How to determine optimal solid ink densities (best match delta-E)

This QuickStart document describes how to use MeasureColor’s Printability Module to determine the optimum ink film thickness (best match delta-E)

Whenever you need to calibrate your print process to a standard, the first step is to determine the optimum ink film thickness (Densities) for your solid ink on the selected material. For this purpose, MeasureColor has a special module, called ‘Printability test’. By printing and measuring a special printability test form you can quickly determine the exact ink response on your materials.

What you need:

  • MeasureColor 4 Pro or higher license level
  • MeasureColor Printability test form (printability_testform_v3.pdf)
  • Compliant scanning measurement device (XRite Intellitrax, Techkon SpectroJet or Techkon SpectroDrive. Measurement devices like the XRite EyeOne, XRite 530-939, XRite SpectroEye and Techkon SpectroDens are less suited for this task

Generic preparations:

  • Create 4 printing plates from the Printability test form (linear plates by preference but not mandatory)
  • IMPORTANT: on the press console open ALL ink keys to the same level
  • Print the form where you want to find the target densities as noted on the sheet in the center zone

MeasureColor 4 workflow (for wet and dry prints):

  • Open the ‘Printability test’ module
  • Create a new job based on the proper reference and make sure the ‘MeasureColor_printability_50’ color bar is selected for this job
  • Open the Measurement window and select the condition for this measurement (wet/dry)
  • Optional: print some fresh sheets so you can measure the wet ink if needed
  • Measure the color bar and hit ‘Finish’
  • Let the sheet dry properly (24hrs)
  • Open the job that contains the ‘wet’ measurement
  • Open the Measurement window and select the condition for this measurement (dry)
  • Measure the color bar and hit ‘Finish’

Analyzing the ink performance and select ‘best match’:

  • Open ‘Printability test’ module
  • Select the job you wish to analyze and open the ‘dry’ measurement for that job
  • In the ‘Results’ view, you see a graph area which holds tabs for each printed color, CIE-ab details are shown on the right
  • Above the graph on the left, you see a slider. Move the slider to the right and watch what happens as you move it back and forth
  • Move the slider until the measured point reaches to the lowest point on the (vertical) delta-E axis. This is your ‘best color match’ for this ink!
  • Note the ‘Best match density’ AND the little number you see right to the density (e.g. ‘(9)’). Click on the button on the right to save the result
  • Repeat for each color
  • Now that we have found the best match and corresponding density for the dried result, we want to find the corresponding density for wet inks
  • Open the measurement that contains the ‘wet’ measurement
  • Drag the slider to the same patch (e.g. ‘(9)’) as found in the dried result. Click on the button to save the result.
  • Note the density for this ‘wet’ ink condition
  • Repeat for each color
  • Instruct your press operator to use these densities and maybe update the target densities for your Presets (Process Control Module)

Next steps: