How was your print quality in the past year?

Every year, end-of-year lists are made and New Year speeches are prepared. They highlight what went wrong, and how we plan to address it in the next year. Equally, we look back at what went well in the past year, and how we want to maintain or improve on that trend. After all, what you know, you can maintain, adjust or simply drop. But how does a graphics company know whether its printing is of good quality?

How do you know if you need to tackle certain processes in the next year to achieve better quality, or will it be another year of ‘business as usual’? How is such a minimum for print quality determined, and even harder, how do you know if it is met on every job? Does your production department even know how it performed in terms of print quality last year?

Audit: snapshot versus trends.

“Measuring is knowing” remains a ubiquitous phrase. What you measure is undisputed and you can start analysing it objectively. Many companies carry out periodic measurements: their “audits” of print quality are thus limited to measuring a situation at one particular point in time. If the quality has dipped below the lower limit since your last audit, of course you have no idea when this exactly exactly happened, or why. Thus, at best, you could say at the end-of-year speech that the quality “at the last audit” was OK or not.

Many companies already have the necessary measuring equipment continuously attached to their printing presses and already store quite a lot of data. Very often that data is stored in nice databases, but those databases are scattered in their environment, so that connections between certain measurements are never visible. A downward trend is not picked up; on the contrary, an audit can only be a snapshot.

Printspector: Continuous monitoring.

Printspector brings all your data together in one overview. All data stored in your company are collected: we establish links between all your measurement systems. Besides the measurements of your colour measurement system (think spectral and density values), we can help you capture all kinds of things such as substrate used to press type, but also environmental factors such as temperature or humidity in your production hall. Moreover, everything is also linked to your existing software packages such as ERP, PIM/DAM.

Every action within your production environment is thus registered. Printspector collects all the data and displays it bundled per job, per customer, per printing press, per colour, etc. All your data is continuously captured and stored in the cloud: your data is thus always and everywhere available, giving you an up-to-date and transparent overview.

Jobscore & proactive monitoring

Printspector can capture a wide range of data per job. Based on that data, the tool – according to a number of company-specific parameters & priorities – will give each job a score. Moreover, the tool can start comparing the data and score of the current job with historical data. In this way, Printspector will automatically recognise similar jobs, weigh them against each other and, in case of deviating values or negative trends, mark jobs as ‘risk jobs’. These then require extra attention or even corrective action.

From now on, the operator no longer intervenes after that periodic audit, but, thanks to Printspector’s continuous monitoring, starts acting very quickly and immediately when a job shows a deviation. A small adjustment in the process drives quality right back up, and the chance of reaching a lower limit is extremely small. Printspector thus enables people in the print shop to proactively & specifically monitor their print quality.

Worksheet for specific monitoring.

Moreover, an operator does not have to monitor all data continuously. Using self-created ‘worksheets’ within Printspector, you can monitor the improvement process per operator. One operator needs to improve his set-up times and consumption, while another focuses on colour quality with a personalised worksheet.

Remarks such as “That colour is always wrong, isn’t it!” are systematically relegated to the background and replaced by proactive questions such as “For this job, it’s best to clean the anilox roll before we measure too low a density.

In your New Year’s speech, you no longer talk about “the last audit” but can now refer to that one colour or substrate on that printing press or to that particular period. This way, your desired goals for next year are substantiated and clearly measurable, and you and your employees can monitor and achieve them day after day!

Do Reach out to us, if you want to discuss this in depth! We’re happy to help!