What can expanded gamut do today? That was the driving question behind Forum 2018 session “Expanded Gamut: Where Are We Now?” chaired by Julian Fernandez of Esko and John Rastetter of Pamarco. The one-hour session comprised a joint presentation from John Q Hite of Bryce Corp and Kevin Bourquin of Cyber Graphics.
Kevin began the session with a brief history of EG, following its first use case as a means to deal with pastel colors in the 1960s, to its patenting in 1968. In the 1990s, the real technology was introduced, said Kevin, and Drupa 2004 led to an industry push for wide web, and there was workflow supplier development and large CPC driving.
“Expanded gamut is really about bringing together education, experience and new development in the industry,” Kevin said.
The pair explained that with conventional plates, there is poor solid ink laydown and ink drying on shoulders, which means inconsistency. With flat top dot plates, there is virtual elimination of the bump curve, increased gray levels and wider exposure latitude, which enables plate consistency and especially small dots. In addition, press impression latitude has improved shoulder support and reduced highlight TVI variation, and enhances solid screen impact. A shift toward higher resolution imaging means better edge definition and more round highlights.
During the presentation, the pair showed how to utilize finer-line anilox volumes, high-resolution imaging, micro-texturing to achieve flat top dots, with side-by-side comparisons. The pair also said combination print, which John called “the big kahuna,” is the true economic driver because it reduces makeready.
Typically, combination print reduces costs, waste and setups, he added. They explained ganging jobs reduces minimum quantities, generates capacity and reduces plate cost.
New technologies that will take EG to the next level are consistent plates with LED exposures, plates tuned to energy output, screening that eliminates moiré, carries more detail and smoothness, robust PQM, immediate action and data collection, and inline spectral color management.
When asked about process control during the Q&A session following the presentation, John said it is of utmost importance. “Everything is about data.”
When asked if expanded gamut is more stable, John said the creation of color is the challenge. “The key here is what can you do from a consistency standpoint when it comes to color control,” he said. “Every color is different; you’ve got to be very careful creating the right commitment with your customer about what you’re going to be able to do.”