Hand Developing Ecomaxx plates to read dot.

Chasfinch

Well-known member
Hey all,

I am trying to figure out a way to hand develop the ecomaxx plate so I can measure the dot with Spectroplate. Where the trouble is at the ends 0 and 100. The device seems to struggle to focus and see what is what. Almost never reads 0 1 out of 10 tries and I have yet to get 100 even before trying to develop the plate. I am assuming its OE. I have tried to develop different ways-all of which the 1 to 97 dotseems alright. But I am not going to trust the readings until I know whats going on :).

Anyone have words of wisdom here?
 

KevinC@EFI

Well-known member
The quick answer, from extensive discussions I had over several years with many technical people, R&D and customers... although maybe not "authoritative": don't bother.

The longer answer:

Yes, it's possible to read the plate with a densitometer or plate reader if it can handle the lower contrast compared to a normal plate. The current gen of Kodak and Fuji plates have much better contrast than the first generations, making it fairly easy to identify the plate and separation. BUT - that's all it's really meant for. The contrast is created by a color-changing dye in the plate emulsion. That dye is NOT really part of the polymer that you print from though - it's just reacting to the same heat/IR light that cross-links the polymer, creating an image that's independent but readable. The answer I kept getting from these people was basically: "Yes, maybe you can read the dots... and maybe you can even read them accurately. BUT - they don't really mean anything in terms of calibration because the dye isn't linked to the printing of the final plate on press. Only by putting the plate on press and "developing" it will you get the exact dot size that will print. The edges of the dot may look dyed, but might wear off during the developing, rendering any measurement useless - especially in the highlights and shadows where you're having issues.

You can try to emulate the on-press development process yourself, but there's no guarantee that it's an accurate representation of the final on-press results. I've heard that Windex on a cloth will take off the unexposed emulsion, allowing for easier reading... but I'd suggest comparing the readings you get from that to actual on-press results to see if it's meaningful first.

Having said all that though... the whole point of these plates is that they largely make the need to read them regularly redundant. Being an ex-Kodaker and still strongly believing in their imaging technology, when combined with a high-res and consistent imaging head like the SquareSpot, once you calibrate it once (on press) it's a set-it-and-forget-it type technology. You're eliminating the major variable that people are calibrating for anyway - the processing steps and chemistry. ISO certifications and such may dictate that every plate be read, but those standards didn't envision a system that didn't have that large source of variation in the first place.

So - even if you CAN, it begs the question of SHOULD you. What is it you're looking to monitor, when you've eliminated the biggest problem already?

My $0.02... YMMV, and opinions abound I'm sure.

Kevin.
 

Chasfinch

Well-known member
The quick answer, from extensive discussions I had over several years with many technical people, R&D and customers... although maybe not "authoritative": don't bother.

The longer answer:

Yes, it's possible to read the plate with a densitometer or plate reader if it can handle the lower contrast compared to a normal plate. The current gen of Kodak and Fuji plates have much better contrast than the first generations, making it fairly easy to identify the plate and separation. BUT - that's all it's really meant for. The contrast is created by a color-changing dye in the plate emulsion. That dye is NOT really part of the polymer that you print from though - it's just reacting to the same heat/IR light that cross-links the polymer, creating an image that's independent but readable. The answer I kept getting from these people was basically: "Yes, maybe you can read the dots... and maybe you can even read them accurately. BUT - they don't really mean anything in terms of calibration because the dye isn't linked to the printing of the final plate on press. Only by putting the plate on press and "developing" it will you get the exact dot size that will print. The edges of the dot may look dyed, but might wear off during the developing, rendering any measurement useless - especially in the highlights and shadows where you're having issues.

You can try to emulate the on-press development process yourself, but there's no guarantee that it's an accurate representation of the final on-press results. I've heard that Windex on a cloth will take off the unexposed emulsion, allowing for easier reading... but I'd suggest comparing the readings you get from that to actual on-press results to see if it's meaningful first.

Having said all that though... the whole point of these plates is that they largely make the need to read them regularly redundant. Being an ex-Kodaker and still strongly believing in their imaging technology, when combined with a high-res and consistent imaging head like the SquareSpot, once you calibrate it once (on press) it's a set-it-and-forget-it type technology. You're eliminating the major variable that people are calibrating for anyway - the processing steps and chemistry. ISO certifications and such may dictate that every plate be read, but those standards didn't envision a system that didn't have that large source of variation in the first place.

