Why PrintFactory talked to the industry experts to develop their software for textile printing.
100% Color Accuracy for Textile Producers?
Textile producers have long believed that 100% color accuracy is an unachievable ambition if they’re working with satellite production facilities. PrintFactory’s team has debunked this myth once and for all.
ACHIEVING NEW LEVELS OF CONSISTENCY
Simon Landau, Director (Americas): “We’d been told many times, textile producers all over the world accept some color reproduction challenges are just insurmountable in their line of work. Even the largest home textile and apparel suppliers have given up on getting satellite production partners to color match conventional Rotogravure or Inkjet proofing outputs exactly. If you ask them, textile printers describe it as a technical nightmare. So, we engineered our software to deliver a technical solution.”
PrintFactory sent a team overseas to work on-site with a client. The manufacturer had been convinced that the impossible couldn’t be achieved. In-house, the business was using a Durst Alpha 330 and an EFI Regianni Top 340. Two different RIP software packages were also in play.
Simon takes up the story: “Whether it’s for fashion or home-furnishings, the expectations for high quality color reproduction has increased over the years and the end client’s critical review of color quality has become far more refined. To address that and make those color corrections ‘to the nth degree’, our software takes things back to basics. We provided two new workflows for the digital process. First, an RGB proof-match workflow (providing an exact match to an Epson-generated proof on a matt substrate), which reflected conventional production. And then second, a separated workflow using the pattern files from the existing conventional process – but re-separated specifically for digital.
“These separations were colorized in our software’s Editor module, which meant the operators could validate exact color matches on the screen and the inkjet proofer before sending each job to print – saving hundreds of metres of expensive textile base, and costly quantities of ink.”
“Our spot measure tool digitised the existing, conventionally-printed color chips. This took less than 13 seconds per sample – this massively reduced the time taken in the measuring and saving of around 700 samples individually, taking just over 2.5 hours. As you can imagine, over time and with only an average of around 10 or 11 separations per job, this quick measure workflow allows a perfect match and makes a huge difference to the output capacity of production facilities like this, right around the world, where “sampling” has a regular and huge impact on production and waste”
AN INDUSTRY IN GLOBAL GROWTH
Textiles and clothing play a large role in European manufacturing, producing a turnover of EUR 166 billion – and this EU aspect is important.
Here in the UK, textile manufacturing is on the up even if we’re not making as much fabric as we used to. Over 30% of UK textile manufacturers are exporting more than they were in 2016, and the appetite for disruptive, sustainably-made, functionally-fit and yet efficiently produced textiles is growing. As we approach a period of instability and uncertainty – every manufacturer will be looking to establish more confidence and stronger relationships with their supply chains, and much, much lower levels of wastage. Material efficiency is key.
“In all,” says Simon, “we were on site for four days. But this is nothing to the many, many man hours and 1000s of square meters of material and associated ink that have been wasted, trying to achieve the same outcome – time after time, with little or no success. It took us no time at all to generate a 38,880-patch atlas, each with its own ID reference and zero delta E. This tool, on its own, has immense value to the production facilities clients. It’s something that can be supplied to any client, anywhere, to pick any color for their design – safe in the knowledge that their designed colorway, will then be an exact match on the printer as long, as the PMMs (Profile, Media & Mode) are kept re-calibrated with PrintFactory’s powerful, yet easy to use, iterative procedure.”
That Device Ink Color Book Creator is an integrated part of PrintFactory’s Calibrator module. Easy to use, it automatically generates a colour atlas that’s based on the printer’s pure inks, and with adjustable parameters such as %steps and Saturation and Black steps.
This noted textile producer had been looking for a way to improve this part of the production process for years. Peers have said it cannot be done – not to this high level of quality – but we exceeded expectations all round, including those of the printer’s manufacturer.
Simon concludes: “When it comes to accurate color reproduction, we’re more than confident that PrintFactory can deliver. It’s not a negative reflection on the print manufacturers or their dealers at all, but this is a powerful example of why the “default solution” is definitely not always the best one – particularly for textile producers of this calibre who’d like to deliver the best, possible results for their end customers.”