Daragh Whelan is Technical Application Director at BOBST specializing in flexo printing, specifically using oneECG (Extended Color Gamut) technology for producing labels and packaging. With over 30 years of experience and deep technical knowledge, he is the go-to expert for advice on new applications and print trials. As the authority on BOBST oneECG, he visits customers to teach them how to implement the technology and fully leverage the power of flexo printing with a fixed color palette.
What does BOBST oneECG mean for inline flexo?
oneECG is BOBST’s extended color gamut technology as deployed across analogue and digital printing processes for labels, flexible packaging, folding cartons and corrugated board.?By fully digitalizing and automating color management, oneECG takes flexo printing to a higher level in terms of improved time-to-market, print quality, cost reduction, and better sustainability.
oneECG uses a fixed set of inks – CMYK with the option to add orange, green and violet – to achieve a larger color gamut than printing with traditional technology. With the oneECG system, printers can also ensure complete color consistency and repeatability irrespective of the individual operator’s skill and experience.
Instead of mixing inks in an ink kitchen to match a specific Pantone or ‘spot’ color, the color is built up on press by layers from the fixed color set, usually using two to three inks. oneECG allows printers to accurately replicate 65% of the Pantone book with just four colors and up to 95% with seven, depending on the substrate. This represents huge savings in costs, materials and time, meaning converters can delivery faster at a more competitive cost level and better environmental footprint.
Advantages and benefits for flexo converters
The digitalization of BOBST MASTER series of inline flexo presses with high levels of automation, such as DigiFlexo for automatic pressure and register setting and quality control, combined with oneECG make them so efficient and productive that ONE fully equipped BOBST narrow or medium web press replaces TWO standard flexo machines.
In other words: one press configured with BOBST oneECG provides an increase of 50% in productivity and a more sustainable production environment.
By implementing oneECG, converters can enjoy a huge range of benefits, including:
Increased productivity and reduction in downtime – as only the plates are changed, there is no need to load the ink tray, change the anilox or the doctor blade at each job changeover. Coupled with automatic register control, makeready time is reduced by 50%.
More flexibility with cross-compatibility between technologies – oneECG allows jobs to be transferred from flexo to digital or vice versa without limits while maintaining full color consistency.
Shorter job runs can be printed more profitably – faster setup, no changeover of inks and anilox converts to less ink waste, less substrate waste and faster turnaround. And with oneECG, multiple SKUs can easily be printed across the web.
Reduction in cleaning time and consumables – a fixed set of inks means cleaning becomes part of the regular maintenance and is not required at each job changeover.
Big ink savings and space optimization – oneECG creates no ink waste and uses 30% less ink. With only four to seven fixed colors, converters will not have valuable storage space taken up by large inventories of Pantone inks, leftovers and waste.
Significant substrate waste reduction – all color matching is done in prepress which means the press comes to color much faster than in traditional flexo printing. Combined with DigiFlexo, less than 30 meters of substrate is used at each new job setup.
Exact job repeatability – a oneECG job can be repeated successfully on different presses, in different factories, even in different parts of the world, because in the main, color matching is done digitally, allowing for better business continuity.
Even savings on plate costs – when a job is converted to oneECG, there is most often a reduction in the number of colors required, so fewer plates are needed for each job.
Requirements for oneECG printing
Exceptional register control
In oneECG, spot colors and text are built up by layers with only minimum or no trapping applied, with up to four colors – this requires highly accurate press registration, so automation is key. BOBST Print Tutor is a fully automated length and side register set-up and control system which utilizes mark-to-mark detection cameras on each printing unit. This allows for even fine text and barcodes to be printed in multiple colors in register.
Automatic job changeovers
To take full advantage of the oneECG process, converters have the option to invest in BOBST’s unique automatic job changeover technology, which allows jobs to be printed one after another without fully stopping the press. The press simply slows down while the job is changed automatically and then speeds up again. This level of automation delivers huge reductions in setup waste and allows many more jobs to be printed during each shift. In addition, with BOBST’s new semi-rotary die-cutting unit, the die plates are also changed automatically.
Changes to the flexo operation
Whether printing companies have their prepress in-house or use an external partner, BOBST’s experts will support customers by sharing their extensive experience, from profiling and job conversion all the way through the workflow to plate making and plate mounting.
Changes in the mindset of the staff will be needed, as oneECG moves all color matching from the print room to the prepress department. The performance will be significantly increased, so it is important to train the prepress team, the press operators, and even the managers and the salespeople, so they better understand how to maximize the opportunities that oneECG brings to the business.
At BOBST’s Competence Center in Florence (Italy), a full working oneECG ecosystem has been created to train operators from prepress to printing, whilst verifying the entire process. This is the perfect chance for the whole team to see oneECG in action, ask questions, and test real production jobs live. After installation, on-site training is available tailored specifically to each customer’s needs.
What are the ideal applications for oneECG?
Any job that is printed using multiple spot colors without embellishments, such as foiling and spot varnishing, can be moved to oneECG, so general labelling, shrink sleeves, flexible packaging, IML, and more.
How many colors do you need in oneECG?
oneECG involves up to seven colors in the process, but it can work even with four colors (CMYK) producing 65% of the Pantone book, meaning hundreds of colors are available along with massive cost savings and lower waste.
How do you convince brand owners to move to oneECG?
Most brand owners are using multiple print technologies and require the converter to match the contract proof or digital reference under the agreed Delta E. With oneECG, color matching is digitalized and happens in prepress, which means consistent and repeatable printing that matches the proof every time, whilst giving brand owners quicker speed to market with a more sustainable process.
How will oneECG affect the print quality?
oneECG uses the same software to convert Pantone colors as digital machines. With the correct workflow and systems in place, most oneECG converters will see an increase in quality compared to traditional printing.
How do I start the oneECG journey?
Come and visit BOBST at Labelexpo Europe 2023, booth 3A58-3A59 for a full-fledged explanation and demonstration of oneECG technology directly made by Daragh Whelan!
To attend Labelexpo Europe in September REGISTER HERE
If you can’t attend the event, visit the Competence Center in Florence for an in-depth demonstration of oneECG technology. Prepare to be amazed! Book your demo