Wading through all of the international standards for graphics printing can be a daunting task. Ruff's assessment of their purpose can help you better understand their value.
By Mike Ruff
Ugra is another specification. Ugra is the Association for the Promotion of Research in the Graphic Arts Industry. This association operates the Swiss Center of Competence for Media and Printing Technology, which took over the printing, paper, and packaging activities from EMPA, St. Gallen, Switzerland, and has been an independent organization since January 1, 2005. Ugra itself has an accreditation according to ISO 17025, and it will obtain the same accreditation for its certification according to ISO 12647 activities.
Due to the knowledge from the collaboration in the ISO standardization committees, Ugra is able to certify all kinds of services, devices, and companies. The certification is always based on the relevant ISO standards of the graphic-arts industry. Ugra issues the following certificates: Proofer, according to ISO 12647-7; Displays, according to ISO 12646; PDF/X Data Production, according to ISO 15930; and Printing, according to ISO 12647. Ugra also certifies printing and prepress companies, according to ISO 12647. Prints must fulfill the requirements of ISO 12647-2. Again, we see conformation to ISO standards.
General Requirements for Applications of Commercial Offset Litho, or GRACoL (thank goodness for acronyms), is also not a standard. It is a specification created by Alexandria, VA-based IDEAlliance, which evolved from the 40-year-old Graphic Communication Association. In the last two years GRACoL has launched a number of certification programs to advance the adoption of the specification. The claim is that these industrial programs serve as a Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval for consultants, training programs, and tools that support IDEAlliance specifications and best practices.
GRACoL was created to move the litho industry forward to a better color than what was possible in the sheet-fedlitho industry. IDEAlliance states that it did not attempt to create a new standard, but instead utilized and extended existing ISO Standards ISO 2846-1 (Ink) and ISO 12647-2 (Litho Printing) to meet the business requirements of its membership. The move worked well. And here again, we see a link to ISO standards. However, GRACoL still specified that different appearances are needed based on line count and substrate. We don’t need these different appearances. Just give us a coated sheet and a fresh pot of coffee and we will hit whatever standard or specification you want us to hit. Please! Not so many choices!
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