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Heath Luetkens on consistency in color and the new XRGA standard

Published on October 19, 2010

INTERVIEWER:  I guess one of the questions that lay people have regarding color measurement is, after all these years, why is it still an issue and what are some of the problems that still keep it from being a more or less seamless process? 

HEATH Luetkens:  I think just the variables, you know, the variables from anybody’s perspective.  You know, you have paper, you have ink are to big variables.  Those are the major variables between the processes.  Measurement of that is a huge piece within that.  How am I measuring that paper?  The biggest concern as well right now is how I measure and control the optical brighteners that are in the paper. ‘Cause when I look at material, what is everybody looking for, brighter, whiter paper?  How do you get there?  You need optical brighteners.  Well then for instrumentation, that throws everything out of space and out of play.  So what are we gonna do? 

So from a lay person’s aspect, we need control and consistency.  And that’s where we can’t in this process.  There’s a lot of variability in the process. 

Of course, from our perspective, we’re trying to management that through color management and we need consistent measurement and accuracy to get there. 

INTERVIEWER:  Does digital printing and toner and digital papers is that creating all sorts of problems for color measurement these days? 

HEATH Luetkens:  I think it’s coming along the same pass.  It’s definitely a path of where we’re going with technology.  It’s gonna be toner base or ink jet based technologies and digital systems.  You know, you look at where the digital process is coming into the mix more and more and more technology is coming in there, you still have the same old problems that are there.  You have paper variability and toner variability.  Xerox has their toner, HP has their ink jet and MGI has their toner.  So what are we doing?  How are we mixing that together?  And it’s variation. 

INTERVIEWER:  So X-Rite just announced the XRGA standard, what’s your perspective of that and what problems does it hope to solve? 

HEATH Luetkens:  I think the biggest problem is what I just mentioned, you know, with the ISIS, you know, if we’re doing a color match we have – I manage also the support engine for CGS in the U.S.  What our biggest call in from a measurement perspective is, is I build my color match with a DTB-70 or an ISIS or an I1IO, and now I’m using my I1 to certify that through certified proof.  When I do that, I get drastically numbers.  Why am I having variation?  Why is this different than this device?  Or I’m doing a spot measurement and it’s different from what it used to be.  Why? 

I think the XRGA product and what they’re doing and the approach they’re getting to helps minimize, it’s not gonna eliminate, it’s gonna minimize that impact between instrumentation.  You have different lighting sources between the I1 to the DP70 to the ISIS, and if we can centralize those closer together I think it helps that piece of the industry because then also, if you have an I1 and I have an I1, we need to match product.  And how do we do that?  If we’ve gone through that XRGA process I think we’ll be there by then.  

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