In addition to the most accurate color reproduction, many packaging printers nowadays want proofs to be closer to the properties of the final printing product in terms of touch. This additional dimension makes assessing a proof much easier – important decisions can be made much better and well before print production.
The purpose of a color-binding proof has always been to simulate the final print result as precisely as possible in the run-up to production. On the one hand, to enable color corrections at pre-press stage and reduce make-ready times on press. But also, to simulate the final print result early in the process, allowing all stakeholders to make important decisions before a job goes on press.
In packaging production, this is not just limited to color. The special properties of the substrates – especially their feel – also play an important role in the assessment. Additionally, there are various print finishing methods to consider, and some customers even want the three-dimensional look and feel of a real 3D prototype. No wonder that the desire for color-binding proofs on the original substrate, or correspondingly similar printing materials, is growing in packaging printing.
In practice, however, proofs for packaging printing are currently mainly created on paper-like substrates. If a design is to be simulated on a material other than paper, there is the option of using UV inkjet systems or the more widespread, water-based inkjet printers. Unfortunately, the color spaces of the UV inkjets are severely limited, and their ozone emissions make their operation quite complex. The alternative water-based printers offer a limited substrate choice. In addition, the print quality of these devices on transparent foil is not acceptable for many users. Plus, drying times for non-absorbent substrates are usually much too long. Eco-solvent inkjets, however, offer a convincing middle ground. The effort involved in operating these systems is comparatively low, and the range of suitable substrates is much greater than with water-based inkjets. Another advantage: white and metallic inks can also be used.
One system - many options
The color experts at GMG know the advantages and disadvantages of different printers and use eco-solvent technology for prototype proofing with the Epson SureColor SC-S80600.
Jens Zehnder, print engineer at GMG, is convinced that flexibility is key in prototype proofing: “Even if the original substrate cannot be used for proofing due to certain surface properties, our solution offers the option of using transfer foils. These are laminated onto the desired material after printing. Even complex challenges, such as reproducing metallic colors, can be achieved because metalized foils avoid the difficulties that metallic pigments present. “
If, in addition to the traditional color proof, you also require a color-accurate finished 3D prototype, the choice of the substrate with its print finishing properties is an important consideration.
GMG’s substrate portfolio is pretty extensive: from shrink foils for shrink sleeves and cardboards for folding boxes to various self-adhesive foils for corresponding label designs. GMG guarantees customers who have previously only used paper proofs a smooth extension to prototype proofing. It is no secret among professional users that a GMG proof stands for maximum color reliability. And the new variety of substrates make the reliable solution from GMG an unbeatable choice.
More than accurate color – realistic feel opens up a new dimension of proofing
Prototype proofing is a massive step towards an even more precise prediction of the end product, especially for the packaging industry. Now, it is possible to produce a realistic simulation – either in form of a flat proof or a finished 3D prototype – to assess early on exactly what the printed packaging will look like. The added value lies in the reliability and efficiency of the coordination process: print approvals are shortened, surprises are avoided.
See for yourself with a free sample and learn even more about prototype proofing from GMG here.