In our last blog post, we talked about how process control should never stop in your color management strategy. We explained that it’s just as important to maintain your printer’s profile as it is to maintain the printer itself.
To create and maintain a profile, you must incorporate two things into your process: a measuring instrument and some kind of verification software like our SpotOn! Verify to validate the profile.
But how does that work?
Following The Trend
After you create a profile for your printing device, SpotOn! Verify allows you to measure and validate a control strip printed from your device using the new profile. That measurement is compared to a specified target such as GRACoL® 2013. By comparing the profile to a target, we can verify the accuracy of the calibration and ICC profile.
Another thing that verification software can do is save these measurements so users can track the performance of their devices over time. If you notice that your color is starting to drift, you don’t necessarily have to re-profile your printing device. Instead, you can print the chart, measure it and again compare it against your target. If it’s drifted too far away from that target, then you might consider re-profiling the printer.
The Answer Is In Consistent Reporting
SpotOn! can also show you how your most recent measurement compares to previous measurements through trend reports. Showing the trend of the printer’s performance over time can help in the overall maintenance of the printing device and help you decide when it’s time to re-calibrate and/or re-profile.
Measuring printer consistency should be developed into a daily routine. The more frequently you measure, the easier it is to understand the behavior of your printing devices and track their consistency over time.
In this way, you are actually taking control and managing your devices rather than being surprised that what you printed last month doesn’t look the same today. You can’t manage anything if you aren’t taking measurements and evaluating the results.
I like to use driving your car as an easy to understand analogy. Keeping your car in its lane is like keeping your printing devices printing consistently.
When customers ask how frequently they should measure their printing device’s consistency, I ask them how long they can close their eyes while driving down the road. I know that’s a bit extreme; but the concept is still the same.
If you want to stay on the road, you have to pay attention to where the car is at all times. If you want your printing devices to print consistently, you have to pay attention (take measurements and analyze the results) on a regular basis. Maybe you don’t have to do this as frequently as you do driving a car, but at least daily should be a bare minimum.
You have to decide how long you want to go without knowing if your devices are printing consistently. Define the frequency and make it a shop policy.