So - even if you CAN, it begs the question of SHOULD you. What is it you're looking to monitor, when you've eliminated the biggest problem already?

My $0.02... YMMV, and opinions abound I'm sure.

Kevin.


All I want to be able to do is set my linearization. When we originally setup it was kind of on the fly and not well thought out as far as time to do it. I know the dot is off because the pressman are seeing. I appreciate your answer. But the Fuji Rep who sold us this devise specifically to read the ecomaxx plate better not all of a sudden say it really cant to it. that would be 5K down the tubes LOL

thanks I will keep you posted I will be contacting techkon also.
 

KevinC@EFI

Well-known member
Interesting... I'm about a year out of touch with the latest-and-greatest, but last I checked neither Kodak nor Fuji had any officially-endorsed method of reading non-process plates with a densitometer (for the reasons I stated before). If you can't get it working to your satisfaction, I'd suggest doing some research on that, and holding your sales guy's feet to the fire on your ill-purchased Techkon.

But - maybe things have changed in the last 12 months, so please check first!

Kevin.
 

Chasfinch

Well-known member
Interesting... I'm about a year out of touch with the latest-and-greatest, but last I checked neither Kodak nor Fuji had any officially-endorsed method of reading non-process plates with a densitometer (for the reasons I stated before). If you can't get it working to your satisfaction, I'd suggest doing some research on that, and holding your sales guy's feet to the fire on your ill-purchased Techkon.

But - maybe things have changed in the last 12 months, so please check first!

Kevin.


thanks :) I will keep you updated. And it does work once it sees a dot. Pretty consistent its the just the 0 and 97 up is where it faulters and maybe the 97-99 is correct but I cant trust a machine that cant see 100 or 0 --- or I should say until I am told its okay that is does not read the extremes. :)

And this does infact have processless plates listed in it so techkon knows whats its going to be used for ;)
 

Chasfinch

Well-known member
well come to find out my spectro white point calibration tile was the problem. New one inbound... more to come
 

Chasfinch

Well-known member
update
I redid my cal and now all patches are within 1% most are dead on. Presses still are swinging wildly in dot gain.
 

gordo

Well-known member
update
I redid my cal and now all patches are within 1% most are dead on. Presses still are swinging wildly in dot gain.

Are you sending linear plates to the press room? Is that what is required to achieve your target tone values?

Gordo
 

Chasfinch

Well-known member
All I have is linear. I am pushing for color management/control software. But it makes no sense to do all that and curve when they cannot put out a consistent dot. On similar coated sheets we have swings at the 50% dot to 80% dot to 49% dot.
How can you curve when the presses are swinging that much.

I am in sort of a battle right now- Pressman are not grasping they are in control of plate development and they need to make adjustments until they find the "sweet" spot on the plates developing. They are pretty much doing what they want and not following some guidelines to dial them in.



Are you sending linear plates to the press room? Is that what is required to achieve your target tone values?

Gordo
 

gordo

Well-known member
All I have is linear. I am pushing for color management/control software. But it makes no sense to do all that and curve when they cannot put out a consistent dot. On similar coated sheets we have swings at the 50% dot to 80% dot to 49% dot.
How can you curve when the presses are swinging that much.

I am in sort of a battle right now- Pressman are not grasping they are in control of plate development and they need to make adjustments until they find the "sweet" spot on the plates developing. They are pretty much doing what they want and not following some guidelines to dial them in.

What might be happening is that if a linear plate is not appropriate to hit your target tone reproduction then the press operator will adjust solid ink densities to try and compensate. Adjusting SIDs in turn will cause dot gains to shift job to job.
Why not just establish the SID targets that you want to run to and the tone reproduction curve you want to achieve in your presswork. Then create a plate curve to achieve it? It's a pretty straightforward process that you have the tools to do now.

Gordo
 
D

Deleted member 16349

Guest
update
I redid my cal and now all patches are within 1% most are dead on. Presses still are swinging wildly in dot gain.

Chasfinch, More info needed please.

What type of presses are these problems on? Sheetfed or web?

Are the wild swings within a run or are you saying they are between different runs? Or both.
 

Chasfinch

Well-known member
What might be happening is that if a linear plate is not appropriate to hit your target tone reproduction then the press operator will adjust solid ink densities to try and compensate. Adjusting SIDs in turn will cause dot gains to shift job to job.
Why not just establish the SID targets that you want to run to and the tone reproduction curve you want to achieve in your presswork. Then create a plate curve to achieve it? It's a pretty straightforward process that you have the tools to do now.

