“It’s a great feeling when passing for print to have a first or second pull in
your hand and to sign it off with a clear conscience”, “Unfortunately, in
practical experience that things don’t always go so smoothly.
This is primarily due to the lack of complexity in the separations, which
might, for example consist of 4C plus solid spot colours, as well as the
application of current ISO/PSO standards and optical brighteners.
The qualitative comparability of production technologies for the
economically viable production of packaging is important if potential
printing methods are to be interchangeable and for getting it right first
time in ongoing production. This would then allow short, preliminary runs
to be digitally or flexo printed and then the subsequent long run to be flexo
or gravure printing.
This in turn depends on the future requirements for the piece of packaging in question, the printing method
to be used (forme, press), the type of substrate, the ink system as well as the downstream finishing steps.
Given the technical complexity of packaging printing, the specialist expertise of the prepress service provider
and the printer are crucially important.
What does right first time mean?
What precisely does the phrase, “Right first time”, which is being used more and more often in packaging
printing, mean? For the prepress service provider and the plate maker it means guaranteeing a match
between proof and print for every new and repeat job.
For the printer, the proof and print must match and the technical requirements for good printing behaviour
must be met without lengthy makeready times for each job. For the final customer or branded goods
manufacturer (agency), getting it right first time means fulfilling the colour and technical expectations of
the new packaging design from the first proof off the production press, whilst at the same time meeting the
production process deadlines.
Consequently, the conditions for passing for print need to be precisely laid down in advance, which means defining the
viewing conditions for checking the colour of the reference and printed specimen
- (ISO 3664:2009) together with the conditions for their quantitative checking
- (colour measurement: D50/2° observer/MO (M1), density measurement and colour difference formula.
There also needs to be a clear agreement with the customer about which references should be used when passing for
print. On top of which the production printing conditions must also be clearly defined.
What is meant by a printing condition?
These are the set of technical parameters that together form the fingerprint together with an understanding of them:
•Straight or reverse printing
•Type and properties of the forme (including production parameters: RIP, laser and exposure settings, engraving
•Other process specific parameters such as adhesive mounting tape, blanket, anilox rollers and printing pressure.
The “5P rule”
Eva Jüde-Loeffler’s definition of the phrase right first time is that the
first printed specimen from the press perfectly matches the
expectations of the final customer – even in the case of the first print
of a new packaging design.
In order to be sure of getting it right first time when passing for print
on the press it is important to remember the “5P rule”: Perfect
Preparation Prevents Poor Performance.
Besides good technical preparation, what this entails is agreeing with
the customer in advance what the expectations, references and
tolerances are for a first print. The complexity of packaging printing
makes this a difficult task.
Printing conditions and passing for print
The more complex the printing
conditions, the more difficult passing for
1. Simple printing conditions: 4C colour
set + solid spot colour + simple
screened spot colour (SC), purely SC
jobs without superimposed printing
2. Standard printing conditions: 4C
colour set + solid spot colour and
complex screened SC
3. Difficult printing conditions: 4C colour
set + superimposed printing of
screened spot colour
4. Critical printing conditions: Exclusively
superimposed printing of spot colours