Sat, Jul

Colouring in between the gaps

Phil Thompson, head of BPIF Business, talks us through independent colour quality certification based on ISO12647 and 9001.

The BPIF has developed a UK Certification scheme for ISO12647, knowing that as with quality and environmental standards, buyers expect independent auditing and certification from UKAS accredited certification bodies. In response to such customer demands, a growing number of UK printing companies are now working towards the ISO12647 standard which is specific for colour quality.

Initially, this scheme was developed for sheet-fed and heatset web-offset companies but the increasing demand for independent certification that is UKAS accredited has been from digital and packaging companies using other printing methods given their customers want colour consistency regardless of production method.

Companies working to meet the exacting standards of UKAS will be able to implement best practice throughout the whole production process, modelled on ISO9001. Companies have enjoyed clear production benefits that have improved as a direct result of taking a holistic and measured approach to improving their colour management workflow.

The new scheme means that when a customer requests an ISO 12647 job, version 2 of the BPIF ISO12647 Colour Quality Management scheme will be able to cover all printing methods, as long as they can match or improve the requirements set out in the scheme.

- The scheme refers to ISO9001and adds specific requirements for the colour quality system and product conformance. This means that companies that have already implemented ISO9001 will be able to extend the management processes so that they are able to integrate the required colour management aspects. The scheme will be, ultimately, an extension of what has already been implemented - saving time, money and strengthening the processes that are already in place.

- The scheme expands its scope to cover the entire ISO12647 standard so companies are able to include all areas of the business. The same processes can be consistently implemented across the company regardless of the different production processes that are used. So digital processes (which will include all forms of digital production including wide-format) are included in the scope and can be certified against ISO12647 aim values and tolerances. This will mean that the end product regardless of production method can be audited to the same exacting standards.

- The possible scope of certification is expanded to include all combinations of pre-press, press, proofing and outsourced printing and allows production compliance to be determined against the ISO12647 standard itself or using the defined scoring system methodology. By being able to measure spectrometrically the product, improvements and assessments can be made to the final product, either by changing ink quality or other substrates involved in the process.

- The scheme now allows certification for a customised printing condition - defined as a CMYK printing condition that used a combination of substrates, inks, printing methods and sampling requirements.

This scheme will lead to a standardised production process and consistent colour production and to good printing practices regardless of production process or substrate, to maintain a consistently accurate colour critical product.

Making this scheme rigorous and UKAS accredited will mean companies that successfully implement it will be able to show their customers - including the large corporates who demand consistent results and independently audited evidence - that they are able to produce work to the required standard and that these customers can have absolute confidence in the colour quality claims made by printers that are certified for the BPIF ISO 12647 Colour Quality Management Scheme.

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