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Print inspection

Accurate print inspection is essential for consistently high-quality products when printing packaging materials. The demands on quality and performance are constantly increasing. In the pharmaceutical sector in particular, packaging, folding cartons, labels, or package inserts provide important information which, if defective, can cause health damage. Incorrect or imperfect information on pharmaceutical packaging is the most common reason for product recalls.

In the following, you will learn how print inspection technology reduces costs and increases productivity for manufacturers such as printing companiespharmaceutical producers,brand owners or design and prepress companies through technically advanced and reliable systems.

Print inspection
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What are the decisive reasons for a machine print inspection?

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Print inspection systems prevent consequential damage caused by faulty production. Certain product markings such as barcodes, Braille, or font sizes on packaging are subject to regulatory requirements that are standardised by certain DIN or ISO standards. These must always be fulfilled.

For special customer requirements, a simple visual inspection is not sufficient. Checking several languages on a packaging material, for example, may exceed the competencies of a single employee. A print inspection system is capable of examining the correctness of a large number of languages.

Technically sophisticated print inspection systems check both soft proofs and hard proofs for accuracy. Inspecting printed products with an automated print inspection system reduces waste and costs, optimises processes, improves the quality of products, and contributes to the manufacturer's good reputation.

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Print inspection and the parameters of packaging inspection

Different elements of the packaging can be subjected to a print inspection. In doing so, the systems check optical and physical aspects:

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Optical inspection

  • Font
    Is it legible? Technically sophisticated inspection systems are also able to check spelling and expression errors in several languages.
  • Graphics
    Are the graphic elements in the right place? Print inspection ensures that text elements, for example, are not obscured by graphics.
  • Colours
    Has the correct colour code been inserted? Corporate colours in particular represent an important recognition value.
  • Barcodes
    Print inspection includes 1D and 2D code checks. Defects such as an incorrect background or missing parts affect their readability.
  • Braille
    Braille is produced with an embossing technique. Its depth is checked in optical print inspection. Particularly, pharmaceutical packaging requires absolute correctness.
  • Punch contour and perforations
    Do the sections match the cutting marks and perforations? The embossing and contours are also checked optically.
  • Printed material
    The final printed result can be subjected to a machine print inspection.

Physical test

  • Wipe and rub resistance
    Are the colours permanently printed on the product?
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Thanks to advanced print inspection systems, all elements can be tested in one process.

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In which process step does print inspection avoid errors?

The production of printed products consists of different stages. A print inspection can be carried out at each individual stage of the process.

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Artwork inspection

In the artwork production stage, subsequent errors are avoided by checking different documents against each other. A relevant advantage: deviations are already detected before the printing process. ProofText is a tried-and-tested checking system.

Prepress inspection

Files are also compared in this production stage: The artwork and the print document are compared with the aid of Proofiler Graphic, for example. Any discrepancies are then detected before plate production.

Print inspection

Print inspection takes place here in the printing process. Print samples in the form of multi-page documents and elements such as print images, codes, and Braille are compared with a reference file. This process is part of both quality assurance and production. A popular tool for scanner-based checking is the EyeC Proofiler.

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Output inspection

In this section, spot checks of finished prints in production and finishing are common. ProofRunner performs the print inspection in this area.

Incoming inspection

Scanner-based inspection is also performed here with the Proofiler. The systems enable printers to carry out a full print inspection in order to be able to guarantee flawless deliveries.

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Advantages of using print inspection systems

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Advantages of machine print inspection

A machine print inspection ensures reliable results throughout the print job. Printing problems are detected during production and can be corrected. This has decisive advantages:

  • reduction of material waste
  • avoidance of costly reprints and overproduction
  • greater planning reliability
  • better warranty for customers
  • greater accuracy than the human eye
  • traceability of defects through comprehensive inspection report and audit trailing
  • better image and more customer satisfaction
  • time saving due to the inspection of several parameters in one step
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Ashley Madden

EyeC America

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