Glossary of Print Inspection Terms
Learn more about print quality and data integrity inspection terms commonly used in the Print Industry.
When printing transactional documents (statements, & Bills) or variable data labels (e.g. Shipping labels) with variable delivery addresses, a camera inspection system is used to verify that the address is readable, printed in the correct location and format (street, city, postcode/ZIP code, country), and is accordance with the requirements of the postal service (e.g. USPS, Royal Mail, etc.) being used. Any errors could result in the mail item being lost, delayed or rejected by the postal service. The camera system will also verify any postal barcodes (e.g. USPS’s IMB and Royal Mail’s MailMark) and match against a database and with the printed address to ensure that integrity is being maintained.
Area Scan Cameras
Area scan cameras are designed to provide high resolution, 2D images, using the latest high-resolution sensors that offer quality monochrome, color sensors that are sensitive to normal, infrared or UV light. Lake Image Systems uses a range of Area scan cameras that capture images of a defined area and at set intervals (or repeats) based on trigger marks on the paper. Our Area scan cameras are ideal for reading codes on moving substrates that are always at a certain location and therefore easier to set-up and configure. In addition, for inspecting larger print areas, multiple area scan images can be stitched together.
Automated Camera Inspection
Automated camera inspection systems are equipped with single or multiple cameras/scanners that capture good quality images that are analyzed to detect printing defects. These systems are implemented on a high-speed production printer, press, finishing equipment or inserter to either automatically monitor print quality, detect variable data errors or production errors such as sequencing, missing or duplicate items, in real-time and without human intervention. If an error is detected, the Camera Inspection System can stop the equipment or jog/tab/divert the item and produce a detailed error report. Automated Camera Inspection systems are required for high-speed critical mail production (statements, bills, invoices, etc.), security documents (ID documents, certificates, vouchers, etc.), Security labels (authentication, shipping, tax stamps, etc.) and plastic cards and gaming applications. These systems minimize production costs through avoiding reprint, reruns, and waste, and protect data privacy and prevent fraud, security and other criminal activity.
What is a Barcode
A barcode essentially is a way to encode information in a visual pattern that a machine can read. The combination of black and white bars (elements) represents different text characters that follow a set algorithm for that barcode type. If you change the sequence of elements you get a different text.
A barcode scanner reads this pattern of black and white that is then turned into a line of text your computer can understand.
What is a Barcode Verification
Barcode verification gives organizations the reassurance and confidence that the bar code will perform as intended at all stages of the product’s supply chain.
What is Barcode Grading
Barcode grading gives a measure of the first-time scan rate which determines its quality, through decoding, measuring, and checking the format of the barcode.
Lake Image’s Multiscan Barcode Grading Tool measures specific characteristics of each barcode, compares to a benchmark, and grades it to a value ranging from (A-F or 4-0). This ANSI/ISO grade provides an indication, based on the print quality, of the likely scanning performance rate of the barcode throughout the supply chain. Typically, a barcode with a grade of A-C (or 4-3) is considered acceptable quality and is expected to be scannable anywhere and by anyone. It confirms to the barcode printer that they are producing barcodes to the required quality level.
Batch or Collation Control
When producing transactional mail (such as statements or bills) or pages for a booklet, each set must be verified to ensure the correct sheets are collated and are in the right sequence before the set is either inserted into an envelope or finished into a booklet, book or magazine. Any errors in batching can result in missing, duplicate, out of sequence pages resulting in costly production reruns, reprints and waste and worse still, breaching data and privacy laws.
Card to Carrier Matching
Plastic cards such as banking, loyalty, telephone and gaming cards are attached to a personalized cover letter (carrier document). For automated high speed, high volume application, a camera inspection system is used to verify the card data matches the data on the carrier before the card is attached. Any mismatches causes the equipment to stop preventing the card from being sent to the wrong recipient.
Card Inspection System
An inspection system specifically configured to inspection the card for printing defects (scratches, ink marks, voids, etc) and incorrect or unreadable variable data (card numbers, account details, pins numbers, access codes etc.) on high-speed card personalization lines. This extends to verifying printed or embossed data on the card or data encoded on magnetic stripes against a database and/or ensuring sensitive data is bring fully conceded on scratch-off areas (gift or telephone cards)
Colour Verification (deltaE)
Normally a feature of an inspection system to verify that the colour of a specific print region remains within a configured range to a pre-defined colour reference (deltaE measurements). If the inspected colour derivates outside the range then the inspection system will either stop the press or mark or tab the web whether the error was detected. For closely coupled systems, the inspection result can be passed to the printer control, in real-time, to adjust print heads, recalibrate print or inkjet heads or performs a head cleaning process to rectify the problem.
Contact Image Sensor (CIS)
Contact Image Sensors are relatively new technology used for print inspection applications as alternatives to Line scan and area scan cameras. CIS uses a linear array of detectors (up to 1.5 meter in length), covered by focusing lenses and flanked by red, green, and blue LEDs for illumination which capture, high resolution (600 and 1200 dpi), undistorted images.