Keypoint Intelligence Launches a New Generation of Production Test Services

Reset subjects low-, mid-, and high-volume presses to a higher level of scrutiny

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06/07/2021

Priya Gohil

 

Today sees the official launch of our Production 2.0 and 2.0 LITE test service. A mammoth undertaking, it took at least a year in planning—skirting around the challenges of a pandemic, drawing on expertise across our organization, and building on critical feedback from key vendors and industry figures. Underpinned by a steely determination to get the program up and running, the main architect and driving force of the product—David Sweetnam, Keypoint Intelligence’s Director of EMEA/Asia Research & Lab Services—is not one to let things lie.

 

“Our Production 1.0 test program took off in 2007 and, over the intervening years, has been successful and well received, generating over 13 million clicks during testing of more than 50 devices, and encountering multiple generations of product development,” Sweetnam said. “But, as with anything, as the industry grew, needs changed. We had to evolve and transform our testing to reflect on the heightened performance features and capabilities of machines in the field today. Our goal was to design a service that elevated mid- and high-volume production digital presses to a new level of scrutiny.”

 

Test Advancements and Improvements

This ground-up makeover culminated in a sophisticated Production 2.0 test matrix that now runs over a five-day period (twice the duration of the original field test program) and includes more challenging, real-world media runnability tasks, as well as more demanding print workflows. Production run length speed tests have increased from 60 to 90 minutes, allowing the program to go upstream and be relevant to the heavy production sector, as well. A mix of media types are employed, including textured and single-sided, coated heavy card stock that allows us to see the impact different media has on a device’s performance.

 

“One of the largest areas of improvement we have seen over the last 12 years is the degree of sophistication around digital press self-adjustment,” Sweetnam said. “The old test methods simply looked at color drift on a 1,000-page print run based on 15 colors. With Production 2.0, we monitor how well devices can handle this critical business issue by tracking color drift across 42 different colors as well as image registration drift—front to back and page to page—over each of these long production runs, comparing results every 30 minutes back to the first page out. It is only by performing at a very high standard across all these criteria over all six production runs that our coveted 5 Star Image Stability rating will now be awarded.”

 

We have also partnered with Solimar Systems, which has worked with us to develop a selection of challenging new complex RIP tests to assess device performance when handling non-optimized and optimized PDF variable data files.

 

Usability analysis has also been enhanced. There is more focus on device quality control and best practice processes, including engine linearization, G7 calibration, and spot color management. Based on industry feedback, key operator tasks are now assessed as profitability takes a hit if a machine is down waiting for part replacements.

 

In addition, image quality evaluations have been supplemented with corporate logo PANTONE spot color matching, coated and uncoated media color gamut analysis, as well as more in-depth halftone imagery reproduction.

 

Light production devices haven’t been left behind. Production 2.0 LITE is specially devised for light volume and fast professional office/CRD devices. It is broadly aligned with the more in-depth 2.0 test methodology, but has been adapted to accommodate the entry-level devices with shorter 60-minute speed tests, less demanding RIP tests, and lower benchmark expectations in areas such as media handling and advanced best practice usability.

 

Reporting and bliQ Pro

This radical transformation carries through to the creative deliverables, too. Production reports have been completely redesigned and are now in-line with Keypoint Intelligence’s other professional graphic arts test reports, offering a clean and more visually appealing layout, as well as easier readability.

 

Sample spread from a new Production 2.0 Field Test Report

 

Sample spread from a new Production 2.0 LITE Field Test Report

 

There will also be an eight-page booklet deliverable option that vendors can have converted into local languages at low cost as well as an e-book option—adding more powerful online viewing with embedded multimedia content.

 

bliQ Pro has also been overhauled to take advantage of all this additional test data and analysis. Subscribers are now able to compare multiple devices side by side and review a wealth of productivity and image quality test data, plus immediately see the key findings for each section in a simple grid format.

 

A look at bliQ’s revamped Pro Module

 

Subscribers to bliQ Pro can log in to bliQ to see all these enhancements in action as well as new Production 2.0 reports. Not a subscriber? No problem. Just send us an email at sales@keypointintelligence.com for more info.