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EskoArtwork focuses on Equinox at the FTA Forum

Monday, April 28, 2008

Press release from the issuing company

Vandalia, OH (USA), April, 2008 - EskoArtwork, the global market leader in innovative design, pre-production, and collaboration solutions for the packaging industry, will use the FTA Annual Forum, April 27-30 in Dallas, TX, to launch a focus on Equinox, a collection of unique color tools and services for extended color gamut (ECG) printing, and its use in multi color process printing. The FTA's Annual Forum & INFO*FLEX Exhibition is the flexographic industry's most widely anticipated and highly attended annual gathering of buyers, sellers, educators, students, and professional flexographers representing all aspects of the flexographic printing process.

The value of multi color process printing
The majority of printed packaging today is multi color in nature: an ink set of cyan, magenta, yellow and black inks, plus 1, 2 or 3 special colors to identify the brand. Large consumer product companies have many brands, and when you add brand extensions to them, many different ink colors might be associated with them. As the companies seek ways to reduce packaging costs, they desire to standardize all of the brand's packaging on one multi-color ink set. Companies are starting to adopt an ECG color set rather than using spot colors, typically using a combination of CMYK and two or three additional colors such as red, green and blue. Examples of popular ECG ink sets are PANTONE(r) Hexachrome, FMSix(r) or Opaltone(r)-although many companies create their own customized sets.

In packaging, ECG printing, used correctly, can reduce the number of spot colors required for a job - but still maintain the visual identity of the brands' colors. Used efficiently, it is also possible to implement ECG printing to print with the same colors for most, if not all jobs. There is no need to clean stations for each new job. Thus, press setup time is reduced, creating much more press up-time along with reduced ink inventory costs. Less ink, less substrate waste, and less drying times also help reduce a printer's environmental footprint. In short, ECG creates more visually appealing packaging while preserving the balance between visual brand identity and printing economics.

Because many package designs can be printed at the same time, less product inventory can be kept: there is more freedom to return to the press to print a specific package. This is particularly a driving force in folding cartons. Previously a vast stock of boxes had to be produced and kept in the warehouse. Now, brand owners can reduce costs by ordering one month's worth of inventory, rather 6 months. Also, with less spot colors, there is reduced ink inventory, while designers have more color latitude to create appealing packaging.

Equinox for extended color gamut printing
It is crucial to use smart tools that make the implementation of a multi color printing process smooth and easy. Equinox is a collection of unique color tools and services necessary for ECG printing. As part of a comprehensive solution, Equinox offers efficiency and automation without compromising flexibility and editability. In addition to all of the benefits associated with ECG, Equinox tools deliver:

* Image specific gamut expansion
* A centralized color database
* Co-Printing (ganging of jobs on press)
* Flexibility to define custom ink sets
* Jobs remain fully editable after conversion

For Ink Selection, Equinox supports five, six or seven ink sets, customized and optimized for production and printing conditions. Alternatively, Equinox also supports industry standard extended gamut inks.

For color profiling, Kaleidoscope, an underlying color engine, offers spectral profiling of any extended gamut set for converting jobs to the target color space, patented spectral profiling of special colors and profiles optimized for minimum ink usage and maximum color depth.

For color conversion, Equinox Conversion Modules offer maximum flexibility for defining spot color conversions. Using intelligent "smoothing" options, Equinox takes users beyond basic ?E color matching. Alternatively, designers can match spot ink to profile, legacy conversion tables or create custom exception lists for color conversions. For example, the process works well upstream with designers. With the Equinox image conversion plug-in for Adobe PhotoShop, RGB, CMYK or N-color images can be converted to the ECG set. The designer can control where extra color is added and how much. More important, the designer knows how the inks will print and can make the design to fit.

"The user-managed gamut mapping of the Equinox Photoshop plug-in lets me maximize the gamut and get the optimum reproduction across a range of products-from potato chips to movie promo images." comments Kevin Bourquin, Prepress Manager, Cyber Graphics. "No other 'fixed" conversion software provides the control that I need."

For proofing, FlexProof/E provides color accurate contract proofing for ECG printing, offering accurate rendering of 7-color ink overprints and support for latest wide-gamut inkjet proofers.

Consultants in color excellence
Implementing ECG printing can be complicated. EskoArtwork experts can help define a step-by-step approach to implementing ECG printing, helping with ink selection, press standardization, proofing for extended gamuts, press profiling and definition of color standards.

"The benefits are clear. Forward-thinking converters and brand owners are creating partnerships, working to develop effective ECG solutions. We know of converters that can run their presses constantly-just pulling plates in about 7-8 minutes to begin a new job. They can be so successful at the process that they shut down the presses once a month for 6-8 hours to clean them. They don't change inks, and they don't change the anilox. They stop for maintenance for 73 hours-total-the entire year. And, in the process, if they are running a wide web flexo press, they can save upwards of $1 million annually," remarks Dan Pulling, EskoArtwork Product Manager.

For those who want more information about ECG printing and color control, during the FTA Annual Forum, visitors can attend the session, 'A New Look at an Old Topic: Prepress Curves & Quality Control', presented by Mark Samworth, EskoArtwork Consultant, Color Excellence.

 

 

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Wide Format Editor

Richard Romano

Richard Romano, Section Editor/Senior Analyst
Richard has written about communication, graphics hardware and software trends for the past 15 years.

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