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Quality of Digital Color and DI Presses Examined by GATF Researchers

Press release from the issuing company

Pittsburgh, Pa., June 23, 2003 — Benefits associated with digital color and direct image (DI) technology includes faster turnaround, more efficient short pressruns, and lower costs. Now the Graphic Arts Technical Foundation (GATF) has published findings from an original research study comparing the quality of print jobs from digital color and DI presses on three different substrates. For printers who are considering the purchase of or who have already purchased a digital color or DI press, Digital Color Printing and Direct Imaging Benchmarking Study provides a portrait of the current capability of short-run color. The benchmark also provides insightful information on how the industry is using this relatively new technology. Looking at current applications and target markets for digital color printing, and reviewing the print technologies used in the research (two direct-imaging presses and seven digital color presses), the Digital Color Printing and Direct Imaging Benchmarking Study offers a good sampling of digital color printing. For the testing portion of the study, participants were provided an EPS file to print on 1,000 sheets of three substrates, also provided by GATF. Data was collected from the participants in areas such as waste, run time on each substrate, and RIP time. After the printed samples were returned to GATF for analysis, 20 sheets were randomly chosen to measure Status T density, density range, density standard deviation, tone value, and more. Further testing included abrasion resistance, fade testing, folding, and comparison to offset color standards. GATF researchers found that print jobs produced by some digital presses fared better in rub resistance tests than did offset jobs. Digital color printing jobs were greater than or equal to offset jobs in run consistency. A greater overprint trapping was provided by digital color press technology which translates into a larger color gamut being achieved, and digital color primaries were compared to ISO offset standards. The report also discusses tone reproduction and appearance in terms of contrast and color balance. The preliminary results of this study were presented at the GATF Tech Alert conference in February 2003. Now published, Digital Color Printing and Direct Imaging Benchmarking Study is the latest study in GATF’s series of Research and Technology Reports (RTR). As an independent, third-party organization, GATF reports are objective and fully disclose methodology. Heavily illustrated with charts, Digital Color Printing and Direct Imaging Benchmarking Study (ISBN 0-88362-437-0) is a 56-page soft cover booklet available for $199 ($99 for GATF/PIA members), not including shipping. Orders may be placed online from the GAIN Bookstore or by contacting GATF by phoning 800/662-3916 (U.S. and Canada) or 412/741-5733 (all other countries); or faxing 412/741-0609. Mail orders to GATF Products, P.O. Box 1020, Sewickley, PA 15143-1020. Indicate Order No. 1634.