Excessive total area coverage (TAC) for deep blacks could be costing the global print industry hundreds of million of Euros, according to the results of a study by the Flemish Innovation Centre for Graphic Communication (VIGC). The long-held belief in the industry is that the TAC should be between 320% and 360%, but the VIGC investigation revealed that 260%, or even 220%, is more than adequate, as long as the conversion is carried out with the correct profiles.
Eddy Hagen, director of the VIGC, comments on the study: "We wanted to find out how low you can go in terms of maximum ink coverage before you see an unacceptable difference. The final result was amazing. The old truth – that you need between 320% and 360% TAC – is not borne out, provided you convert colours correctly."
According to Hagen, the possible savings are huge: "The cost of ink represents around 2% to 5% of the cost of the printed material. So imagine that if on the basis of this investigation a company can reduce its ink consumption by 10%, we’re talking about saving more than 6 million to 15 million Euros here in Belgium alone. And when you apply this on a global level, the figures are even more impressive. The turnover of the print industry worldwide is estimated at more than 400 billion Euros, so if you apply the lower TAC principle on this level, the savings equates to more than a billion Euros. Plus being more economical with basic materials in this way would contribute to more sustainable production and would be better for the environment."