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Oct 1, 2007 12:00 AM
“People still would like to have a hard copy, from the press operator doing critical color on press to the customer,” says Don Rogers, consumables product manager for Heidelberg USA (Kennesaw, GA). Since inkjet proofing emerged as the preferred method for providing contract proofs in increasingly digital workflows, the technology has developed rapidly. Although Rogers says the industry is reaching a consensus on aqueous UV pigment-based ink for proofing, proofers currently in use run the gamut from dye to pigment and piezo to thermal.
Proofing vendors are striving not only to perfect print head capabilities, press profiling, color management and ink performance, but substrates built specifically for proofing. The latest proofing papers incorporate layers that speed absorption into the sheet and then stop it at a specific point, holding the ink in place. In addition to ensuring image quality, this can help speed drying and extend archival integrity.
The following is a selection of the latest papers available for inkjet proofing. We'll tackle soft proofing in our December issue.
Agfa's (Ridgefield Park, NJ) :AgfaJet Microporous Digital Proofing Base (:AMDP) media is made for use with Agfa's :Sherpa 24m (61 cm, 24 inch) and :Sherpa 44m (112 cm, 44 inch) pigment-based proofing systems, as well as similar Canon and Epson devices. :AMDP is a resin-coated microporous photograde base that provides contract proofing quality with fast drying pigment inks. The durable paper is available in 170 or 240 g/m2, with either glossy or satin finish.
Agfa's :Agfajet Digital Proofing Base, a resin-coated photograde inkjet paper for dye-based systems, is designed for the :Sherpa series of inkjet proofers. The substrate's multilayer structure reportedly provides a new level of printing performance and color accuracy, including accurate reproduction of process and Pantone spot colors. Each layer has a different binder ratio, which multiplies the paper's ability to hold and reflect ink. Enhanced dimensional stability resists curls and buckling even under high ink loads. Available in a Satin or Glossy finish, the paper offers the look and feel of an analog proof base.
Epson's (Long Beach, CA) DuPont Commercial Glossy Proofing Paper features a base color and gloss level designed to match commercial press applications. The glossy white also is used for design concepts, presentations and fine art applications when a high-gloss, bright-white finish is desired. This coated paper reportedly displays instant drying and outstanding short-term stability when used with Epson professional inks. Its medium weight and wide color gamut makes this Epson's preferred paper for commercial proofing.
Fujifilm Graphic Systems USA (Valhalla, NY) offers a complete line of Fujifilm-branded inkjet proofing media. All Fujifilm inkjet medias are compatible with pigment- and dye-based systems (including Epson, HP and Canon). Fujifilm Proofing Medias include:
Color management and proofing solutions developer GMG (Tuebingen, Germany) offers GMG ProofPaper semimatte, a 250 g/m2 paper available in widths of 13, 17, 24, 36, 42 and 44 inches. The semimatte finish reportedly allows shaper dots, which prevents over-inking and blotchy buildup by ensuring the ink is absorbed into the paper optimally. The paper has a very high brightness rating, a neutral white point, no optical brighteners and a homogeneous coating. Other advantages include minimal curling, thanks to three-inch roll cores.
HP (Palo Alto, CA) offers proofing media in high-gloss, semi-gloss and matte finishes for HP Designjet printers using Original HP inks. These papers have been designed to create high-quality, large-format proofs with the look and feel of professional comps.
HP Professional Semi-gloss Contract Proofing Paper is a microporous, instant-dry paper that reportedly delivers an exceptional color range for fast and affordable color-accurate prints, enabling proofers to emulate and predict the outcome of the most demanding offset and gravure printing processes. The 9-mil, 235 g/m2 paper is available in cut sheets and rolls, and new 36- and 42-inch widths are available as of October 2007.
HP Professional High-gloss Contract Proofing Paper is a microporous, quick-dry paper that reportedly delivers exceptional range and color accuracy for generating digitally accurate, low-cost proofs. The 7.5-mil, 200 g/m2 paper has a glossy white finish and is available in cut sheets and rolls.
HP Matte Proofing Paper is a white, matte-finish paper for fast and affordable full-bleed prints, enabling accurate offset emulations. The 7-mil, 146 g/m2 paper is available in cut sheets and rolls, and it offers quick drying for fast and easy proofing.
