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VIGC launches tools to achieve lower TAC: ICC profiles and Max TAC Evaluation Kit

The Flemish Innovation Centre for Graphic Communication (VIGC) is to launch two important tools to achieve ink savings: the ICC profiles that VIGC developed and its Max TAC Evaluation Kit. There was a strong response to the study by the organization that found total area coverage (TAC) of 260% - or even 220% - is adequate as long as the conversion is carried out with the correct profiles. To ensure the correct profiles are used, the VIGC is to distribute its Max TAC ICC profiles free of charge. And the Max TAC Evaluation Kit is a tool that will convince everybody of the quality of a lower TAC.

Eddy Hagen, VIGC Director, comments: "Our test clearly showed that a lower TAC can deliver more than adequate results and enable print service providers to make huge cost savings on inks."

“However, the conversion to lower TAC must be done using the appropriate ICC profiles. This is why we have invested time in optimising the ICC profiles during tests. We believe strongly in helping graphic art companies operate more cost-effectively, and will be distributing the VIGC Max TAC ICC profiles free of charge in four different maximum TAC values, and in ICC version 2 and 4 profiles. This will allow print companies to choose the option that best suits their needs."

Didier Haazen, senior innovation consultant and PDF expert, adds: "A condition of this way of working, of course, is that the print company receives RGB images e.g. RGB PDFs. Currently this is often not the case. Nearly everyone works with a CMYK workflow, where the conversion from RGB to CMYK takes place early on in the process. There used to be good reasons for this, but with the latest tools this conversion can be reliably accomplished right at the end."

“We’ve conducted some tests with RGB workflows and it’s definitely possible, if everything takes place based on the rules of the state-of-the-art. With the new VIGC Max TAC ICC profiles, users will have the option of converting right at the very end of the process to well known target colour space (ISO 12647-2 / FOGRA39) with an appropriate TAC."

Convincing the industry to work with lower TAC

The VIGC Max TAC Evaluation Kit has been developed to highlight how much print providers can save on ink if they change to lower TAC, without compromising quality.

"The VIGC Max TAC Evaluation Kit comprises three fairly critical images that have been converted using four different TACs and printed on three different types of paper,” continues Hagen. “Each image only has a code, and the maximum TAC can only be found in the documentation to ensure an objective evaluation."

“Ink represents approximately 2% to 5% of a print company’s total costs. If you could save on 10% of the ink because of adjusted profiles, you’re talking serious figures. Plus there are other benefits, such as fewer problems with drying, ink setting off and finishing.”