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  • Finsbury Green, one of Australia's most respected printers, has completed the upgrading of its multi-colour Heidelberg presses using PrintFlow closed-loop colour control, Techkon colour measuring and Mellow Colour PrintSpec reporting - all implemented by David Crowther of Colour Graphic Services.

    "The whole Printflow - PrintSpec-Techkon upgrading has revolutionised the way we do colour control." - David Schoemaker, Print Supervisor

    No Australian printer can claim the environmental credentials of Finsbury Green which, since 2002, has pursued a sustainability programme that extends to rating its suppliers and their contributions as to the environment. Since the late Ernie Orel started the business in 1973, he and his sons Mark and Peter have earned the business one of the most respected reputations of any medium-to-large scale printer. A Finsbury Green Sustainability Report has been published every year since 2004, with the list of awards and recognition too vast to even précis here.

    With its main Thebarton site near the banks of Adelaide's Torrens River, also known as the Karrawirra Parri (Redgum Forest River) by the original Kaurna indigenous owners; Finsbury Green is a textbook example of pro-active environmental management in the printing industry. Ninety-seven percent of all inks and varnishes used are vegetable-based. Isopropyl alcohol has all but been eliminated from production; electricity is astutely managed using advanced voltage optimisation and Power Factor Correction.

    No waste is sent to landfill, with careful separation of paper, plastics, electronic components etcetera, for ultimate recycling. It comes as no surprise that ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 standards are maintained and updated at both Finsbury's production plants - Adelaide and Melbourne and also at its Sydney sales and logistics operation.

    A 2017 move into digital saw Finsbury acquire renowned Adelaide Indigo user Digi.we.do, with staff and equipment moving into the Thebarton site and continuance of the catchy business name.

    But, Finsbury Green's 'uber-environmental' philosophy extends into offset presses too.

    Maximising Existing Resources

    Finsbury Green's two B1 presses - a Heidelberg CD 102 six colour and CD 102 five colour had been purchased in the early 2000s and had been very well maintained but lacked closed-loop colour control. According to Robbie D'Angelo, national manufacturing manager, David Crowther proved to be the man for the job. "Around the time of the GFC, we started looking at our presses and whether we should upgrade but the high capex and uncertainty of the times made us ask 'what can we do with or existing presses?' It was around this time that we made contact with Colour Graphics Services and David Crowther," he said.

    By mid-2012 both the Adelaide and Melbourne production sites had achieved Mellow Colour ISO 12647-2 Proficient Printer certification, reducing waste and getting the best ISO standard colour out of Finsbury Green's existing presses.

    According to David Crowther both sites quickly realised the benefits of having a colour quality system in place as a culture of colour excellence developed in key staff and the team generally - enthusiastically supported by management. "As the six-monthly audits took place, measurable continuous improvement took place across prepress, proofing, plate making and on presses. Viewing conditions were standardized to ISO 3664 and ISO 12647-2 reporting using Mellow Colour's PrintSpec application ensured that procedures, colour measurement, training and records were gathered and collated," he said.

    While at drupa 2016, Director Mark Orel visited the stand of PrintFlow, a Bratislava, Slovak Republic company with a good record of modernizing printing presses using closed-loop colour control and CIP3 based ink pre-setting. Over 3,000 presses worldwide had been upgraded with Printflow products and Orel saw the potential to breathe new life into his existing fleet.

    It was at this same drupa that David Crowther inked an agreement with Printflow to represent its colour control products in Australia. A proposal was drawn up to install Printflow closed-loop colour control on one of the CD 102 Heidelbergs, but first Finsbury Green wanted to transition to ?the latest ISO 12647-2:2013 colour standard, which Crowther and Colour Graphic Services managed.

    Printflow on Trial

    In September 2017 a 60-day trial of Printflow on the CD 102-6c commenced. "When the trial period ended, Finsbury Green's make-ready times were cut by half and colour consistency improved for all short, medium and long run jobs. Being very happy with the results, Finsbury Green ordered two Printflow systems, with the second one completed on the CD 102-5c by February 2018. The overall project has delivered tangible benefits to the business and was made easier by Finsbury Green's highly professional staff and management.

    From the factory floor to the highest management level, commitment, courtesy and clear communication has made this project a pleasure," said Crowther.

    The installation includes two Techkon SpectroDrive scanning press-side spectrophotometers for total accuracy in measuring colour bars, Mellow Colour Flatline modules for PrintSpec to enable the press-side data generated by the Techkon SpectroDrives to be input to PrintSpec for ISO 12647-2:2013 reporting and the Printflow DC software interfaces for each press.

    Finsbury Green's print supervisor, David Schoemaker says: "The whole Printflow - PrintSpec-Techkon upgrading has revolutionised the way we do colour control. Before, there were always variables as we measured production sheets with hand-held spectrophotometers and densitometers. Today, we have added a layer of automation that basically renders colour issues a thing of the past."

    Robbie and David in Press Room

    Robbie and David

    Finsbury Green joins the '100 Club'

    This is backed up by Robbie D'Angelo. "With the state of the print market where budgets are contracting and deadlines are shorter, we needed to find new ways to sustain our existing customers and connect with new ones. We have successfully been doing this with our approach to environmental issues. Now we are able to be more responsive, accept even shorter runs because of less make-ready time reduce waste even further and guarantee our customers get predictable, consistent colour. The remarkable thing is, we have achieved all this – with David's guidance of course – on our existing presses with our legacy workflow – Prinergy 8.1 and with minimal disruption to the running of the business," he said.

    Introducing such precise colour control is particularly pleasing for press operators such as Vinod Prasad. Achieving high scores in PrintSpec reports means that all the processes are being followed. Anything over 70 percent is a ‘pass.' Over 90 percent is exceptional, but the magic number of 100 percent is rarely achieved and when it is, a printer qualifies for the Mellow Colour ‘100 Club.'

    "The Mellow Colour 100 Club certificate is awarded to printers who can produce consistent print that conforms to 100% of the tight tolerances of ISO 12647, and the demanding Mellow Colour grey balance requirements," said Crowther. "This makes Mellow Colour trained printers a reliable choice for brands & print buyers. Some of the world's leading brands are now seeking suppliers with ISO 12647-2:2013 compliance and also the 100 Club Certification, which lasts for twelve months from certification and then has to be re-certified. I am delighted to say that Finsbury Green Adelaide is in the 100 Club."

    There is a saying, what is old becomes new again.The rejuvenation of Finsbury Green's press fleet with full colour automation is living proof that you don't need to splash out millions to remain competitive in the printing industry.