
The parameter GCR determines to what degree the black ink is used to replace cyan, magenta and yellow. This parameter can be defined individually according to an operator’s needs. As higher GCR is set as more ink will be saved. But the other side of the coin is if the GCR is set too high the print will become flat and lack structure.Therefore the middle route has to be found. This depends mainly on the media used and the kind of image printed.
There is visually no difference between these two images even if the image on the right side will be printed with 25% less ink
On the illustration above we have separated the image into the 4 channels (CMYK) and measured the ink coverage on one point. We gain an ink saving of total 30% in cyan, magenta and yellow with an increase of 5% black only. This leads to an average ink saving of 25%.Ink-Saving: Figures
Figures taken from a printing lab using Barbieri colour management equipment (December 2008)
• 25% saving of ink (see calculation above).
• Average UV printer consumption: approx. 500 litre / year.
• Cost UV ink: approx. Euro100 / litre which results in yearly expenditures of approx. Euro50.000 on ink each printer
By 25% ink saving the yearly gross saving is about 12.500 per printer.
Time saving is also achieved, says Barbieri electronic, simply through the attainment of the correct results first time using automatic, fast measurement.
If colour management is applied in the right manner and the whole workflow is undertaken, including linearisation of the printer and creation of the ICC profile for the media, the desired colour true output will be reached immediately.
Thanks to this no multiple sample prints have to be printed in order to come step by step closer to the desired colour appearance which would lead to wasted operator and printer time.
Furthermore, says Barbieri electronic, the calibration process has to be done only once for each media (as long as the colour output remains stable) and not for each print job. By means of an automatic measuring device (spectrophotometer) the operator during measurement can devote their attention to other tasks and are not occupied by measuring manually.
Getting the right results immediately also has the benefit of saving costs when it comes to media, says Barbieri. As this example illustrates, applying colour management in the right manner also means that media will be saved as multiple sample prints are no longer needed.
Printing labs who apply colour management will also spend less on media because they will get fewer customer complaints because of inadequate colour.
More information on colour management is available at: www.barbierielectronic.com© Copyright Open House Publishing Ltd. Reproduction without publisher's permission is prohibited.