After a thorough evaluation of different systems, Fujifilm Imaging has equipped all of its European Photolabs with the Konica Minolta Autoscan Spectrophotometer FD-9 and basICColor software. Only the FD-9 fulfilled the demanding requirements of a photolab, performing all measurement tasks while operators found it easy to use as well as fast, versatile, mechanically stable and accurate in day-to-day use.
The company has implemented the high-end basICColor DeviL software for profiling the printing systems, while basICColor catch is used for production and quality control. Fujifilm Imaging is more than happy with the technical performance and economic efficiency resulting from their investment and expect to significantly streamline their set-up processes.
A professional photolab makes the highest demands on colour measurement equipment; colour quality and reproducibility are essential. Calibration and control processes have to be extremely fast and seamlessly integrated into the production environment which typically features different output systems plus a large variety of media and operators over several sites.
A measurement system needs to be easy to use for operators of all levels. The standardization of colour quality is usually done by experienced engineers while the quality control of the production run has to be done reliably by every operator.
In this demanding environment, the Konica Minolta Autoscan FD-9, combined with basICColor catch for measurement and control software and basICColor DeviL as the profiling software, turned out to be the most efficient solution in a thorough evaluation of several alternatives.
The Fujifilm Imaging Photolabs in Europe have a great deal of experience with colour measurement tools. While versatile, handheld devices and xy-stages proved inefficient and prone to user errors. Other chart readers were able to deliver the desired automation but were unable to fulfil all measurement tasks.
Fujifilm found that most devices lacked the mechanical stability demanded by an industrial photolab, while the FD-9 has proven to be extremely robust and easy to use during intensive daily usage. Even problematic materials like very thin paper or curled media are measured reliably. The reproducibility is outstanding for all materials.
A significant challenge for any print lab is the sheer variety of measurement tasks. The integration of special markers into the chart-layout is often impossible, making the set-up and control process laborious and prone to errors, particularly where charts are predefined by the printing machine manufacturer or where the paper edges have narrow borders.
The unique patch recognition technology of the FD-9 is able to quickly and easily identify and measure the various layouts, proving to be as versatile as a handheld device with the automation and ease of use expected from a chart reader. As a result, Fujifilm is able to move from printer-dependent quality management to a printer-independent, factory-wide quality control system. Faster, more consistent, more user-friendly and with fewer errors, the FD-9 should make a significant impact on the bottom line.
The Konica Minolta Autoscan FD-9 features USB and ethernet connectivity, allowing it to be shared within the network environment. The integrated colour LCD and job management function helps the data to be correctly applied through the network.
Speed is a key feature of the FD-9. Even large colour management charts are measured within a few minutes. Several standardized measurement conditions (M0, M1, M2 ...) are measured at once so operators are no longer required to change filters or measure charts multiple times. The measurement software basICColor catch stores data for each measurement mode in a single file, allowing users to switch between the different modes at any time. This allows optical brighteners to be judged and controlled easily during the set-up process.
Jens Rubbert, Project Manager during the implementation of the Konica Minolta FD-9, commented: ‘The FD-9 is currently the best instrument fulfilling the high demands of Fujifilm Imaging Photolaboratories. It combines outstanding measurement results, speed, highest reliability, ease of use and a wide range of use cases like no other automated device before. Combined with basICColor's profiling and quality control software we could reduce the time of setup processes from several days to a few hours. The FD-9 is used for several tasks in our photolabs: Calibration of the printers, profile creation and quality control. This helps us tremendously in optimizing our processes and enables a system independent extension of our production quality control with basICColor catch. We are more than happy having done this investment.’