Interview with Rinus Hoebeke
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Inksaving & Quality
Rinus Hoebeke is Segment Marketing Manager - Newspaper for the EAME Region at Kodak Nederland.
WAN-IFRA: How is your ink saving software integrated into the workflow and at which point?
RINUS HOEBEKE: Kodak ColorFlow Software with the Ink Optimization option uses ISO-standard ICC DeviceLink profiles to carry the information about how to reseparate with ink savings. Easy integration into the Prinergy workflow allows users to implement either early- or late-binding color workflows, applying ink optimization at any time from preflight down to as late as immediately prior to plate output. For users without Prinergy, the open connectivity via ICC profiles allows use of Kodak ColorFlow Ink Optimization in fully ICC-compliant workflows.
WAN-IFRA: What is the principle of function?
R. HOEBEKE: Ink Optimization works using extreme GCR, or gray component replacement. With GCR, amounts of cyan, magenta, and yellow inks which combine to form a gray are replaced instead with an equivalent amount of black ink. As a result, the overall ink volume, as well as usage of the more expensive CMY inks, is reduced. This extreme GCR is applied to CMYK files, reseparating the original CMYK separations while retaining the original color.
In addition, in reseparating CMYK files, care is taken that pure primaries and secondaries are maintained, and that otherwise the overall smoothness and integrity of the original CMYK separations are respected. It is also possible to specify a limit on the total area coverage of any CMYK build, in order to improve printability.
Inside a Kodak Prinergy workflow, the CMYK-to-CMYK reseparation can be applied independently to images and vector artwork.
WAN-IFRA: Can you handle PDFs?
R. HOEBEKE: Yes. Prinergy and Evo were among the first major workflows in the industry to natively handle PDF files. The ColorFlow-based Ink Optimization integrates so seamlessly into the workflow that a prepress operator would hardly notice the difference with Ink Optimization enabled or disabled except by looking at the results.
WAN-IFRA: How large are the potential savings with coloured inks (and on what is this based)? How much more black ink is needed (what is the relationship)?
R. HOEBEKE: For a series of heatset web offset press runs measured at the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) recently, total ink savings of approximately 18-19% (depending on paper) by weight was observed, corresponding to a 24-25% dollar savings when comparing 2 press runs made with and without Ink Optimization. The monetary savings were based on typical industry prices for inks, with CMY inks costing approximately 175% of an equivalent weight of black ink.
In actual application, the exact numbers for ink usage are expected to vary depending on the subject being printed and the aggressiveness of GCR which the user sets up. For example, more relative ink savings are expected if one prints predominately dark subjects, whereas less ink savings will be seen if one prints very light subjects.
WAN-IFRA: How can it be assured that the colour quality in print does not suffer from the ink "optimisation" process?
R. HOEBEKE: See answer below, relevant to points 6 and 7
WAN-IFRA: Would you say that print quality is raised by using your software? If so, for what reasons?
R. HOEBEKE: When using Ink Optimization, it is important to maintain good instrument-based quality control on press. That Ink Optimization results in more stable printing is simultaneously an advantage and a disadvantage. While the color of printing done with Ink Optimization is more stable with normal press process variation, there is also less room to make color adjustments dynamically on press by adjusting ink density. This means that it is important to have ensured that correct color aims were originally set up for the print run.
In addition to improved process tolerance, the reduction in overall ink volume especially in darker subjects can improve shadow detail under some circumstances.
WAN-IFRA: What is the price (and ROI) of your software?
R. HOEBEKE: Prices can vary depending on various configurations and also between regions but is market conforming. Contact your local Kodak representative for details.