Gordo

All we can do right now is manually curve. We do not have any software that we can read press sheets or curve. So everyhting here is done by just eye and density. I just recently put trapping and 50% screens into the color bars. For years I have had to deal with Production managers/pressman coming in and saying the dot is not the same as the last run. I have no real tools to tell them otherwise. They uses to just run a solid colorbars. They generally try goto standard densities.
this last summer I finally had enough of being blamed for repeatablitiy and have been taking measures to show its not on the digital/plate side. Infact I put small sweeps on the plates that I can read to see if there was a plate issue. That has helped a lot.




Chasfinch, More info needed please.

What type of presses are these problems on? Sheetfed or web?

Are the wild swings within a run or are you saying they are between different runs? Or both.
We have 2 KOMORI lithrone 28s. I have seen as much as 10% difference on a work and turn from side to side. Mostly its from job to job. I only look at sheets that are coated and about the same weight so not to add too much in variables. We do a lot of short runs- less then 10K sheets.

We have multiple issues - one is they still have not took the time to really understand how to develop the plates on Press (fuji ecomaxx) so that is part of the dot issue. The other is lack of maintenance scheduling - as many probably know maintenance seems to take a back seat.
 

gordo

Well-known member
All we can do right now is manually curve. We do not have any software that we can read press sheets or curve. So everyhting here is done by just eye and density. I just recently put trapping and 50% screens into the color bars. For years I have had to deal with Production managers/pressman coming in and saying the dot is not the same as the last run. I have no real tools to tell them otherwise. They uses to just run a solid colorbars. They generally try goto standard densities.

If there is a densitometer available that can read dot gains and you have a sheet of paper and a pencil then you have the tools needed to build dot gain compensation curves for your plates.

See here: The Print Guide: The principle of dot gain compensation plate curves

Gordo
 

Chasfinch

Well-known member
If there is a densitometer available that can read dot gains and you have a sheet of paper and a pencil then you have the tools needed to build dot gain compensation curves for your plates.

See here: The Print Guide: The principle of dot gain compensation plate curves

Gordo

how do you do that when its never the same gain? Thats what I dont understand. how can I read the dot make a curve and the next similar job will need a new curve. Its not consistent on the same press let alone between the presses.
WHat I have been told is that the presses have to have some sort of consistency before you try and start making press curves. This makes sense to me.

I already read that a while ago ;)
 
D

Deleted member 16349

Guest
how do you do that when its never the same gain? Thats what I dont understand. how can I read the dot make a curve and the next similar job will need a new curve. Its not consistent on the same press let alone between the presses.
WHat I have been told is that the presses have to have some sort of consistency before you try and start making press curves. This makes sense to me.

I already read that a while ago ;)

Have you looked at the dots with magnification? Is the dot gain due to changes in solid density or due to doubling?
 

Chasfinch

Well-known member
Have you looked at the dots with magnification? Is the dot gain due to changes in solid density or due to doubling?

solid density. I have not seen doubling in a while- though it has been an issue in the past. Part of the issue where I have touched on is that they have not worked to consistently develop the ecomaxx plates. One of many consistency issues
 
D

Deleted member 16349

Guest
solid density. I have not seen doubling in a while- though it has been an issue in the past. Part of the issue where I have touched on is that they have not worked to consistently develop the ecomaxx plates. One of many consistency issues

It is starting to look like your situation is where there are layers upon layers of known and unknown problems and that kind of situation is difficult to sort out because there usually is no interest to get to the bottom of the issues that need to be addressed by the management that is ultimately responsible for correcting them. (Deming says that management is responsible for 90% of the problems.)

Where are the managers?
 

Chasfinch

Well-known member
It is starting to look like your situation is where there are layers upon layers of known and unknown problems and that kind of situation is difficult to sort out because there usually is no interest to get to the bottom of the issues that need to be addressed by the management that is ultimately responsible for correcting them. (Deming says that management is responsible for 90% of the problems.)

Where are the managers?

yes that is what I am finding. Managers well are all family and they trust the pressman I think a little too much. Production manager comes from a color house has never run or managed a press before.

In the last few weeks I finally got through to them that its not the imaging of the plates which is what everyone was saying since I started 5+ years ago. I could go on but it would be just a vent ;)

thanks for the posts.
 

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