Boost your Quality with Neopost

Boost your Quality with Neopost

07/10/2016

Why would you need to know about configuring you RIP software or calibrating your printer? Why it is not the responsibility of those who sold you the equipment and installed it for you to ensure every print output is perfect?

Peter Hine, Colour Management Specialist

If it was the simple to create and produce, setting up large format printing garages (and no, we are not referring to cool, converted garages) would be a breeze and everyone would be doing it.

Every day, large format digital printing companies have issues with obtaining consistent results from their equipment and software. They experience banding, grainy print greys that are not neutral and colours that are that change from one media to the next. These large printing companies can spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to achieve closed loop file production, colour management and print production to achieve final output that is correct not only the first time, but every time.

We are not suggesting that you need to spend large amounts of money to be able to achieve acceptable results, but there are certain checks that can be done right now with your rip software and printing equipment that will most certainly improve the quality and consistency of your prints.

Variables affect colour and output quality, so take a look at the basic check list below and see if you can’t make improvements to your output. With these simple checks done and appropriate adjustments made, the 80/20 rule should apply. Some 8 per cent of your output should be right first time, while up to 20 per cent may need minor adjustments.

1. Check that the printer is in good working order and calibrated correctly

  • Print head: Run test print to check for missing nozzles.
  • Alignments: check that colour to colour, bi-directional and all other alignments are exact-close enough is not good enough, particularly when printing at high speeds
  • Media Advance: It must be as exact banding or print lengths that are incorrect may occur.
  • Clean media path: If grit rollers, pinch rollers or platen becomes dirty, media advance can be affected.
     

 2. Specific media profiles for all media and modes used created specifically for each media and each mode

  • Correct individual ink limits for CMYK
  • Correct total ink limits.
  • Specific output ICC for each mode after above correctly done.
  • If you print with generic profiles, your output will not be correct.
     

3. RIP/Control software set up correctly

  • Correct default setup makes repeatability easy.
  • Know what standard you want to print to. This is generally used to match other printing devices.
  • Know how to change set up if necessary and why.
  • RGB/CMYK input target profiles- know which ones to choose.
  • Pantone matching: Extra links O, G, R. Learn how to setup these correctly.
     

4. File Production

  • Know the standard: SWOP, ISO, FOGRA and GRACOL.
  • Resolutions:  How high should the file resolutions be?
  • CMYK vs RGB
  • Embedded or converted profiles
  • Specific workflows for purpose: Is the workflows ICC profiled or not?
     

5. Customer expectations

  • Ensure that a proof has been supplied
  • Ensure that a specific lighting conditions for viewing have been fulfilled
  • Ensure that the sample has been approved by the customer
     

6. A great operator:

  • Understands workflow
  • Knows and understands how to get the best from the printer
  • Knows and understands how to get the best from the printer
  • Knows when to ask for help
  • Is willing to keep learning

Sourced: Australia Printer July 2016