BENEFIT FROM SIMPLICITY Automated color processing system for flexo printing
BENEFIT FROM SIMPLICITY
2.0 Wide selection of flat colors Unlimited grouping of packages Reduced press setup times
Less plates and ink stocks Consistent replication of printed colors Respect for the environment Powered by
4FLEX速 is a registered trademark. All rights reserved.
Simple effective innovative Traditional flexo method Black / Cyan / Magenta / Yellow
What is the 4FLEX® System? The 4FLEX® system brings to flexible packaging a concept already widely used in other non-packaging printing systems like offset, trying to print everything only with CMYK. This simple approach was never widely adopted in the flexible packaging industry due to practical and technical limitations that 4FLEX® has finally surpassed, bringing to the normal converter the possibility to print a big part of its production with four colors CMYK. Even in the few cases when it is necessary to add one extra special (Pantone®) ink due to gamut limitations, the total number of inks required for the job is reduced anyway. This approach impacts on the whole converting process, simplifying and speeding up everything, from ink and plate stocks to job changes on the press, and the printing process. The complexity and the problems of color management during the printing process go from the press plant to the prepress room and there they are easily managed by the 4FLEX® 2.0 software. The 4FLEX® approach of printing everything in CMYK is reality today and is undoubtedly THE system of the future for flexible packaging. User-friendly, easy and practical, simple and more ecological, it will allow flexogrphy to be more competitive in an aggressive global market, where cutting costs and saving time and effort are the main keys to success in the years to come.
Main features of the 4FLEX 2.0 Software ®
1- Runs on Mac OS X, powered by X-Rite® color transformation engines, and uses two included X-Rite®'s spectrophotometers for both testchart and spot measurements. 2- Multipage PDF input file format compatible with most mayor prepress software like ArtPro® or any other software with drivers for separated output. 3- All internal file transformation processes in 16 bits per channel for accuracy maximization 4- Output TIFF file in high resolution CMYK 16 bits (8 bits also available). 5- Special proprietary 4FLEX® Press Profiles .fpp and testcharts for high accuracy internal color transformation processes. 6- Export of propriety .fpp profiles as standard .icc profiles for external use in soft and hard color proofing (Monitor and Proofer calibration). 7- Internal database section allowing to keep track and manage all your customers, substrates, converters, plants,
presses, color profiles, inks, etc., maintaining the workflow as free as possible from human errors. 8- Easy-to-use intelligent step-by-step wizard-type interface with online help, without the need to train the prepress operators as color experts. Only the initial installation and settings are done by technical personnel. 9- Database section introducing an innovative concept of "structure" in the management of substrates, which allows a more realistic approach to the final printed results desired. 10- Works with an enhanced gamut, even with standard CMYK inks. 11- Works together with X-Rite®'s ProfileMaker 5 software suite (in bundle with 4FLEX®) for basic profiling, testchart measurement, gamut analysis, etc. 12- Compatible with Dupont® Digital-Cromalin and any color proofing device capable of using standard .icc profiles for color calibration.
Spot color module and database
The Database allows to easily and automatically handle all the complex technical information involved in the printing process. Also, it manages the automated workflow for the conversion of the PDF multicolor input file to the transformed CMYK output file. This technical information is customizable but it typically includes the following items: converter, plant and press, ink brand code and type, substrate type and code, color profile, halftones and flexo curves, reading and printing side, press speed, inks-on-press temperatures, densities, dilution and viscosity, etc. At the end of the process the software renders an html document with all the technical data in order to correctly make plates, proof and print each job in accordance with the original conditions of the fingerprint. It allows less human errors when managing several structures, customers and ink lines for different substrates, etc. Both the Database and Install & Calibrate sections are accessed only by customer's technical personnel, since the tasks involved are only performed occasionally, when a new structure, converter, press, etc. is added. Additionally, the 4FLEX® Database section incorporates the innovative concept of "structure" in the management of substrates, which allows a more realistic approach to the final print results desired,
Spot Color Module (SC)
since it works with the whole sum of all the job’s laminated layers, including inks, plastics, adhesives, backgrounds, etc., as shown in the picture above. The SC module is in charge of the automatic transformation of the Spot Colors present in the input file, xusing an X-Rite® EyeOne® spectrophotometer and/or internal Pantone® libraries and/or any color manually chosen, in order to adequately identify the real color to be transformed, either for a completely new job or when it has to be matched with a previously printed standard. The 4FLEX® testchart works together with this module as a complete full color reference chart, printed in the actual structure of the final job in order to visually confirm the real color to be transformed. This exclusive 4FLEX® system (USA patent 20050099641) allows a visual cross comparison with the Delta E values obtained, which is essential for the success of the transformation, due to the particular visual effects produced by the use of different laminated substrates in the packaging industry (pearl, translucent, metalized, etc.) This module also features a customizable easy-to-use "traffic light" indicator for the management of optimal and acceptable Delta E values, depending on the customer inks' gamut and quality requirements.
