Which Magazine Printers are the Best Quality Printers? Part 2
In part one of this series, we discussed “DISCIPLINE” as the first “key indicator” that your printer’s quality program is alive and well. In part two, we will discuss the second factor, “TECHNOLOGY.”
Printing (of postcards, magazines, flyers etc.) is a capital intense industry, and the purchase and installation of a new press or finishing line is certainly a cautious undertaking for any printer. However, printers that are still operating equipment without closed-loop-color and register control, have a serious disadvantage when it comes to producing a consistent quality product. Given the variation that is inherent in the printing process – technology matters! If your printer is serious about quality, the following technology is essential:
- 1. Closed Loop Register – Controlling register is a fundamental part to achieving high quality. Register Systems scan the web targets and automatically corrects both circumferential and lateral register errors during the print run. The results for you are faster make-readies and less register variation throughout the run.
- 2. Closed-loop Color – Continual adjustment is required on press to maintain color quality and minimize variation. Closed-loop color systems scan and measure a color bar on the moving web, continually adjusting and controlling ink film thickness. Real-time density readings are compared to SWOP targets for fast ink-key adjustments. The results for you are faster make-readies and less color variation throughout the run.
Obviously, setting color and register manually is “old school,” and in no way compares to the efficiency and accuracy gained from closed-loop technology.
When visiting your prospective printer, ask to see their closed loop technology in operation. (Do they have this technology on all their presses? If not, will your cover and body signatures be printed on the ones that do?) If possible, witness a full make-ready on press and notice how long it takes for the crew to save their first copy – this is a very good gauge to see how well they’re trained and utilizing closed-loop technology.
In Finishing, technology is also available to help maintain consistent quality. For example, it would be a good sign if your prospective printer employs some type of “Automatic Signature Recognition” to help minimize missing or duplicate signatures in the final book. These systems actually take a photo of the signatures being loaded onto a binding line to determine correct positioning and placement in the book.
Obviously, there is much more technology that affects your quality than I can cover in this series, but I want to impress upon you the importance of technology in providing you consistent quality. Make sure your printer is on the leading edge – TECHNOLOGY MATTERS!