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Paragon Press installs GMG InkOptimizer

Press release from the issuing company

Hingham, MA USA (November 6, 2008) – GMG Americas, the US office of Germany-based GMG, supplier of high-end color management and proofing solutions, announces that Paragon Press, a high quality commercial printer based in Salt Lake City, has successfully installed GMG InkOptimizer and is realizing more consistent grey balance, faster makereadies, less waste, and savings on ink costs.

Paragon Press has been producing superior printing since 1924, receiving many national awards for printing excellence along with providing the highest level of service and customer satisfaction for its clients. The company's digital prepress department takes pride in producing exacting prepress work that meets the highest standards. Their high speed Komori eight color perfecting press offers configurations available from very few printers. In addition to traditional offset lithography, Paragon excels in high quality flexography – three ten color, state of the art machines, capable of printing stock up to thirteen inches wide – and has recently added a new iGen3 digital press and full service digital finishing, including saddle stitching and perfect binding, all calibrated with GMG ColorServer to match their offset press.

Years ago, Paragon was one of the first printers to install GMG ColorProof in the U.S. "I don't think there is anything out there as good, in terms of accuracy," assesses prepress manager Chris Hamilton. "Originally we were driving an Epson 9600 and 7600. Now we drive HP Z6100 and Z2100 printers, using the internal spectrophotometers for calibration. We use the GMG Wizard for calibration on the Epson 7600. Along with GMG Media, everything is dead-on."

When Paragon was looking to upgrade its color management capabilities, it had been frustrated by persistent problems related to managing and maintaining grey balance. When they ran a neutral three-color gray next to black-only boxes on a press, they had a warm tint in the midtones, a green tint in the 3/4 tones, and pink highlights. They desired a grey balance throughout the range to improve quality and consistency. Explains Hamilton, "Before we installed GMG InkOptimizer and GMG ColorServer, I used to manipulate individual plate curves using manual readings and calculations to get a good result, and our scanner operators were still complaining about the grey balance on press."

When Paragon Press visited GMG at Graph Expo 2007, they were told that with GMG InkOptimizer their pressroom would be more consistent because they would be printing with less CMY inks. At the same time, they would not see a difference between optimized and un-optimized plates.

Ink reduction becomes particularly attractive when jobs are printed in long runs. Less ink means less powder and presses that can run faster. GMG InkOptimizer, popular with large printers, automatically reduces the amount of chromatic colors, promising significant ink savings on the press, while maintaining quality, and improving printing conditions. Even though images remain identical – both to the eye and spectrophotometrically, the amount of color ink used is significantly reduced. Press make-ready is faster and make-ready waste is reduced. Drying times and run performance are also improved, often allowing faster press speeds. The software can be quickly and reliably incorporated into automated workflows with multiple "hot folders" providing individual color transformation settings. GMG InkOptimizer supports the full range of industry-standard data formats and can handle PDF files directly without interpreting them, preserving data integrity and making format conversions unnecessary.

"Although GMG promoted InkOptimizer as an opportunity to save ink, what really caught our ear was the company's claim that InkOptimizer would provide us with better quality and consistency, and improve our gray balance," Hamilton says. "The idea was that with less of the three color inks (CMY), there would be less influence on the grey balance. Frankly, we didn't believe it, but we were curious and proceeded to test the product anyway."

"We decided to get G7 certified at the same time as installing GMG InkOptimizer. We ran a job twice, with and without InkOptimizer. The unoptimized plates had tints, while the optimized set was truly neutral – a big improvement in quality. We ran two more sets of G7 plates, with and without InkOptimizer. With InkOptimizer, the grey balance was perfect. There was no difference between gray balance and a black bar. For example, four-color grays – typically a nightmare – were finally consistent throughout the tone range.

There are other benefits to GMG InkOptimizer. Drying time is much faster. Also, as many as 20-30 jobs every six months would typically have an offset problem due to excess water or extremely heavy ink coverage on the press. With GMG InkOptimizer, that problem has almost disappeared.

Since it acquired GMG InkOptimizer and GMG ColorServer, Paragon is able to turn jobs quickly and accurately with little or no manual tweaking. "With the natural drift of the offset press we used to swing from warm to cool in neutral grays. With GMG InkOptimizer, not only do we save on press with faster makereadies and keeping the color smoother, the people in bindery rarely have to inspect a thing."

"Currently, we use GMG Ink Optimizer for about 65 percent of our commercial print work-anything that utilizes standard four-color process printing, and are slowly adding different types of work. We are somewhat reluctant to use GMG InkOptimizer for reprints because, although they look better and are more accurate, they do look different than the original job. Thus, we give customers the choice, understanding that subsequent jobs will obviously be more consistent," Hamilton says. "Our press operators love it. Before, we seldom heard a kind word from them. Now, they say, 'Whatever you're doing, it's working great.' The pressroom feels that every job we give them now assures quicker makereadies and helps them keep the color consistent."

The advantage didn't end there. Paragon ran tests to judge ink savings. "We split a job of 140,000 impressions in half: 70,000 with InkOptimizer, and 70,000 without InkOptimizer. The savings were so good that we could not believe it: considerably less ink! We tested another run of 160,000 to see if we could recreate the savings. On the second job, ee printed pages that had more black objects, and fewer images, but we still saved 8-10% CMY ink with InkOptimizer. We also ran a job of 200,000 impressions and found a savings of 12%. So, on average, we're finding savings of 10-12%. We've learned that ink savings depends on the content of the work. If a lot of the page consists of rasterized color images, you'll save more CMY ink," Hamilton attests.

"GMG has the best color engine in terms of reading and remapping color. GMG InkOptimizer, GMG ColorServer and GMG ColorProof use the same principal to achieve the same thing. There's not another solution that can do what they do; not even close. For us, GMG InkOptimizer is all about making printing better with less spoilage. I only have good words to say about GMG."