25 Jan 2022

New SpectraLab XF delivers accurate inline color measurement

Latest Esko AVT innovation for print inspection at packaging converters delivers measurements “hundred times faster”.

Packaging converters can now benefit from faster and more accurate inline color inspection, with the launch of the latest innovation from Esko, AVT SpectraLab XF.

Unveiled at the recent Esko Innovation Summit, AVT SpectraLab XF is a unique inline color measurement solution 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 color and quality consistency across the entire print cycle.

“When it comes to brand recognition and value, color consistency and quality are absolutely crucial,” said Guy Yogev, Esko AVT Senior Director of Product Marketing. “The uniformity of a brand’s packaging color inspires trust and loyalty among consumers. But achieving perfectly reproduced brand colors for packages and labels requires converters to print to the numbers and monitor color 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,” he said. “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. 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 color target.”

Delivering accurate and automated color measurement for the full array of packaging applications, AVT SpectraLab XF incorporates a new X-Rite spectral sensor and can measure a complete vertical color 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.

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

Guy explained that as AVT SpectraLab XF also enables measurements during make-ready, converters can save significant, valuable time in ensuring color 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 color reporting systems, as well as ink-room interfaces such as X-Rite IFS.”

Incorporating AVT SpectraLab XF into the inline inspection system not only saves time in setup, but it also maximizes operator efficiency. “The system provides both visual inspection as well as color measurement and enables every aspect of process and quality to be monitored. Using the BestMatch optional module, AVT SpectraLab XF suggests possible actions on press and saves time as well as reducing the workload further,” said Guy. “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.