Chemical colours in a laboratory wasn’t enough

This is an old photo from around 2008, for a very large garment manufacturer called Lane Walker Rudkin (no longer exists unfortunately) who was the manufacturing plant for Adidas sportswear and previously Canterbury Clothing.
Lane Walker Rudkin was a multi-national company with manufacturing facilities in Australia and New Zealand, with their headquarters in Christchurch.
Their history was in chemically dying textiles to create coloured fabrics that were sewn into garments. They even had their own functioning chemical laboratory creating the dies and testing.
As technology had progressed they had moved to digital textile printing in a large way with 5 large format dye-sublimation printers in New Zealand and 8 more in Brisbane Australia.
The problem they identified was that while they had standard colours that they had produced chemically for a long time, they were struggling to standardise and achieve the same on the digital printers. Different printers gave different results to each other, different fabrics gave different colour, and they even used different textiles between countries due to significantly different climate considerations.
They had a mammoth issue at hand that was exacerbated with the decision to change to a new ink manufacturer, that of course again gave different colour results to everything they’d done before.
It was extremely obvious to them that they needed a process to bring everything into control and some form of consistency and standardisation.
At that stage their Project manager contacted me and asked if it was something that I could supply a solution for as I was experienced with a lot of textile calibration and profiling. I tendered a quote and we proceeded.
Everything had to be tested and standardised across every device in production across both countries. I wasn’t to know as I started the project but I ended up dedicating a full 3 months to this project including many trips between countries.
I had to educate their staff on systems such as Pantone Matching System (or PMS) and define what their traditional chemical colours were in PMS so we could communicate these colours universally across locations, devices, and software.
I had to train all of their design staff who were at that early stage using manual device CMYK values in Corel draw about spot colour mapping and workflow.
And of course the biggest task of all, every single fabric had to be calibrated on every single device across both countries.
Once everything was calibrated and Pantone perfect I then had to implement an ongoing re-calibration workflow to maintain consistency and allow for climate and device fluctuation.
The end result was incredible and they were able to load overflow the same job to the other country, splitting production of the same garnet job between location and when all brought together for delivery the results matched and were perfect.
I am unable to prove it, but I believe this was the largest digital textile calibration project ever undertaken.
Can anyone calibrate a printer – SURE
Is everyone’s experience equal – NO
Will everyone’s end result be the same – NO

I have many calibration success stories like this one, contact me for a quote on your calibration requirements by messaging this page. I offer my services anywhere in the world

Michael Rooney – Colour Dojo Head Colour Ninja

LWR ColourGuru

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