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Monday, September 22, 2014

Pragati pioneers expanded gamut printing with Esko’s award-winning Equinox solution

Esko (www.esko.com) is pleased to announce the successful implementation of its Esko Equinox extended gamut solution by Pragati Offset, India’s pioneering print innovator based in Hyderabad. Equinox is Esko’s solution for the implementation of extended gamut – or fixed inkset – printing, and a recipient of the prestigious 2014 InterTech Technology Awards.

Esko Equinox Expanded Color Gamut (ECG) is a patented technology for converting packaging graphics from CMYK and spot color to a seven-color process. It is applied in the prepress department when preparing jobs for press. Converting entire files results in extremely close matches to spot colors, improved pictorial images, and the ability to print more colors than available ink stations on the press, resulting in improved image quality and brand impact. The major benefit, however, is realized in the pressroom as jobs print more economically and more consistently.

Mr. Harsha Paruchuri, Director of Pragati Offset, speaks about his early interest in Equinox: “I saw this solution in an early beta stage at the EskoWorld Conference in Tampa, Florida, about four years ago. It struck me as highly interesting, even at that stage. Taking a large seven-color gamut and having the software convert an artwork with any number of PANTONE or RGB images to those seven colors (or six or five, depending on what you want) sounded interesting.”

Since the CMYK color space lacks in the green, orange and blue-violet areas, adding these three inks to expand the color space makes sense. A seven-color strategy is made after measurement of the test forms. The set-up and maintenance of the profiles and strategies are the main work. Equinox conversion can be done in Esko’s prepress editors with the ability to manually interact and change some of the conversions, or it can be set up in the ticket and done automatically by the RIP during the normalization. There is also an Adobe® Photoshop® plug-in for interactively converting images to seven colors.

Mr. Paruchuri explains how Pragati Offset uses Equinox: “Once the profiles are made, it’s almost a ‘push of the button’ solution as far as spot colors are concerned as the images are processed automatically to create a seven-color separation set. And since we have a complete Esko workflow, Equinox fits in seamlessly.”

Mr. Paruchuri also shares the thought process that went into installing two new seven-color plus coater offset presses at the end of 2013: “We believed an additional unit would give us more flexibility as we already print a lot of six-color jobs and there were times when we felt an additional color would improve the quality and consistency. Equinox certainly played a role in our decision to order these new seven-color presses.”

Benefits of expanded color gamut reproduction
The ability to create an infinite number of colors from seven process colors promotes “gang” press runs – and the economic savings can surpass a million dollars per press each year. Customers using Equinox ECG technology report that they use seven-color process profitably in a production environment for offset cartons as well as for flexible packaging and labels. This has enabled many of the world’s largest consumer product companies to convert entire product lines to expanded gamut.

In the past 17 years, Pragati Offset has become one of the leading packaging and label printers in India, winning many national and international awards. While the company sees the use of Equinox as hugely advantageous for offset printed cartons and label printing on its 8 color flexographic presses, it feels that Equinox is the right solution for any project with high gamut requirements from garment catalogues, coffee table and paint swatch books, and even calendars and diaries. “We’ve also recently used it for a wedding card that included a reproduction of an MF Husain painting that contained rich oranges and blues,” says Mr. Paruchuri.

Pragati Offset is very clear about the benefits of using this innovation to match a wide variety of brand and spot colors including many PANTONE shades with a fixed set of 7 inks and without having to wash up a press for every job. “A lot of time and money can be saved by not having to wash a million dollar press for 15 to 20 minutes to get the correct shade. The productivity gains by not having to wash-up and change inks are significant, especially if there are a lot of shorter run jobs,” states Mr. Paruchuri.

Shrihari Rao, Esko’s Sales Director for India, is pleased that Equinox has found resonance with one of the world’s most innovative printers. “It is only fitting that Esko Equinox is in the capable hands of a printer who continues to win awards and gain enormous global recognition for its quality and innovation,” Mr. Rao concludes.

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