Exciting Development in Inkjet: Extended Color Gamut

Studies indicate that 90 percent of snap judgments made about products are based on color alone.

One of the most exciting recent developments at Engineered Printing Solutions has been the expansion of process colors to singlepass machines.  Often called extended gamut machines, the addition of orange, green, and violet allows for the printing of many more colors than CMYK alone, without the use of spot colors.

Why Extended Gamut?

The demand for extended color gamuts largely parallels the adoption of digital part-decoration over traditional analog methods.  Historically, printers using analog methods such as offset, screen, or pad printing have added spot colors to achieve precisely the results their customers demanded.  By contrast, industrial inkjet printers have historically  built up color using just cyan, magenta, yellow, and black.  This simplifies printer design, but by using just these four colors, many colors in the visible spectrum are unachievable.

extended color gamut

The addition of orange, green, and violet greatly extends the color gamut over CMYK alone.

Expanding from CMYK to CMYKOVG is the most common method of extending the gamut. Typically, in CMYK process there have been gaps or smaller defined areas of the deep green, bright orange or violet shades. Adding these colors to the process results in a broader range of colors available to print via inkjet. Dense reds such as the one used in the Coca-Cola™ logo have also presented challenges with traditional CMYK process.  The addition of orange, green, and violet make that color more achievable without having to increase resolution or ink builds.

The addition of orange, green, and violet significantly expands the possible gamut, allowing more vivid designs and greater possibilities for economic short runs.  The more colors achievable, the more products you can run, and the better you can serve your customers.

As the conversion from analog to digital becomes more widespread, customers are beginning to require higher quality images to convert. Some are requiring colors that are typically difficult with just CMYK. Others are simply looking to duplicate the colors already in place using current offset/analog systems.

What Are the Drawbacks of an Extended Color Gamut?

The print engine itself is the most costly part of most print systems, so additional print heads along with their concomitant costs such as necessary ink management systems will add to the price of a print system.  OEM and contract part decorators will have to make their own ROI calculation based on the size of runs, the number of SKUs to run, and the desired image quality.  Fortunately, our Sales Engineers have helped many customers with just this sort of calculus, and are eager to help you design your next printing solution.

Want to learn more about extended color gamuts? Drop us a line!

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