Lyon, March 31, 2008 -- Alwan's world leading CMYK Optimizer software proved to be the essential technology to ensure exceptional print quality for the renowned Pirelli Calendar book at Mondadori Printing in Italy. Mondadori depended on CMYK Optimizer to handle the color management on a 639-page compilation of the annual Pirelli Calendars published from 1964 until 2007. The high-end publication was printed in offset with a very high print run and contained both color and black-and-white images.
With four production sites in Northern Italy, Mondadori Printing is one of the largest graphic companies in Europe. It offers printing services to Mondadori publishers as well as to a large number of other Italian and international customers. With a workforce of over 1,500 employees, the company can print using offset, web offset, gravure and flexography. The production from the offset division ranges from books to covers for catalogues and magazines that are produced using gravure or web offset.
Mondadori's color management requirements reflect a common trend in today's dynamically evolving industry. The graphic production flow has recently experienced a real revolution in terms of its technology and methodology. Operators must handle files coming from every corner of the world. However when it comes to color management, the ability to intercept errors as well as potential problems from incoming files is totally ineffective. One frequently occurring problem is preserving the purity of the Black channel, when performing a colorimetric conversion using two ICC profiles. Alwan provides an effective solution to this problem with its award winning CMYK Optimizer software, which is based on the Dynamic DeviceLink profile technology. CMYK Optimizer effectively resolves this kind of problem by focusing on the digital profile at the initial phase of plate creation.
The right software for optimal results
Sergio Brunelli, head of prepress and offset quality control at Mondadori Printing, provides an example of why Alwan CMYK Optimizer is an absolute must in their production workflow: "A client provided a PDF file that was only suitable for web offset printing. All of a sudden he decided to switch to gravure printing at the very last minute. In view of the tight production schedule and costs related to converting the digital files, we intervened on the files using the Alwan CMYK Optimizer software.
Thanks to the Dynamic DeviceLink technology, the files were converted directly from the web offset profile to gravure -- completely avoiding the problems of managing the black channel."
Alwan CMYK Optimizer's track record for delivering successful results gave Mondadori Printing a technical edge to handle the demanding print requirements for the famous 639-page Pirelli Calendar book. It needed to be printed in offset with a very high print run. Because of the importance of the job and the quality of the images, Mondadori chose to do a preliminary printing test on key pages in the book. Printing sheets that contain both four-color and black-and-white images are extremely difficult to print.
"We thoroughly analyzed the job in advance. With some images, we were mostly working with the black ink channel, while for others the three-color inks were predominant and there was hardly any black used," says Mr. Brunelli. "It was practically impossible to reproduce such different images with any degree of quality. We had to choose between either working on the separations or compromising on quality."
Mondadori's experience and technical know-how enabled the company to process the test file using Alwan color management software, then compare the printed results with and without conversion. Alwan CMYK Optimizer Dynamic GCR was used to re-map the Pirelli book file. The separations were rebuilt using the GCR method by reducing TAC without affecting the colors. The use of CMYK Optimizer enabled optimal printing conditions to be achieved with the new test files within a very short time.
"When examining the printed black-and-white proofs with and without the use of the Alwan software, it was striking that the separations that were not re-mapped using Alwan showed uneven inking on the various images, while the others were evenly inked. The software re-mapped the separations, removing or adding color where necessary, while respecting the constraints imposed (TAC and GCR). The resulting file was easy and fast to print, with fewer counter-printing problems, and the ink savings were significant," states Brunelli.
Sergio Brunelli is extremely pleased at the immaculate print quality of the Pirelli Calendars. "We were looking for a solution to be able to print the Pirelli calendars in the best possible conditions. Alwan CMYK Optimizer proved to be the ultimate tool to achieve optimal print quality and delivered a near perfect proof match, at the same time reducing print costs," concludes Mr. Brunelli.
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