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Review of ISO 12647:

Analysis and its


Erwin Widmer

Managing Director
St. Gallen, Switzerland

• Association for the promotion of research in the

printing industry
• exist since 53 years
• was all the time working together with EMPA
• The members of Ugra are the Swiss printers
associations, the Swiss ink makers association and
the Swiss suppliers association and 10 companies

• Swiss Competence Center for the Media and

Printing Technology
• Developing, producing and sales of control tools
• Services, material testing, expertise, certifications
• Organization of courses, seminars and conferences
• Represents the Swiss printing an paper industry in
the ISO standards organization
• Applied research
Erwin Widmer

• Apprenticeship in prepress
• Ms degree of the Swiss university for
applied sciences in Lausanne (printing
and management)
• 15 years working in printing companies or
at suppliers
• 10 years at EMPA
• Managing director of Ugra since 2003
11 steps to success
with color management
• Overview
• 1. Color Management
• 2. Standards
• 3. Calibration
• 4. ICC-profiles
• 5. Color control on printing presses
11 steps to success

• Overview
• 6. Color deviation in offset printing
• 7. Control of plate making
• 8. Control of proof making
• 9. Monitor calibration
• 10. Assessment of images
• 11. Data exchange and control
11 steps to success

• If a printing company wants to bring their

quality under control this 11 step method
can help to achieve the result as soon as
• Quality is not cheap, it’s priceless!
• Quality is a decision of the top
management of a printing company.
Step 1: Color Management CM

• Working according to standards and controlling

the process is color management!
• Printing and prepress department have different
views and ways to quality.
• A color management project has only success if
prepress and printing departments work closely
• The start of a color management project should
base on a top management decision.
Advantages of CM

• A printing company which uses CM has a clear

message and offer for their customer.
Customers know what quality they will get from
this printer.
• Every employee has a quality goal. Each
process step is described with a SOP.
• Since every productions step is done only ones,
material and time is saved. This leads to more
Step 2: Standards

• The first decision in the CM project is to

which standard the quality should fit.
• The standard is the goal to which all
employees strive every day and the goal
of each part of the printing process.
• The production standard for the printing
industry today is ISO 12647.
ISO 12647

• Is a multipart standard.
• 12647-1 Basics
• 12647-2 Offset printing
• 12647-3 Newspaper printing
• 12647-4 Gravure printing
• 12647-5 Silk Screen printing
• 12647-6 Flexographic printing
• 12647-7 Digital proofing
ISO 12647-2 Offset printing

• The color and transparency of the inks is

defined in ISO 2648-1
• 5 paper types are defined.
• No solid ink density values are mentioned.
• The solid tones are described with
CIELAB values.
• Tone value increases are described.
Paper types

• Type 1: gloss-coated, wood free, 115 g/m2

• Type 2: matte-coated, wood free, 115 g/m2
• Type 3: gloss-coated web, 70 g/m2
• Type 4: uncoated, white, 115 g/m2
• Type 5: uncoated, slightly yellowish, 115 g/m2
Color coordinates
Pa 1,2 3 4 5
L* a* b* L* a* b* L* a* b* L* a* b*
K 17 0 0 18 1 0 32 2 2 29 2 2
C 55 -40 -51 56 -39 -45 59 -27 -43 58 -26 -40
M 47 76 -4 46 71 -2 55 60 -4 53 60 5
Y 90 -4 95 86 -3 93 89 -2 79 89 -1 81
R 47 69 45 46 65 45 53 55 30 51 56 30
G 49 -67 28 49 -60 34 52 -43 19 51 -39 17
B 24 16 -47 25 18 -41 38 8 -32 38 8 -22
Ov 25 3 0 26 8 3 37 1 3 37 3 1
Tone value increase at 50%

• CMY Black
• Paper Types 1 + 2 14% 17%
• Paper Type 3 17% 20%
• Paper Types 4 + 5 20% 23%
• Conditions: 60 L/cm Screen, positive or CtP-plates,
Tolerance ± 4%
Advantage of using ISO 12647-2

• Is described very detailed.

• Control values are available.
• Characterization data is available form the
• ICC-profiles are available form the website
• Reference prints are available from the website
Working with other standards

• Control values have to established by the

printing company
• ICC-profiles have to be made by the
printing company. This is very expensive.
• Printing results differ to ISO 12647-2.
• Such printing companies are no partners
for international print buyers.
Step 3: Calibration

• All devices have to be calibrated.

• There is no standard and color
management without calibration.
• Each device needs calibration values and
standard operation procedure to control
Print, Plate, Proof, Monitor, Data

• The main areas for control and calibration

are the printing presses, the plate making,
the proofing devices, the monitor and the
incoming data.
• There are standard control tools for these
devices available.
• To bring a printing press into calibration a
long trial time is necessary.
Step 4: ICC-output profiles

• In offset printing it’s almost impossible to print

an ISO 12640 test form in tolerance.
• Therefore to establish a profile at least 5000
sheets have to be printed and every 500th has
to be measured and averaged. This is an
expensive task.
• Therefore it’s better to print according to ISO
12647-2, because the ICC-profiles are already
ISO 12642 test form
ISO 12642 Test chart
ISO 12642 test form
Profiles for ISO 12647-2

• Are downloadable form

• If someone wants to do other profiles the
characterization data is downloadable
• If someone wants to control if his printing
result is right there are reference prints
buyable from
Altona Visual
Altona Measure
Altona Technical
Step 5: Color control on
printing presses
• The following parameters define the
opening or closing of the ink zones on the
printing press:
• Solid tone density
• Tone value increase
• Two color overprint
• Three color overprint (Gray patch)
Evaluation of the print

• A color bar has to be used in order to control

the results.

