Spot Meets Dot (Halftone Proofing)
Improved spot color capabilities render digital halftone proofing a viable choice for package printers.
by Jessica Millward, Associate Editor
The brand-heralding nature of today's packaging mandates the use of signature colors and spot-color savvy in its proofers. Historically, this has been the rub in digital halftone technology's relationship with package printing. But with a new supplier commitment to R&D for the packaging market, halftone proofing's presence is definitely on the rise.
In with insiders
Suppliers in general report a greater percentage of sales to tradeshops than printers. CreoScitex Marketing Director, Digital Proofing Mark Vanover notes his company's sales split "[is] somewhat dominated by sales to tradeshops and prepress providers." Likewise, at Kodak Polychrome Graphics, Product Manager Ken Theodos states over 90 percent of systems sold into packaging applications are made to prepress providers.
Why the gap? Perhaps printers have held fast to the one non-packaging-friendly trait of earlier models. As Don Schroeder, senior product development manager, color proofing, Fuji Graphic Systems Division, relates, "Reservations have been based on the device's inability to accurately simulate or create PMS spot colors."
With an invigorated interest in the packaging sector, suppliers are actively seeking to rectify that problem. Fuji, according to Schroeder, has been actively pursuing the packaging market for the last year or two, and has already inked a deal with Pantone to produce color libraries for its FINALPROOF halftone device, enabling Pantone-certified PMS builds.
CreoScitex confronts spot colors with its Color Combiner software package within the Prinergy DFE workflow. Vanover asserts the software, when used with the Proofsetter Spectrum, represents special colors through the creation of AM screens with FM spots. This technology, he maintains, "allows the user to better represent spot colors while preserving the integrity of screen angles and trapping information."
For the Approval XP System, Kodak launched Recipe Color technology at drupa 2000. (See below.) This software can define and create millions of spot colors, without the need for extra donors in inventory.