Esko has developed a ‘super-fast’ inline sensor for colour measurement and quality reporting, AVT SpectraLab XF, allowing packaging converters to benefit from faster and more accurate inline colour inspection.

Unveiled at the recent Esko Innovation Summit, AVT SpectraLab XF is an inline colour measurement system based on a new, super-fast X-Rite sensor. With XRGA-compliance, AVT SpectraLab XF delivers the ability to measure during make-ready and production, ensuring colour and quality consistency across the entire print cycle.

Delivering accurate and automated colour measurement for the full array of packaging applications, AVT SpectraLab XF can measure a complete vertical colour bar in a single repeat. Smaller, 4-5mm patches can be supported depending on press speed, and a new LED lamp with M0, M1, and M2 correlates to offline inspection standards. By incorporating AVT SpectraLab XF into an inline inspection system provides both visual inspection as well as colour measurement and enables every aspect of process and quality to be monitored, according to Esko. Using the BestMatch optional module, AVT SpectraLab XF suggests possible actions on press and saves time as well as reducing the workload further. It measures L*a*b*, Delta E, density and dot gain on flexible packaging and folding carton applications, comparable with offline devices, but all at point of print with no press stops, for maximum efficiency.

Guy Yogev, Esko AVT senior director of product marketing, said, ‘When it comes to brand recognition and value, colour consistency and quality are absolutely crucial. The uniformity of a brand’s packaging colour inspires trust and loyalty among consumers. But achieving perfectly reproduced brand colours for packages and labels requires converters to print to the numbers and monitor colour accuracy – all while manufacturing at high speeds and volumes.

‘Meeting this standard can be challenging, especially with increasing demand for shorter production runs as brands seek to grow market share with targeted campaigns, brand extensions and limited editions. Using handheld manual measurement falls short of this challenge; measuring only a few points per roll is insufficient, time-consuming, and requires frequent operator intervention.’

He continued, ‘AVT SpectraLab XF has been developed to help converters meet these brand expectations, through effectively measuring and monitoring during run-time and make-ready and ensuring converters print to colour target.

‘AVT SpectraLab XF is fast, accurate, and saves converters valuable time. This new solution is capable of measuring colour targets and in-image colours in a much faster run time, delivering measurements one hundred times faster than before, with higher frequency and many more measurements per roll. The technology delivers much better targeting and accuracy, and importantly can work with very flexible materials.’

As AVT SpectraLab XF also enables measurements during make-ready, converters can save time in ensuring colour accuracy, as well as reducing job change time. ‘With the support for as small as 4mm targets or patches, users can also enjoy a saving on material trim area, while the optional data import/export option gives the ability to send data to various colour reporting systems, as well as ink-room interfaces such as X-Rite IFS,’ said Mr Yogev.