Heidelberg's Saphira Proofing Paper Premium Semi Matte EZ is a new high-quality proofing paper designed for the latest HP and Epson printers. It has been certified by FOGRA to meet ISO standards for contract proofing. Designed to provide high performance on both thermal and piezo printers, it is compatible with dye and pigment-based aqueous inks, including HP Vivera and Epson Ultrachrome. The 210 g/m2 paper is available in 17-, 24-, 36-, 42- and 44-inch rolls. It is multicoated using nanoporous technology to provide a large color gamut and color stability. According to Rogers, “The ink is absorbed quickly through the top layer and then stops, so it dries quickly.”
Kodak (Rochester, NY) has launched two new Matchprint Inkjet Proofing Media products designed specifically to support both emerging U.S. specifications from IDEAlliance and standard European specifications. Kodak Matchprint Pro Coated SM240P Media, Type 1, meets GRACoL coated type 1 specifications; and Kodak Matchprint Pro Coated SM240P Media, Type 3, meets SWOP coated type 3 specifications. These new papers serve proofing customers who do not want to tint the paper background to meet color specifications, and they join Kodak Matchprint Pro Publication SM245P Media to create a complete family of media designed to provide excellent shadow detail and wide color gamut for high-quality color proofs. The new media is compatible with all current Matchprint inkjet printers, including the new Epson printers, and is available as of October 2007.
LexJet's (Sarasota, FL) Premium Matte Paper bridges the gap between presentation bonds and photo papers with a versatile coating that reportedly ensures high color saturation, superb imaging and brilliant color reproduction. Designed for contract and concept proofing, it can be used for high-impact graphics that require thermal laminating. The coating is engineered for thermal and piezo printer platforms, including HP, Epson and Roland printers as well as dye and pigment ink. It is available in widths from 24 to 60 inches.
Océ (Trumbull, CT) Color Proofing Paper (Océ BC2S32) is a two-sided matte coated, bright white proofing paper designed for imposition proofs, presentation graphics and prepress prints. It features fast dry times, easy lamination, low dot gain and universal ink compatibility.
Océ Pro-Select Proofing Paper (Océ PSPROOF) is a fast-dry, universally compatible proofing paper featuring a color shift stabilizing layer to minimize Delta E shift and create a more stable sheet. The semimatte surface and low optical brightener levels offer a low-gloss sheet for proofing applications.
Xitron (Ann Arbor, MI) X1 TotalProof Media is a high-performance proofing paper engineered for optimal accuracy in commercial printing environments. X1 is a semigloss substrate formulated to closely match a commercial coated stock and to work with Epson Ultrachrome inks. Xitron's profiles are available for the original Epson Ultrachrome proofers (4000, 7600, 9600) and the newer Ultrachrome K3 devices (4800, 7800, 9800). Xitron plans to offer profiles for other popular proofing devices in the future. The paper is available in 17-, 24-, 36- and 44-inch widths, 100 ft. in length.
Diamond Jet papers from Mitsubishi Imaging Inc. (MPM) (Rye, NY) are patented for a unique engineering process designed to enhance the papers' dimensional stability for use in virtually all inkjet printers and proofing devices. The added dimensional stability enables the papers to absorb the heavier ink laydown of wide-format printers.
Diamond Jet GF6 Semi-Gloss Proofing Paper is a 7.4-mil paper with a semigloss coating similar to popular offset printing papers. Compatible with dye-based and pigmented ink sets, it is especially suited to Ultra Chrome inks. GF6 reportedly dries instantly and shows minimal color drift after printing.
Diamond Jet MH1284 Matte Paper is a versatile choice for imposition proofs. A coated matte inkjet media, it is built to deliver excellent resolution, contrast and image quality.
The DJ News line, made with 40 percent recycled fibers and no optical brighteners, is affordably priced for daily use in newspaper printing. NewsProof has the appearance and feel of newsprint and is compatible with both dye-based and pigmented inks. Specially coated for high color saturation and dot control, it features a unique base shade designed to reduce ink costs on contract and press proofs.
Sponsored by LexJet and Epson, the Great Output Seminar is designed to make inkjet printing easier, more efficient and more profitable. Instructor Tom Hauenstein demonstrates his “One and Done” method for streamlining the production of professional-quality prints.
The seminar will cover how to choose and use the best inkjet printer, RIP, color calibration equipment, monitors, software and finishing equipment. Additionally, digital darkroom efficiency is on the agenda, including managing color from capture to print and streamlining production. Commercial print producers will hear about how to keep an inkjet printer running with marketing strategies and various print products.
