- UVx40R – Tabletop Flatbed Printer of the Year 2019
- UVx90R – UV/Latex Flatbed Under $70,000 Printer of the Year 2019
- H2 UV Inks – Digital Inks of the Year 2019
There are five core pillars to our success in this type of output device competition, and we placed independent focus in each area, before putting them together...
The Printer –
When we set out to design this new line of printers, industrial design and quality output were the two core criteria. You always have tradeoffs in speed versus quality, but we tried to pull together a design that marries both effectively. Choosing the Ricoh head technology was central to our strategy. Based on that technology, we could weave in the waveforms and command control, and we had a great platform to push the envelope of what this type of output device can produce.
The Color Management Tools and Profiling Process –
The Print Pro software that we have deployed as a function of our partnership with Kothari Infotech is central to everything we do with color. We use Print Pro to generate the profiles and environments we use for our competition entries, and also for the standard profiles we produce for general use and to meet specific client needs. The tools included with the Print Pro profiling package are very robust and give us great insight into the quality of the profile on initial creation. They also provide the tools to perform comparative analysis so we can see how and to what degree the profiles improve with each iteration, and compare to prior technologies. The second piece of the color management process is a great spectrophotometer. This year, we partnered with Barbieri, and brought in their Spectro LFPqb to perform our color scans. This is an amazing piece of equipment that not only made our scans more efficient, but more effective. We were so impressed with the unit, we made it a permanent part of our color process and are now a reseller of the equipment as well, so our customers can benefit from the combination of a great RIP and great scanning unit to deploy their own color management programs with our printers.
The RIP Software –
The profiling process is the first element of the Kothari Print Pro software, but the color matching capabilities are what enabled us to really excel in the spot color piece of the competition. Kothari Print Pro powered our 2016 Product of the Year win and has contributed to other wins in the DTG space (they actually are behind four PoY wins this year, two from LogoJET and two in DTG). Print Pro offers the Named Color Space (NCS) feature, which we used extensively in the spot color portion of the competition. NCS allows an operator to scan or enter the values for a specific color output they are trying to hit. Print Pro then produces a color book print from the output device with hundreds of patches in a particular gamut. Scanning that color book, Print Pro can identify the exact combination of colors required to produce a match, specific to that printer. Once the match is established, it can be named and used repeatedly, from any art file. This way you can always ensure that when a designer puts “Purple C” in an art file, the print operator can elect to use the pre-defined color for that printer and hit it every time.
The Ink –
When we set out to produce a more durable ink (another 2019 award winner) we partnered with a best of breed chemical OEM here in the States. From the very first profile, we knew that we were not only onto something with the durability, but also with the color gamut. We began working on the development of this ink in the middle of 2018 and released it to our customer base early this year. The feedback has been fantastic, so no surprise that this ink technology is a central component to this year’s SGIA competition outcomes.
The Team –
This year’s accomplishments were a total team effort. The team that we assembled to pull together this year’s competition entries was simply remarkable. We started with our own print engineers and color specialists to build the baseline and from there every single person in the LogoJET family from procurement to production, project management and everyone else played an active role in the process. We also relied heavily on our partners and trusted resources. The Kothari team provided the best practices and some excellent feedback on the process and the outcomes. Their expertise in color was invaluable. After the first round of prints we reached out to a qualified third party, Colorcasters, for an outside assessment. Jim Raffel was able to give us an objective opinion about general quality and asses our grayscale and spot color matching. He felt that we had a great entry out of the box, but provided insightful and detailed analysis for us. We were able to take his feedback and turn some screws to get the level of detail we felt would put us over the top.