The Lowdown on Hi-Fi Color
But the biggest benefit is for publishers who use multiple PMS spot colors in their print jobs. Printing presses configured for Hexachrome enable jobs with multiple spot colors to run under one ink configuration, allowing more jobs to be printed each day, without necessitating press wash-ups between jobs.
Help with Color Management
Hexachrome does require a higher level of color management. You may opt to hire a consultant, however it is your color separator and/or printer that would use a consultant's services for training, and they, in turn, would help you.
Printers have to be certified by Pantone to use their system, and they must submit a test form to Pantone to get licensed. Ink manufacturers also need to meet strict standards to achieve Hexachrome certification.
Although Hexachrome has been used on sheetfed presses since 1995 for projects ranging from packaging to posters, is Hi-Fi printing an option for web offset?
The Graphic Arts Center in San Francisco is said to be the first to use it for high-volume web offset printing. They faced a challenge familiar to many web printers: How do you accurately match colors to products with one pass without incurring the cost of multiple spot colors?
For high-quality and multiple-color projects, they still use a Hi-Fi process. However, Ken Clark, marketing director at the Graphic Arts Center, says that while they still offer it, they really don't sell too much of it.
Peacock Colors, Inc. in Butler, Wis., "stopped making the Hexachrome ink sets years ago because it was unprofitable," says Cliff Bloom, the company's president. "We had [fewer] and [fewer] customers to sell to." As a matter of fact, Bloom questions the future of all sheetfed offset printing, "In the future I cannot see sheetfed presses competing economically with the new digital technology."