• A color control devise should be installed on

the printing press.
• With a hand densitometer the printer is not fast
enough to control the ink setting.
Evaluation of the print
Evaluation of the print
Evaluation of the print
Color Control on Printing Presses

• At least four values for each ink zone have to be

• These are 24 x 4 = 96 measurements for one
printing unit of a 50 x 70 cm press.
• It is impossible to do this amount of
measurement with a handheld instrument.
• Printing presses need therefore an online or
inline color control equipment.
Color Control on Printing Press

• On sheet fed presses the press

manufacturer sales the color control
• Heidelberg: Image Control and Axis Control
• KBA: Densitronic
• MAN Roland: Color Pilot and
System Brunner Instrument Flight
Color Control on Printing Presses
Color Control on Printing Presses
Color Control on Printing Presses

• On web presses every brand of color

control is attachable.

• QTI (Video measurement)

• GMI (Spectal measurement)
• WPC (Densitometric measurement)
• Peretta (Densitometric measurements)
Color Control on Printing Presses
6. Color variation in offset
• Even the best print has a tolerance of ± 2% in
the mid tones.
• Standard quality has ± 4% color variation in the
mid tones.
• 1% tone value difference is a color variation of
∆E 1.5.
• Therefore a good offset print has color variation
of ∆E 6. This variation is objectionable.
Step 7: Control of plate making

• Analogue Ugra plate control strip

• Ugra/FOGRA Digital plate control wedge

Ugra Offset Test Strip
Checkerboard patches
Checkerboard squares
Ugra Offset Test Strip
CtP control

• There are different strategies in CtP-plate

• First linear plate exposure in case of
achieving with such plates the aim values
for the press calibration.
• Second unlinearized plate exposure in
case press calibration values are not
achieved with linear plates.
Ugra/FOGRA Digital Plate
Control Wedge

• If linearized plate exposure is used the plate

control is done with this control wedge.
• The strength of the laser beams is set with the
checkerboard patches.
• The daily plate control is done with the visual
reference patches.
Process calibration

• If a printing press needs correction of the

tone values the plates are exposed not
• In this mode plates have to be measured.

• Thermal plates transfer ink better than

conventional plates. Therefore the
process calibration reduces the tone
Measuring on printing plates

• On the market different measuring

devices are sold.
• In the beginning of CtP densitometers
were used.
• Later on dotmeters came to the
Image analysis

• Dotmeters are handy and affordable measuring

• Unfortunately their accuracy is questionable.
But they supply additional information as
screen ruling and screen angle.
• They provide images of the measured dots,
which can be very interesting for some
Step 8: Control of proofs

• A proof without a control wedge is only a nice

color print.
• In Europe the standard proof control wedge is
the Ugra/FOGRA Media wedge CMYK 2.0
Ugra/FOGRA Medienkeil CMYK
What is the
Ugra/FOGRA Media Wedge CMYK
• With the test chart ISO 12640 (IT8.7/3) the profiles are
made. Like this input and output data for the control of a
proofing and the printing are available.
• For the control of the proof all this 928 patches could be
measured again.
• The Media Wedge is a subset of the IT8.7/3. With this 46
patches can be controlled if the proof and the print are
according to standard.
Ugra/FOGRA Media Wedge CMYK
Ugra/FOGRA Media Wedge CMYK

• Base for the Media Wedge is ISO 12647.

• The IT8.7/3 test chart was printed on all 5
paper types according to ISO-12647.
• The characterization data serves to do the
standard ICC-profiles.
• These characterization data may be
downloaded for free from the FOGRA
Ugra/FOGRA Media Wedge CMYK

• The characterization data serves as aim value

for the Ugra/FOGRA Media Wedge CMYK too.
• These aim values are coming with the
Ugra/FOGRA Media Wedge CMYK.
• Like this standard, profiles and Ugra/FOGRA
Media Wedge CMYK are based on the same data
Ugra/FOGRA Medienkeil CMYK

• Is the standard control tool for digital proofing in

Europe. The following institutions promote the
Ugra/FOGRA Media Wedge CMYK as control tool for
digital proofs (bvdm, ECI, FOGRA, Ugra, VSD).
• 3 versions: Normal, automatic, 1 line
• Formats: TIFF or EPS
• Platforms: Mac or PC
Application of the Ugra/FOGRA
Media Wedge CMYK

• At the proof making. Proofs can go to the

printing department with a control sheet.

• Control of incoming proofs in a printing

company. The control must be made the
first day the proofs are coming in. The
problem is what to do with wrong proofs?
Measurement of the
Ugra/FOGRA Media Wedge CMYK
• A spectrophotometer is needed.
• Hand held instruments, manual input of measured data
in the Excel sheet
• Hand held instruments with data connection to the
computer, Measurement goes directly into the Excel
• Exchange from Techkon
• KeyWizard from GretagMacbeth
• XKey from X-Rite
Measurement of the
Ugra/FOGRA Media Wedge CMYK
• Scanning spectrophotometer with data connection with the
computer and Ugra/FOGRA Excel sheet
• Spectrocam from Avantes BV
• RS800 from Techkon
• DTP41 from X-Rite
• Pulse from X-Rite
• Spectrolino with Spectroscan from GretagMacbeth
• iCColor from GretagMacbeth
• EyeOne Pro from GretagMacbeth
• Other software
• MeasureTool from GretagMacbeth
• basICColor control from Colorsolution
Ugra/FOGRA Media Wedge CMYK
Ugra/FOGRA Media Wedge CMYK