Right from conceptualization of design up to making printing tools and printing itself, automated systems are becoming increasingly important tools for appropriate quality monitoring and controlling of the packaging process.
Some eighteen years back in the days of film, it may have been the primary responsibility of the prepress supplier or printer to make sure the final results were accurate and optimal, in the days of digital file exchange; it’s a whole new ballgame. It’s no longer only prepress and print suppliers who have to accept accountability. These days, more than ever, the print buyer and digital file creator assume just as much responsibility as their manufacturing partners for quality control of direct PDF printing and more.
In the past few years, printers have noted that their customers are certainly becoming more adept at preparing digital files, but still most of them including both native application and PDF files, are flawed in some way. Bad files are being passed around – poorly prepared documents that cost the print buyers both time and money to remedy. While PDF has been lauded as the print industry savior, remember this: If flaws are resident are in the native application, they will remain in the PDF, as well. Simply taking your native application to a PDF and direct PDF printing does not ensure that these problems will be remedied.
We as a printer, with fifty years of prepress knowledge and experience in our bag do not stop at printing direct PDF only, unless we indulge in manipulating and sometimes alter the file in any number of ways. We will apply trapping, make textual changes to the document on the customer’s behalf or RIP the file to the type of file format we need to drive our own proofing and CtP or Printing tools. If the original native application file sent from the print buyer to us is flawless – if all the elements are in place, fonts are embedded, graphics are all CMYK and resolution is high – this workflow should be relatively seamless, and the file will move through each of the stages without setbacks. However this happens seldom.
Various software handles quality assurance when installed on finishing equipments and drives the cost of quality down when handling process control by ensuring register control, eliminating faults, and inspecting die cutting and matrix removal for narrow web label printing industry. On the other hand our offline automatic high speed inspection machine does check hundred percent the offset printed die cut blanks and gives an extra comfort level to the print buyer. Similarly our hundred percent offline inspection of printed labels ensures the customer a flawless label finally getting pasted around the bottles they fill in at a very high speed machines. This helps brand owners in getting their packaging printed, checked and delivered to them without any flaw and help them in protecting their brand identity.
Today at Gulf Scan, when we are not only involved in prepress and tool making but printing as well, so our scope of applying quality measurements and assurance does not get limited to only preflight and post-flight but goes beyond, that ensures the print buyers and their manufacturing partners a clarity about where and when in the workflow quality control is taking place. It is the extension of a shared value we had been practicing for the past fifty years to the printing process as well.
Packaging development is a process. Every step involved in development of package is important to the final industrial production, so maintaining the consistent quality standards at every level as a shared value shall only help brand owners building their brand strongly.