A label printer achievesG7 Master Qualification in three daysThe Printing Plant is a family-owned business in Cincinnati, Ohio in the United States that has been in operation since 1979. A narrow-web flexographic printer, The Printing Plant has grown considerably over the years, adding experienced staff and state-of-the-art equipment. The move to G7 qualification was customer-driven and started with The Printing Plant’s digital press. While the company already had Color Certification, more of its customers were searching for and demanding G7-qualified printers. The company decided that becoming G7 qualified for both its digital and flexo presses was an important part of its strategy for maintaining its demanding customers and for future growth.Catherine Haynes, Qualified G7 ExpertBeginning the G7 qualification process
The Printing Plant began the G7 qualification process by working with an individual on its digital press. After the qualification of the digital press was complete, the company started the process for its 10-color flexo press. Unfortunately, The Printing Plant soon realized that the person it was working with did not have the expertise required to manage the process on flexo presses, so the process stopped.
At this point, The Printing Plant turned for help to its plate house, which recommended that The Printing Plant contact All Printing Resource’s (APR) Catherine Haynes, a G7 Expert. The plate house said she was more than qualified to manage the process that would lead to formal qualification as a G7 Master Printer by IDEAlliance.
Shortly after the referral, John Hayden, production project manager for The Printing Plant, met Haynes, who was speaking at an event sponsored by Clemson University. After confirming that Haynes had the expertise to do the job, Hayden retained her to facilitate the implementation of the G7 process and submit documentation and samples to IDEAlliance on the company’s behalf. Haynes started the process by supplying the team with an agenda and helped to build the test form and plan the schedule for the press runs.
The G7 qualification process
The entire G7 qualification process entails defining the goal, running a grey-balance target, measuring and analyzing the target, applying the curves to the file, running the grey-balanced plates, and profiling the process. Haynes noted that the calibration has a two-fold benefit. First, it brings a process into a known state, one that is defined by standards that direct us to a commonly agreed upon state of order. Second, it also helps extend the life of the process, bringing it back to a known state of order—to the specs.
The first phase of the calibration process required linear press runs to benchmark where The Printing Plant was, and then develop the necessary curve adjustments. The second phase involved rerunning the test form with the adjusted curves to validate that the adjustments worked. A third and final run confirmed the results. Both the Jetrion digital press and Roto 10 flexo press were qualified. The entire process took three days to complete.
The Printing Plant was already measuring density and dot gain before the G7 qualification began, and Haynes helped the team understand the difference between measuring grey balance versus watching color. Hayden worked with Haynes during the G7 qualification, helping to measure all of the samples, watching and learning, and then sharing the information with his team. Now, whether he is on site or not, the team can make sure that the process is followed correctly.
Getting a ‘buy-in’ from the press operators was not a major issue. “We had spectrophotometers and densitometers,” Hayden explained, “and they were already doing most of the measurements that are required. No new tools or training were needed, and we made their jobs easier.” Now that the G7 qualification has been successfully completed, The Printing Plant is educated about the process and can continue to apply the grey-balancing process for itself. Future G7 Master qualifications by IDEAlliance, though, will require another submission process through a G7 Expert. At that time The Printing Plant will be calling on Haynes.
“Catherine knew what she was talking about,” said Hayden. “She was professional, easy to work with and explained everything. We understand what is needed and can easily maintain the process. We’re ready for the next customer requiring G7 qualification.”