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What type of printers would benefit from SpotOn software?
Anyone who prints in any form can benefit from SpotOn if they desire to print predictable and consistent color.
Who in our shop can use it?
Management, order entry, customer service, job planning, quality control, prepress, press/printer operators, and anyone else who has a need to manage color or track performance.
What does it do?
SpotOn is a process control software product that helps anyone who desires to print repeatable, consistent color. It allows the user to track the consistency of printing devices and warn when those devices have deviated from a set standard. It also helps during the calibration process when setting those standards.
Using SpotOn can:
- Reduce the cost and time it takes to calibrate a printing device to a reference print condition or standard
- Reduce make-ready time to get to an OK press sheet
- Reduce the time it takes to get spot colors within tolerance
- Reduce on-going cost and increase customer satisfaction by providing a means to quickly evaluate print specification compliance
- Reduce long term costs associated with maintenance by tracking and reporting print performance over time
What is it used for?
- Calibrate Press Gamut to ISO12647
Assist press operators in calibrating their press to ISO12647 based print specifications. (FOGRA/GRACoL/SWOP)
Why do this?
The solid ink behavior of a press has a huge impact on the press’ gamut and color behavior. ISO12647 based print specifications require that the reproduction of Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Black—as well as the reproduction of Red, Green, and Blue solid overprints—each be reproduced with a specific CIELAB color. Spot-On! helps the press operator determine the correct ink densities required to attain these specific solid and overprint ink CIELAB colors defined in the ISO 12647 standard.
- Track and report on-going press performance
Provide graphical feedback of long-term press performance to better understand press variability and its impact on quality and compliance.
Why do this?
There are hundreds of variables on press that influence color. By tracking press color performance, businesses can better understand the stability of these variables and take the appropriate measures to maintain the print consistency that their customers demand. Using SpotOn, printers can chart visual print metrics (color and gray balance) performance against mechanical print metrics (density and dot-gain). Having this information in hand, printers can better detect the source of their press variability and plan maintenance cycles and make educated consumable purchase decisions accordingly.
What are the system requirements?
- Mac OSX 10.10.5 or higher
- Windows 7 SP1 or higher
- X-Rite i1Pro and i1Pro 2
- X-Rite eXact (Windows and Spot Mode only)
- Techkon SpectroDens (Windows only)
- Konica-Minolta FD-5 and FD-7 (Windows and Spot Mode only)
- ISO-12647 compliant inks
- ISO-12647 compliant paper stock
- SpotOn compatible color bar on press sheets
What if I am not doing G7® – can I still use SpotOn?
Yes, you can still use SpotOn. SpotOn can track printing device changes over time to help assess print consistency, so you know when the devices have drifted, and color is starting to change. You can use SpotOn to create reference print conditions for your printing devices and track those devices to that custom reference.
Do I have to use only the supported instruments?
In the cuNo. Any instrument that uses software and can save measurements in CGATS format can be used, as SpotOn can import CGATS formatted measurement data.
Why can’t I keep my press in tolerance?
Many variables affect how a press prints. SpotOn is tracking performance of ink on paper. Paper alone can be one of the biggest variables, affecting print performance dramatically. The temperature and humidity also play a significant role. These are a few variables that you have very little control over that can affect printing in many ways. The goal isn’t to be perfect all the time – I don’t think that is possible – but if you print to a target and strive to hit that target, the average of all your jobs will be within specification. You can’t pick just one press sheet and determine whether or not the press was printing to specification. Presses require averaged data over the entire run to determine how close to specification the job ran.
Can I run the SpotOn Control Strip horizontally?
If you are using a scanning device to monitor ink key settings across the sheet you can probably get away with running one or two bars across the sheet. If you are using a hand-held measurement device, I would advise against running the control strip horizontally. The strip needs to be printed with consistent inking, and to achieve this, requires the strip use as few ink zones as possible.
What about other printing process besides offset?
SpotOn can be used to manage print conditions using any printing process, whether it be flexo gravure, silkscreen, digital, or inkjet. Flexo, gravure, and silkscreen can be used almost exactly like offset. Digital and inkjet are more about evaluating and managing the calibration process, since these processes are usually controlled via a RIP using ICC profiles.
There is no way to make color changes during a production run like the more mechanical offset, flexo, gravure and silkscreen processes. So SpotOn gets used in digital and inkjet as a calibration assessment tool to determine how accurate the calibration is. SpotOn is then used to track print variation over time and when the printing gets too far out, you start all over by going through the calibration process again.