The one-day seminar is being presented in 16 cities through February 2008. Registration costs $49 and includes lunch, presentation and educational materials, giveaways, media samples, special sponsor discounts and more.
Free ICC profiles for FLEXcon's (Spencer, MA) line of imaging products for wide-format digital printing technologies are available from LexJet (Sarasota, FL) at www.lexjet.com. The profiles were designed and produced to ensure seamless color calibration and ease of use for an endless variety of solvent, low-solvent and UV-curable wide-format printing applications.
“FLEXcon attended to every detail in creating these ICC profiles for 13 of its most popular printable materials that are downloadable from LexJet's Web site,” says Dione Metnick, LexJet product manager. “The profiles address almost every conceivable circumstance, from printer to inkset to the resolution desired based on the specific application requirements.”
Printers profiled for the FLEXcon materials include the HP 9000, Mimaki JV3 160SP, Mimaki JV3 75SPII, Mutoh Falcon II Outdoor, Mutoh Toucan LT, Roland SOLJET SC-545, Roland VersaCamm SP300v and Seiko CP64s.
“There are 661 ICC profile configurations to choose from at LexJet's Web site. FLEXcon and LexJet wanted to ensure that no matter what configuration or workflow our customers are using, they will find a profile optimized for their particular situation and application,” says Michael J. Kelliher, FLEXcon's executive vice president of sales and marketing.
Each profile also is optimized for use with the Flexi, Onyx, Wasatch and Roland VersaWorks RIPs, ensuring a match from RIP to printer to material. The profiles are housed at LexJet's ICC profile page (www.lexjet.com/lexjet/profiles_list.asp), and are easily downloaded.
At the ICC Profiles page, click on “FLEXcon Profiles,” click on the material profile you'd like to download, choose the printer and inkset combination you use, click on the appropriate RIP, then download the profile for the resolution you would prefer.
LexJet and the Dreamscape Division of Roysons, Inc. (Rockaway, NJ), are sponsoring a contest with awards for the “Best Mural” and “Most Unique” application using Dreamscape material by a LexJet customer. Winners in each category will receive a $1,000 store credit at LexJet for Dreamscape materials. The deadline is Oct. 31, 2007.
Dreamscape will judge the murals on overall quality (color and execution), installation (size, complexity, and execution), and image creativity. The “Most Unique” category includes anything from a photographic mural to an advertising graphic, and everything in between. For this category, the judges are looking for uses other than wallcoverings. The design and application must work together and complement the goals of the project.
Entries must be accompanied by at least one 300-dpi image at 4 × 5 inches in either JPEG or TIFF format. Winners will be announced in November 2007. LexJet and Dreamscape customers may send in as many entries as they'd like, but each entry must be sent in with a separate entry form. Entry forms are available from a LexJet account specialist at (800) 453-9538.
At Graph Expo 2007, independent North American graphic arts supplier Pitman Co. (Totowa, NJ) emphasized digital printing, digital proofing, color management and workflow in its booth.
As commercial printers seek to increase their market capabilities, Pitman has positioned itself to offer a comprehensive equipment and consumable product mix to assist those entering the wide-format graphics marketplace. The Pitman booth featured UV, solvent and aqueous inkjet, along with short-run cutting and finishing/laminating.
Offering continued client support through the digital evolution, Pitman distributes products from Agfa, EFI, Epson, GMG, Kodak and Océ, among many others.
Mitsubishi Imaging (MPM), Inc. became the exclusive distributor of the Pictorico brand of inkjet films and papers in North and South America in January 2007. The exclusive distribution became effective with Mitsubishi Paper Mills' (Japan) purchase of Pictorico. Mitsubishi Paper Mills has a majority shareholder stake in Mitsubishi Imaging (MPM), Inc.
“This move is in line with our recently announced strategy to dedicate more of our resources toward inkjet,” said Dr. Hiroshi Tomimasu, president and CEO of Mitsubishi Imaging, “Pictorico's high-quality products will continue to be promoted in the photographic market, and we will also make them available to the other inkjet and graphic arts markets that we serve.”
Pictorico's patented microporous inkjet coating reportedly renders images as sharp and defined as if they were printed on traditional photographic paper.
Denise Kapel is managing editor of AMERICAN PRINTER. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.