Making a good match
Giacomo Gobbo of Grafcoast explains how the Grafco Color Reader system delivers easy, intuitive and inexpensive colour management.
The Grafco Color Reader (GCR) system is an intuitive and portable colour management tool for those working in the pre-press and printing world, as well as quality control managers. The system consists of three interacting elements:
- The color reader measuring instrument
- The GCR app
- The Grafco Color System (GCS) formula database
The GCR is not a spectrophotometer. Colour readers measure the light reflected or transmitted by an object and transmit the data to a computer that calculates the X, Y and Z values that represent red, green and blue respectively. In this instance, the reader measures the L.A.B. values where it is placed.
Once the app is connected to the reader, it processes the data and shows readings on a mobile device (Android tablet or smartphone). The reader gives the best measurements on flat surfaces. If the surface isn’t flat, the measuring will lack accuracy.
The formula database contains Grafco’s huge online store of colour recipes that reproduces the most used colour collections: at present, this consists of 65,000 formulations
The color reader is cheaper than a spectrophotometer, with a high level of accuracy but not quite as precise as a spectrophotometer. The Grafco app is integrated with the reader and provides a system that makes colour communication and reproduction easier and sharable. The formula database contains Grafco’s huge online store of colour recipes that reproduces the most used colour collections: at present, this consists of 65,000 formulations, ensuring good matching of whichever colour is picked up by the reader. It is keenly priced too: the GCR system allows easy colour formulation with a cost of under 800 euros.
The GCR allows users to save any colour into a personal palette. Users can name and save their own colours by dividing them into folders, which can be named according to their needs: customer name, reading date and so on.
Once the colour is stored in a folder in the palette, you can select it as a master (reference) colour and you begin to undertake easy and fast quality control of your production. After selecting the colour, you can check Grafco’s formula to get the same shade. Thanks to the connection between the app and the database, the formulas are being regularly updated.
This simple quality control can be customised according to the colour that you have to analyse. You can change the tolerance (the ΔE) of your control depending on the tonality of the colour or on the precision that you want for your production. You can see a tutorial here.
Following the recipe
Analysed colours are compared with the colour database and “best matches” found. Once you choose the best match you can easily obtain the recipe on the GCS recipe database and move forward to production. Any colour produced in this way should be checked for colour difference and, ultimately, corrected.
The GCS recipe database contains the recipes for our solvent-based, water-based and plastisol-based products. The GCR app is connected to our GCS formula database so you can check the recipe of any colour directly from the GCR app.
GCR is not currently integrated for pre-press, but the firm’s next step is to introduce a spectrophotometer. This will cost more compared with the GCR solution.
The system is updated continuously through its connection to the GCS database. In the event of any recipe corrections or new additions, all our clients can import the new updated version of the Grafco recipe instantly and directly into the app. Currently, you can save personal colours but not the recipes on the app.
It is also possible to have multiple users accessing on different devices to share and send colour parameters and formulas – for example between a salesman and the technician in the company.
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