Pantone launches cloud-based colour management tool for packaging sector

PantoneLive, which has been developed in partnership with Esko and Sun Chemical, enables all phases of the packaging design process to access common digital colour definitions and aims to reduce complexity and re-work.

It uses Esko’s Colour Engine database to manage colour and device profiles and to support the colour management process across the packaging pre-press workflow.

Sun Chemical is to withdraw its SmartColour colour management system from the marketplace and transfer all current customer licenses to PantoneLive.

The new tool features a standard library, which includes all of the colours from Pantone Plus and the Pantone Matching System, and brand owners will also be able to create specific colour palettes and store them in the system. They will also be able to use the digital library to identify colour specifications based on substrates, print processes, inks and application methods.

PantoneLive creates spectral definitions for each colour, which are then stored in the system and organised by brand, products or campaigns. Brand owners can then select the digitised palettes and associated substrates and administer who can access the palette across the supply chain.

Designers and pre-press teams can access to the brand’s digital colour palette using Adobe Illustrator. In pre-press PantoneLive is integrated directly into the workflow to enable the printing of colour accurate files, proofs and printing tools prior to manufacturing.

While Esko and Sun Chemical are PantoneLive’s preferred partners, the tool will not be restricted to companies that use Esko workflow solutions or Sun Chemical inks.

Companies that have trialled the new tool, which will be commercially available from June 15, include Heinz, which wanted to standardise the colour of its Heinz Beans packaging across all of the substrates it uses, and consumer packaging manufacturer Chesapeake, which said it managed to reduce colour variation by 84% on one job, leading to zero rejections from the print run.

Esko’s director of software engines Geert de Proost, said: “This is the first time that the same digital ink specification can be used throughout the entire packaging supply chain. It guarantees consistent colour reproduction from design through production, a goal that has been difficult to achieve in the past.”

PantoneLive is the first service offered by the Pantone Digital Business Unit, a newly created division of X-Rite. Visitors to Esko’s stand at Drupa (Hall 8b, stand A23) can see PantoneLive being demonstrated.

An annual subscription to the Pantonelive database starts at $99 (£63) for a designer, $1,150 (£730) for pre-production and from $2,000 to $2,650 (£1,275 to £1,690) for production.

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