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IDEAlliance Announces New SWOP Proofing Programs Driving Quality Proofing through Industry Oversight

Press release from the issuing company

Proofing Summit, New York, NY. March 5, 2007 ─ IDEAlliance today announced the launch of two new industry programs to assure proofing quality. Meeting Industry Expectations Proofing technologies and industry practices have made significant advances over the past two years. The feasibility of proofing-to-the-numbers is a reality. And along with proofing-to-the-numbers comes the requirement to tighten tolerances to assure a closer visual match from proof to press. And other factors such as agencies routinely proofing on brighter paper stocks and the predicted shift to virtual proofing workflows have had an impact on proofing quality even more. Research to Advance the Industry As part of IDEAlliance’s commitment to drive the ongoing improvement of proofing, its Print Properties Committee initiated a series of research and development efforts to provide a scientific basis for modernizing its Proofing Systems Certification Program. By fall 2006, new characterization data sets that take into account actual G7 printing conditions for web offset presses and sheetfed offset presses were finalized for SWOP and GRACoL. These characterization data sets are now being advanced through CGATS as TR003 and TR005 for SWOP and TR006 for GRACoL and will serve as the new basis for printing and proofing “to the numbers.” In addition, research projects conducted with the Rochester Institute of Technology Printing Applications Laboratory have recently led to the development of the first “to the numbers” proofing systems certification program for SWOP. David Steinhardt, CEO of IDEAlliance, shares his vision for what is on the horizon, “The new numbers-based proofing systems certification program is a good first step toward assuring quality proofing. IDEAlliance is now ready to go beyond certifying the tools used to produce proofs and plans to confirm the capabilities of proof providers and eventually the quality of individual proofs, themselves. The new programs to support these efforts are the SWOP Proof Providers Qualification and the new online SWOP Proof Registration service.” SWOP Proof Providers Program While it is important to certify proofing systems to confirm that a given vendor’s proofing system has the ability to match the numbers within exacting tolerances that assure a close visual match, it is also important to confirm that those producing proofs have the knowledge and ability to create a quality proof. This is a completely new program within our industry and provides the second ingredient required to assure quality proofing. While the technical foundation for establishing this program is in place at RIT, the missing ingredient is the determination of what tolerances define a quality proof. Working with RIT’s laboratory, IDEAlliance is funding a scientific research project to develop a specification for acceptable tolerances for quality proofs. This project will be based on proofs generated once a week for a 5 week period by participating proof providers from New York, Chicago, Detroit, Los Angles and Dallas as well as from Latin America, Europe and Asia. Tracking performance over time and across differing climates will assure that the results are statistically valid. Data from this research will be presented to the IDEAlliance Print Properties Working Group and tolerances for proof quality will be developed by early summer. Announcing SWOP Registered Proofs Of course, the ultimate goal for the IDEAlliance SWOP Committee is to have the quality of each individual proof confirmed. With the Internet, the technical infrastructure is in place to launch such a program. But the missing ingredients include the development of a universal proofing color bar that everyone can use and a determination of the tolerances that define the quality expected of a SWOP Proof. To develop these building blocks will take time for scientific research and to achieve industry consensus. But in the meanwhile IDEAlliance intends to launch a new proof registration service that will act as metrologically-based industry intermediary between those purchasing proofs and those delivering proofs. The new SWOP Registered Proof program is enabled by a new module of IDEAlink software called IDEAlink Verify. IDEAlink software is distributed by IDEAlliance, designed by Don Hutcheson, chair of GRACoL, and powered by CHROMiX. The first IDEAlink module, Curve, automated the implementation of IDEAlliance’s G7 calibration process for presses and proofing devices. The new Verify module enables proof providers to specify any control bar for their proofs. When the target is measured, Verify compares and reports the measurements to the intended aims for that target. Verify also automates the online registration of the proof measurements and provides a bar code identifier for each proof. The party purchasing proofs can go online, enter the bar code of the SWOP Registered Proof and view the deltas between the intended aims and the measurements of proof being provided. Initially proofs will simply be registered and tolerances provided by the service. In the future, when tolerances for proof quality have been established across the industry, certification on a proof-by-proof basis will be provided by the SWOP Registered Proof program.