"We take an obsessive and perfectionist approach to colour . "
From a strong background in advertising and graphic design, Whirlwind Print has always placed a premium on great colo ur .The national trade printer has established a firm reputation for quality, forging close relationships with clients at brand management and national franchise level as well as a trusted network of trade customers. As they admit: "We take an obsessive and perfectionist approach to colour .”
It was this obsession for perfect colo ur that first led the family business to transition from graphic design into print, and several presses later into becoming ISO 12647-2 certified. The current press complement comprises a Komori S40 ten colour plus a new Komori G840-P perfecting eight- colour with H-UV curing that delivers dry, ready-to-finish sheets directly off the press.
David Crowther – also known as ‘the Colour Doctor’ – of Colour Graphic Services first certified Whirlwind as a Mellow Colour ISO 12647-2 Proficient Printer in 2011 and the company has faithfully kept up with the six-monthly audits to maintain certification through several changes in the press hall. Such is Whirlwind’s commitment to perfect colour , it is one of a select few printers globally who have earned membership of the ‘Mellow Colour 100 Club.’ Colour Graphic Services represent Mellow Colour in Australasia. The addition of the new Komori B1 eight- colour H-UV press and retirement of a previous Komori B2 five- colour , necessitated re-certification to ISO standards.
Colour Graphic Services principal and ISO auditor, Crowther explains: "Mellow Colour 100 Club Membership is awarded to ISO 12647 Proficient Printers that can provide PrintSpec Reports made from recent production print runs that show a score of 100. This means that the Company is capable of producing work 100% in compliance with the tight targets and tolerances of the Mellow Colour Quality Management system. "
He continues: "The scoring system is heavily biased towards grey balance and consistent scoring of 80 is considered excellent by major print procurement companies and brand managers. The 100 Club award is valid for 12 months following submission to Mellow Colour of a dated production print sample scoring 100%, and Whirlwind Print has achieved this.”
ON-TIME, WHATEVER THE WEATHER
Whirlwind’s Pre-Print operator Glenn Stevens comments: "We utilize the Australian-developed Metrix programme for our gang-printed work. One B1 sheet might contain a dozen jobs, so tight colour control is absolutely essential. With ISO 12647, Whirlwind gets the colour right to such an extent, that over ninety per cent of our customers are happy to approve jobs online using standard monitors, trusting Whirlwind to take care of colour .”
"We view everything under controlled D50 lighting and use X-Rite i1 spectrophotometers to measure colour , along with press-side scanning spectrophotometry. The training we received, and the six-monthly audits, keep us right up to date because colour can drift at any moment in time,” says Stevens. "Eliminating colour issues helps in the overall service-to-customer we achieve. Most jobs go out the day after they are received.”
On the walls of Whirlwind’s meeting room where Glenn Stevens is explaining his employer’s approach to colour , are five framed posters summarising the company philosophy. They read: Integrity and Honesty; Personal Excellence; Responsibility; Passion and Respect. "These are our company values and just about sum up where our approach to colour is too,” says Stevens, "all five mottos apply to the colour in every job we print.”
With the arrival of the new Komori eight- colour perfector with coater, new challenges emerged. Komori’s H-UV technology means that different inks must be used, and the instant-dry coated sheets print with differing colour characteristics to the older ten- colo ur Komori without H-UV. Colo ur Graphic Services’ challenge was to bring both presses into ISO 12647 specification , and also to make them print similarly.
"With two differing print technologies and the addition of coat ing , appearance is bound to be diff erent but both presses are ISO certified in their output,” says Crowther. "I understand the older Komori may be replaced with another H-UV model and if this happens, the output appearance from both presses will be identical.”
COLOUR IS KING AT WHIRLWIND
Andrew Cester , who started Whirlwind as a family business 1996, is justifiably proud of his firm’s growth. "We are now in a modern nine-thousand square metr e factory facility here at Knoxfield on the outskirts of Melbourne, with plenty of room for growth. Our Sydney sales office is bringing in huge volumes of work and we have a national footprint. For very short runs, we have added digital with a Xerox iGen 150 and our passion for colo ur extends to all processes. Colo ur is the most subjective aspect in the printing process and our implementation of ISO 12647 is delivering on all fronts,” he says.
"We strive to deliver the best quality and ultimate value at every customer touch point, particularly where colo ur is concerned; ensuring the most convenient service whether the print run is for 100 or 10,000. Our online strategy – w3p – is there to make it even easier for clients to do business with us and order products. However, we don’t intend to become all things to all people.”
Touring Whirlwind Print’s factory, the impression is gained of a vibrant, dynamic company that quietly gets along with its day-to-day activities in calm confidence and with a sharp eye on the future; the ‘whirlwind’ is in fast job turn-arounds and a storm of brilliant colours – the things clients appreciate. "Our print work for national franchise chains is growing,” Cester explains, "and there are very tight controls on colour consistency. The brand managers know they can trust us with their valuable brand image – there’s no excuse for a ‘bad day at the office’ here.”
David Crowther sums up his Whirlwind project: "It is an on-going source of great pleasure to be working with a printer who is so passionate about colour . I feel very much at home speaking with Whirlwind people since they share my own passion for getting colour right every time and soaking up the training, measurement and disciplines needed to maintain Mellow Colour ISO 12647 Proficient Printer and Mellow Colour 100 Club certification.”
"Mellow Colour in Europe and Asia is being called on increasingly by brand managers to ensure colour consistency for their packaging and marketing print from a variety of printers. It’s beginning to happen in Australia and it will be companies like Whirlwind who will reap the benefits because they are well-prepared and capable of ISO 12647 quality print.”
Eye on the Storm
Quick facts on Whirlwind Print
Ownership: Private – Cester family
Locations: Knoxfield, Victoria (production)
Surrey Hills, NSW (sales office)
Presses: 2 x Komori B1s, 8 colour perfector and 10 colour
Prepress : Kodak CtP; Trillian plates
Bindery: Various, all in-house
Colour Assurance: Colour Graphic Services and Mellow Colour .