This month I would like to look at ink reduction – how to catch a job when the ink limit is too high and how to fix it. All of this comes standard with a Prinect Production Manager. In a past blog I discussed how you can get an ink consumption report from the workflow as well.

Today with many designers are not aware on how to correctly prepare images for printing using UCR and GCR, nor understanding ink coverage for the stock and printing process being used. We can catch and fix this in Preflight and or report it to the customer so they can fix it. Using GCR we can also save money on inks at the press. There are systems dedicated to doing just this task that sometimes cost more than an entire Prinect Production Manager. This also means that the job has to touch many different systems which increases the chance of a change or error in the artwork. Using disparate systems also means there could be multiple copies of the artwork which must be kept track of manually. When it is done in Heidelberg’s workflow it is just done the same as submitting to a proof or plate output. It is safe and tracked inside one ubiquitous workflow.

The first thing we need to configure is the Prepare sequence. I do a more general overview of the Qualify and Prepare Sequence Templates here and in Part 2. The Prepare Sequence does a lot tasks including trapping artwork, and applying a varnish or white among other functions. In this example we are going to focus on the Preflight step and specifically the Colors tab.

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Here we can configure a maximum area coverage for individual elements on a page and the entire page itself. Sometimes it could be just one image on a page and sometimes it could be the entire page that has an issue. These issues will be listed in the preflight report. We set the maximum ink coverage for the printing process we are working with for both. We also set a sampling area and whether we want images checked. In my experience it is usually the images that are the issue, not the vector artwork like a logo though.

 
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When we activate this, like anything in preflight, the severity of how this problem should be reported can also be selected.

 
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A full “error” will cause red X’s to appear over the thumbnail of the pages.

 
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By following the preflight report in Acrobat we can also see exactly what images have the issue. They are marked with a red X. You can click on the problems listed and it will show you which one it is referring to as well.

 
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The great thing is once we catch it, we can fix it. Included with every Production Manger system is the ability to do ink reduction using ICC profiles. Let me reiterate there is no need to buy a third party dedicated system to do this. In the Prepare sequence template under Color Conversion in the Device Colors/Device Link tab we can activate CMYK Images to effect raster artwork and CMYK Graphics to effect vector artwork. Typically, we only activate CMYK Images. We don’t want to touch things like logos that are usually in vector.

 
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Heidelberg also provides a bunch of built in ICC profile presets for various typical ink limits. You can choose one that matches the standard of the printing process you are using. This is also included with the workflow at no extra cost.

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Ink reduction has a number of benefits – faster drying time, saving money on ink usage, saving money on CMY inks and using cheaper black ink for more of things like the shadows. Carrying it out is as easy as dragging and dropping it on a sequence configured for that purpose. There’s no more need to hand check each image as the Preflighter will flag all of the problem objects and images. The ICC profiles are also included at no extra charge as they are included in your Prinect Production Manager Subscription. This subscription even includes a copy of our Color Toolbox so you could build your own profiles for proofing or ink reduction. Prinect Production Manager includes it all!


If you have any questions about this article or would like more information regarding Prinect, contact your local Prinect Representative or fill out the form below.

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    Joe Banich
    Prinect Product Specialist
    Heidelberg Canada