Industry first: QuadTech’s ColorTrack™ with InkControl™ software facilitates fast, accurate press-side correction of ink formulations

Simplified color management workflow provides direct connection from customer input to ink recipe creation to press-side correction

Sussex, Wisconsin, USA - 02 June, 2016 - At drupa 2016 (Hall 15, Stand D50), QuadTech is introducing ColorTrack with InkControl, a unique new color management software for flexo and gravure packaging applications. Without any hardware modifications to the press, QuadTech's ColorTrack software seamlessly integrates with ink formulation software to not only simplify workflow, but also dramatically reduce the number of ink corrections needed to achieve accurate, optimal color.

Live demonstrations of ColorTrack will take place on the QuadTech stand daily at 10:30, 12:00, 1:30, 3:00, and 4:30, and also at the stand of press manufacturer KBA-Flexotecnica S.p.A. (Hall 16, Stand C47-1) at 12:45 and 3:15. ColorTrack can also be seen at the stand of press manufacturer Soma Engineering (Hall 15, Stand A01).

ColorTrack Workflow

Color specifications are received from the print customer in the form of data files, color books, digital formulation guides, ink samples, or even printed product samples. The specifications are imported into ColorTrack's Job Setup, and the data is immediately accessible to the ink kitchen and the pressroom. ColorTrack stores and quickly recalls commonly-run jobs, and can seamlessly search for the best color match in the stored recipe-reducing the number of recipe creations.

After a proof is run, a first round of color checks is performed by ColorTrack software. Color measurements can be obtained with traditional handheld instruments, or-for even greater speed and efficiency-on-the-fly with QuadTech's inline Color Measurement System.

The exact recipe correction is calculated automatically, and proprietary "virtual scales" accurately determine the amount of ink remaining in each print unit-without additional hardware installation. Ink formulation software tells the operator precisely how much ink needs to be added. QuadTech's optional InkWeigh feature helps the operator to weigh the exact amount of ink to correct the color. After the recipe correction is added, a second color measurement check is taken.

Rather than multiple press stoppages and trips to the ink kitchen, ColorTrack with InkControl achieves accurate color press-side by calculating the perfect recipe correction. ColorTrack is even able to manage and correct overprints, monitor ink consumption, and calculate the correct mix for even the smallest ink volume. Press-side color measurements can be saved and exported to external systems for quality assurance and color reporting.

Proven results at MM Graphia Bielefeld

One of the first to test-and enthusiastically adopt-the new ColorTrack with InkControl is MM Graphia Bielefeld (MMG). To assess the system's capabilities, the company ran a job for a product that has a particularly difficult color to match. Typically, the color target can be achieved in seven or eight ink recipe corrections. The ColorTrack workflow achieved accuracy below 1.5 ∆E00 in just two recipe corrections.

MMG General Manager, Ulrich Hartmann, comments: "Our operators are impressed. The system is very easy to use and has very high reliability. After ColorTrack with InkControl was installed, our staff was trained and we achieved positive results immediately. We quickly realized that the makeready time was going down and thus waste was also reduced.

"QuadTech is known for its high expertise in color measurement," Mr. Hartmann continued. "The system is of high interest to us, and we wanted to be the first to benefit. Our corporate goals are to increase productivity, reduce waste, and increase print quality. With this system, we expect to reach these goals."

Meeting brand owner expectations

Stephan Doppelhammer, QuadTech Marketing Manager for Packaging, comments: "We know it is becoming increasingly difficult to meet quality and consistency demands of brand owners. With our partner, ColorConsulting, we have developed a ‘color expert in a box' that automates the process of delivering absolute consistency from press-to-press, shift-to-shift, and plant-to-plant. This is the only software solution that offers this level of press-side connection between color measurement and ink management."

ColorTrack is a highly adaptive solution for packaging printers, with a variety of options for handheld and inline configurations.