Spectral color

A safe approach to effective color matching in large format digital printing

Large format printing company VGL is a technology driven company that needed a more mature and streamlined approach to color. Especially in their retail and transportation businesses, they needed to be sure that colors would be reproduced accurately and consistently over time. That’s why they turned to GMG ColorServer Digital to maintain color consistency across a dozen large format digital cameras as well as an Indigo small format SRA3.

Founded in 1976, VGL has three sites in Reading, where its digital and screen printing operations produce prints for applications including retail, transport, outdoor media and display. GMG software is used at their two digital printing sites at Elgar Road and Smallmead. The initial driver for VGL to install GMG was color control, with VGL managing director Daniel Field referring to GMG as “a brand respected for decades in color”. It soon became apparent to VGL that the software would also make them more efficient, both in terms of time and process waste.

Daniel Field adds: “Consistency over time of brand reproduction is essential for us in all the sectors in which we operate. When you recreate distribution brands, you are the custodian of those brand colors and the ability to produce them accurately over time. and time is still of the essence. With a commercial fleet, you have multiple vehicles that all need to be a uniform color.” VGL has several roll-to-roll machines printing transport vinyl, all of which perform the same jobs on the same materials, making this a priority area for color consistency, other applications being fabrics, dye sublimation and trays using rigid panels.

When reprinting damaged fleet graphics, VGL previously found it more difficult and time consuming to get colors consistent with the original print job. GMG ColorServer not only speeded up the process, it also made the results more consistent, providing complete confidence in producing replacement panels. Indeed, the built-in and accurate calibration function of GMG SmartProfiler allows VGL to quickly and easily recalibrate to a reference condition for stable printing behavior, and to compensate for color drifts for color/white point variations. of the substrate and the different printing modes.

With their retail point-of-sale printing, VGL’s production spans different processes, presses, and most importantly, multiple materials – including cards, plastics, and recycled cardboard. VGL Technical Director Rupert Dadd explains why they needed to manage color and automate the process in this area: “The old way of doing things before GMG was to do test prints for the presses on which you print similar materials and make manual adjustments for each of these machines to align them all. While GMG does all of this work up front, so it doesn’t have to be done for every job. The GMG system is easier to use with fewer steps to create a profile; Traditionally you would lose a machine for significant periods of time, whereas with GMG it’s done quickly. The majority of jobs print the first time within VGL’s Delta E target tolerance of 1, representing substantial savings in time and money.

The use of GMG ColorServer has resulted in significant efficiency gains in prepress for VGL. When changes are made to file input data, GMG ColorServer automatically converts RGB, CMYK, spot color and mixed data for all presses and profiles, without the VGL prepress team n have to manually change the color data. GMG OpenColor’s built-in spectral profiling also provides superior spot color separations and enables accurate prediction and test patterns optimized for enterprise digital printing.

Discussing his collaboration with GMG, Daniel Field summarizes: “From the first conversation to the point of implementation, training and follow-up, it has been an effortless relationship. The GMG team trusted the products and offered them based on the results. Very early on, we knew that GMG was going to completely respect the brief we had provided. »

GMG Sales Manager Paul Williams was the primary contact for VGL’s implementation of the GMG software. He comments: “We discovered VGL because they had been asked to adapt to the FOGRA39 printing conditions. It quickly became clear that they would also benefit from color matching between devices and substrates, and that ColorServer Digital would solve both challenges. It was a pleasure to help VGL achieve their color goals.