Delta E & gamut
Maximum Delta E2000 accepted <2 <3 <4 <5
Percentage of Pantone colors reproduced 25% 40% 50% 70%
Pantone® Reproduction Table
Since 4FLEX® is mainly a color management system, the actual number of Pantone® colors that can be reproduced within a given Delta E value depends mostly on the converter's inks and press conditions. Even when 4FLEX® uses a proprietary system to enhance the normal gamut of any standard CMYK inks, a really big difference in the gamut and thus the number of Pantone® inks reproduced can only be achieved by using CMYK inks with different (non-standard) Lab values. In the picture above there are examples of a standard Euroscale gamut, 4FLEX®'s enhanced gamut using standard inks and super-enhanced gamut using non-standard inks. In this picture three spot (Pantone®) colors A, B and C can clearly be seen. While A cannot be precisely reproduced by a normal Euroscale gamut, it can be reproduced exactly by 4FLEX®'s enhanced gamut using standard CMYK inks. B cannot be reproduced precisely by 4FLEX®'s enhanced gamut using standard CMYK inks, but it can be reproduced
exactly by 4FLEX®'s super-enhanced gamut using non-standard CMYK inks. The color C on the other hand cannot be reproduced precisely in any case, but the most similar color achievable is closer than normal in 4FLEX®'s enhanced gamut and even more so in 4FLEX®'s superenhanced gamut. A good starting guide about Delta E values for CMYK color reproduction is the X-Rite® standard of Delta E 2000 >5 for a "bad result" alert, but a lot depends on substrate type, saturation, hue and brightness of the color, importance of the color in the job, customer and market expectations, etc. As it was said before, the gamut depends on the customer's inks and printing conditions but it is possible, anyway, to have an approximate calculation of the percentage of colors corresponding to the total of the 1124 Pantone® chart colors, that can be reproduced with standard CMYK inks for a given Delta E 2000 maximum tolerance (see table above).
SETUP time Minutes
Unrestricted grouping of different packs
1- No need to change the press ink systems (containers, pumps, etc), which remain stable almost permanently. 2- Important plate stock and space reduction 3- No pre-mixed inks remains, with drastic reduction of prepared inks stock and space in the plant. 4- Possibility of almost unrestricted grouping of different packages in the same print job, according to specific customer requirements. Thus, the system offers totally new options for planning new marketing strategies. 5- Unlimited selection of flat colors in the package design versus a very limited quantity available traditionally. 6- Press setup times can be reduced from approximately 3 hours traditionally to less than 60 minutes with 4FLEX速, considerably increasing the conversion plant卒s productivity. 7- Great color repeatability and consistency over time, even in different runs, due to the standardization of the printing conditions and the absence of pre-mixed inks.
Press setup time reduction
8- Notoriously reduced error margins in color and tone selection, even at the moment of the package design, through the use of a color chart printed on the real substrates of the final package. 9- Digital color chart versions, providing a powerful tool for the designers. 10- Enhanced gamut benefit. The need to use special inks on the press is reduced to about 30% of the jobs and even to less than 20%, applying special super-enhanced gamut inks. These numbers can even be smaller according to the Delta E tolerances agreed upon with the customer. 11- In addition, super-enhanced inks result in more vivid images and colors, which makes the package more attractive from the sales perspective as compared to traditional methods. General time reduction of all the conversion processes, offering delivery terms more adjusted to the specific needs of each client. 12- The 4FLEX速 system allows the installation of a conversion plant with substantially lower initial costs than in traditional flexography.
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