Interview with Patrick Hübel, Head of Colour Service Europe at hubergroup

Extending the HDCC colour management system with digital print folders

HDCC colour management system
The HDCC colour management system introduced four years ago has now been expanded to include digital colour charts (Source: hubergroup)

In packaging printing, colour accuracy, speed, and cost-effective production are decisive. To enable an even more efficient production with 100% colour accuracy, hubergroup Print Solutions is now launching digital print folders based on the technology of GMG ColorCard. Thanks to the complete integration into the company’s colour in-house developed management system HDCC, hubergroup offers a fully automated digital print folder communication.

Efficient colour management

The already established system HDCC (“hubergroup Digital Colour Communication”) serves as the basis for digital colour communication. The patented system does not only store colour and recipe data, but also takes existing data into account and prevents duplications. This avoids multiple elaborations of the same colour. Additionally, HDCC features a quality control process relying on digitally stored master colour data as well as highly stable standard paper.


Reliable, fast, detailed

As an extension to HDCC, hubergroup now integrates digital print folders which allow faster, location-independent, and therefore cost-effective processing. “Tests showed that our digital print folders can be processed more efficiently than their analogue predecessor in terms of colour accuracy, reproducibility, and lightfastness. This allows a faster production and more flexibility,” reports Heinz Aumüller, responsible for Prepress and Process Standardisation at hubergroup. “The digital print folder is fully integrated into our HDCC system. Therefore, it is verified based on the final physical match and follows the same verification rules as the analogue print folder.”

The HDCC colour management system – how does it work and what are the advantages?

An interview with Patrick Hübel, Head of Colour Service Europe at hubergroup

The same colour all over the world! This sounds simple, but often it is not. A team of hubergroup employees has therefore put a lot of thought into how to change that. The result was the HDCC colour management system. It has been launched four years ago and has since ensured standardization for many of the company’s customers.

Patrick Hübel, Head of Colour Service Europe at hubergroup,
Patrick Hübel

What is HDCC?

Patrick Hübel: HDCC stands for hubergroup Digital Colour Communication and is a colour management system that we developed in cooperation with together with software designer ColorConsulting. In HDCC, we store all the colours and recipes that we develop in the package printing sector, up to now primarily for the sheet-fed offset process. So far, we have stored more than 140,000 colours. But HDCC is more than just a recipe database. The software can search for a colour recipe on the basis of certain parameters. If no suitable colour is found, a recipe can be calculated with the help of the linked x-rite Inkformulation software for fast, accurate, consistent creation, storage, approval and reuse of ink formulations for flexo, gravure, screen and offset printing.

How does HDCC works in concrete terms?

Patrick Hübel: Customers send us their target colour – this may be digitally or an analogue sample such as a cloth or even a lipstick. Before start working on a recipe, HDCC is searched to see if the recipe already exists. To do so, the target colour is entered and the substrate, the printing process, the finishing as well as any specific customer restrictions are selected. Based on this, HDCC searches the database for suitable recipes. If a recipe is found, a print folder can be created. If no suitable recipe is available yet, a new recipe can be created directly via the connection to the InkFormulation software.

What is the advantage of HDCC for your customers?

Patrick Hübel: HDCC is a standardisation programme with which we ensure that our customers receive the colour they want for their specific printing condition all over the world. This is possible because all locations have access to the same, verified information.

What is the difference to other software solutions?

Patrick Hübel: Unlike conventional databases, HDCC takes existing data into account and ensures that it is not duplicated. The software finds connections between colour tones and colour recipes and even includes colours that deviate slightly but are below the defined tolerance limit. For example, if you want to have green on a yellow paper, you print with blue ink. If the recipe for this blue ink already exists, HDCC recognises this and displays the corresponding recipe. As a result, we can work faster and more efficient as there are no repeated elaborations. This also allows faster production and more flexibility for our customers.

Another advantage is in quality control. With production at several locations, it is often difficult for customers to ensure the same quality everywhere. Therefore, we make a press proof on a highly stable standard paper during the finishing process of the ink, in addition to the customer proof. This proof is electronically measured into the HDCC as a standard. Each production site can then also print the recipe on the standard paper on site and measure it against the electronic standard in the system.

What does the future of HDCC look like?

Patrick Hübel: The next step for HDCC is the connection to the software for digital print folders. This interface will enable digital print folders to be printed directly from HDCC. But my team is also working on further developments, so you will hear more about this shortly.