Saving money by using colour management
The costs incurred with Wide format printing can be split up in fixed costs and variable costs, the same as every other business.
Fixed costs are printers, the building etc. These, as the term states, are fixed no matter how many prints will be printed or sold.
Variable costs at the other side influence significantly the cost of every single print and vary also based on the amount of prints or printing jobs. Some of these variable costs are the media used, the ink, the operators’ time, the time the printer is not working due to set up process.
This document shows the possibilities colour management offers to reduce these above mentioned variable costs in particular ink, time (operators’ and printers’) and the media.
Ink is the cost factor which is the most crucial one and were cost saving can be most effective.
Ink saving using olour management is done by optimised GCR. GCR is the abbreviation for gray component replacement. It is a separation technique where black ink is used to replace a portion of the unwanted component in a saturated colour. It also replaces greys made with three colours, with black.
Software that is able to create an ICC Profile with "Ink-Saving" (optimized GCR) is Profile-Xpert Print Pro (free trial at http://www.profile-xpert.com/).
The parameter GCR determines to what degree the black ink is used to replace cyan, magenta and yellow.
This parameter can be defined individually according to operators’ needs. The higher the GCR is set the more ink will be saved.
But the other side of the coin is if the GCR is set too high the print will become flat and without structure. Therefore the right way in the middle has to be found. This depends mainly on the media used and the kind of image printed.
On the illustration above we have separated the image into the 4 channels (CMYK) and measured the ink coverage on one point. We gain an ink saving of total 30% in cyan, magenta and yellow with an increase of 5% black only. This leads to an average ink saving of 25%.
Figures taken from a printing lab using Barbieri Colour Management equipment
25% saving of ink (see calculation above).
Average UV printer consumption: approx. 500 litre / year.
Cost UV ink: approx. A$156/litre which results in yearly expenditures of approx. A$78,000.00 on ink for each printer
By 25% ink saving the yearly gross saving is about A$19,500.00 per printer.
Significant time savings can be accrued due to the immediate right results as well as automatic and fast measurements.
If colour management is applied in the right manner and the whole workflow is done including linearisation of the printer and creation of the ICC profile for the media, the desired colour output will be obtained immediately.
There is visually no difference between these two images even if the image on the right side was be printed with 25% less ink
Thanks to this no multiple sample prints have to be printed in order to come step by step closer to the desired colour appearance which would lead to wasted operator and printer time.
Furthermore the calibration process has to be done only once for each media (as long as the colour output remains stable) and not for each print job.
By means of an automatic measuring device (spectrophotometer), the operator during his/her measurement can work on other tasks and is not occupied by measuring manually.
Money can be saved with media by getting the right results immediately and saving on sample prints. This would also result in less customer complaints.