Large format print business VGL is a technology-driven company that required a more mature and streamlined approach to colour.
Particularly across their retail and transport work, they needed the confidence that colour would be reproduced accurately as well as consistently over time. That’s why they turned to GMG ColorServer Digital to keep colours consistent across a dozen large format digital devices as well as a small format SRA3-size Indigo.
Founded in 1976, VGL is located across three sites in Reading, where their digital and screen-printing operations produce print for applications including retail, transport, outdoor media and display. The GMG software is used at their two digital printing sites at Elgar Road and Smallmead. The initial driver for VGL to install GMG was colour control, with VGL Managing Director, Daniel Field, referring to GMG as “a brand respected for decades in colour”. It soon became apparent to VGL that the software would also make them more efficient, both in terms of time and process waste.
Daniel Field comments further: “Consistency over time of brand reproduction is essential for us across all the sectors we deal in. When you’re recreating retail brands, you’re a custodian of those brand colours, and the ability to produce them accurately time and time again is paramount. With commercial fleet, you have multiple vehicles that all need to be uniform in colour”. VGL has several roll-to-roll machines printing transport vinyl, which all run the same jobs on the same materials, making this a focus area for colour consistency, with other applications being fabrics, dye sublimation and flatbeds using rigid boards.
When reprinting damaged fleet graphics, VGL previously found it more difficult and time-consuming to achieve consistent colours to the original print job. GMG ColorServer has not only sped up the process, but it’s also made results more consistent, providing complete confidence with replacement panel production. That’s because the built-in and accurate calibration function from GMG SmartProfiler allows VGL to quickly and easily recalibrate to a reference condition for stable print behaviour, and to compensate colour drifts for variations of substrate colour/white points and different print modes.
With their retail POS print, VGL’s production spans different processes, presses and, crucially, multiple materials – including cards, plastics and recycled boards. VGL’s Technical Director, Rupert Dadd explains why they needed to manage colour and automate the process in this area: “The old way of doing it before GMG was to run test prints for presses you’re printing similar materials on and make manual adjustments for each of those machines to get them all aligned. Whereas GMG does all that work beforehand, so it doesn’t need to be done on every single job. The GMG system is easier to use with fewer steps to create a profile; Traditionally, you’d be losing a machine for significant periods, whereas with GMG, it’s undertaken at speed.” The majority of jobs print within VGL’s 1 Delta E target tolerance first time, presenting substantial time and cost savings.
Using GMG ColorServer has delivered significant efficiencies in prepress for VGL. When any changes are made to the file input data, GMG ColorServer automatically converts RGB, CMYK, spot colours and mixed data for all presses and profiles, without VGL’s prepress team having to manually tweak colour data. Built-in spectral profiling from GMG OpenColor also provides superior spot colour separations and allows for precise prediction and optimised test charts for the business’ digital printing.
On working with GMG, Daniel Field summarises: “From the first conversation to the point of implementation, training and aftercare, it’s been an effortless relationship. The GMG team showed confidence in the products and offered them on a sale-by-results basis. Very early on, we knew GMG were going to completely deliver against the brief we’d provided.”
GMG Sales Manager, Paul Williams, was the main contact for VGL’s implementation of GMG software. He comments: “We were introduced to VGL as they’d been asked to match to FOGRA39 print conditions. It soon became apparent that they would also benefit from matching colour across devices and substrates, and that ColorServer Digital would solve both challenges. It’s been a pleasure helping VGL to achieve their colour goals.”