Harlequin Provides Precision screening as standard with Express RIP, as more and more people are interested on Digital printing with Ink Jet and High resolution output on CTP, there are two screening technologies being offered here which has significant importance, one is Harlequin Dispersed Screening (HDS), another is Harlequin Cross-Modulated Screening (HXM)

Dispersed Screening (HDS)

For outstanding print results in Offset Litho and High Resolution Inkjet applications you need Global Graphic’s patented Harlequin Dispersed Screening (HDS).

Sharp brightHDS Stochastic screening resolves many of the quality issues, such as moiré, mid- tone jump and banding that conventional screening methods have failed to answer. Legacy problems usually experienced with FM (Frequency Modulated) technologies such as graininess, dot gain, dot loss, and system slowness have been solved by the combined application of technology, including HDS, with recent advances in the fidelity of digital output and printing processes.

Harlequin Dispersed Screening is Global Graphics’ patented, stochastic screening system designed for low-resolution output devices. HDS creates reproductions with enhanced sharpness over conventional screening methods and provides freedom from both cross screen and object moirés. With HDS, Global Graphics has tackled many of the shortcomings experienced in other stochastic screening techniques and provides a robust, high quality screening solution for a variety of printing applications.

Unique Screen Structure:

Although the screen structure of HDS contains a random component, there remains an underlying ordered, though dispersed, structure. The dispersed screens produce structures with a high perimeter to area ratio, enabling reproduction with greater sharpness even at relatively low scanner resolutions. HDS is ideal for reproducing subjects which are susceptible to moiré and where detailed reproduction is required.

Smart FM Dot Dispersal and Higher Quality Images:

HDS eliminates the grainy highlight effect experienced with some FM screening methods particularly apparent in smooth areas of continuous tone pictures, flat tints, and vignettes. The HDS dispersed but still clustered approach dramatically improves the printability, stability, quality and predictability of the printing process. Because individual spots do not randomly cluster into structures with odd sizes and shapes, graininess is reduced compared with other FM screening methods.

The HDS Family

HDS includes a family of screens, customized for different reproduction processes and output device capabilities. HDS includes standard four colorant screens for use with the standard CMYK process colors and spot inks, as well as variants developed for hexachrome and photoink devices. HDS is also available in the following five varieties of dot structures or “settings” facilitating its compatibility with a range of output devices.

HDS Fine: HDS Fine produces extremely smooth grain-free results and has the finest structure of any HDS setting. It is intended for use with high quality output devices capable of recording single isolated laser spots on separations.

HDS Medium: HDS Medium offers a slightly larger dot structure in the midtone range. It may be used in intermediate commercial and publications printing, either sheetfed or web.
HDS Coarse: HDS Coarse makes use of somewhat larger structures to increase printability and is best selected on presses which cannot hold very fine detail such as in high speed web printing.
HDS Super Coarse: HDS Super Coarse uses a larger structure to increase printability and the capability to retain highlighted areas of an image. It is suitable for use on mid- to low-range imagesetters or platesetters with resolutions between 1000 and 1600 dpi.
HDS Super Fine: In addition to the settings above which are meant for use with various types of imagesetters and CtP devices, Global Graphics has developed a screening solution for low resolution output devices which delivers high quality output without compromising speed.

Cross-Modulated Screening (HXM)

HXM screening is a combination of AM and FM screening which allows higher screen rulings than is provided by AM screens alone. Available from Global Graphics as a plugin upgrade to the Harlequin RIP, HXM is a solution that addresses the issue of printing on lower quality papers while at the same time meeting higher customer expectations. HXM screening is a solution that addresses both these challenges.

Higher screen rulings can be used without major retooling, producing visually higher quality printing. The range of screens offered within the HXM screen set can handle both matte and gloss stock.

Its use of hybrid screening allows the enlargement or reduction of images without affecting quality or detail. In fact, it can significantly improve the print quality with smoother flesh tones, flat tints and gradient transitions. This is achieved by controlling the dot size in the highlight and shadow, ensuring it is does not disappear in the light areas or merge in the dark areas.

AM screening

A common artifact of conventional fixed screening (AM) is moiré. This can be reduced by careful manipulation of screen angles, adjusting the input resolution and increasing the output lines per inch (LPI). Other screening types can eliminate moiré but have additional printing requirements and therefore may not be suitable in some applications.

The challenge with conventional AM screening is to be able to print the smallest dots possible to enhance the detail, maintain highlight detail and to provide smooth gradients where present. HXM screen have been designed to solve the printing challenges that come from printing at higher screen rulings.

FM screening

FM screening places dots of varying size in a pseudo-random way to produce the required tints. Advantages of this include increased apparent sharpness and the removal of cross screen and object moiré. This is achieved because the dots are dispersed instead of clustered as they are in a traditional periodic screen.

Because of the variable dots, FM screening does have some limitations. These include printing blanket hardness, TVI, ink tack needed adjustment, not being printable for long runs and substrate quality which can cause piling. However, FM does make ink saving a possibility, and if process control is tightly maintained, has been shown to print purer colors.

HXM hybrid screening

Hybrid screening is designed to improve print quality by increasing the output LPI for any given resolution. For example, if a printer is currently imaging plates at 2400 DPI with output at 150 LPI and is able to hold a 1% dot when printing on the required substrate, using HXM screens it would be possible to print at 200-250 LPI without any special pre-press or on-press requirements. The TVI difference between the current printing setup and the HXM screens would need to be adjusted to optimize the printing.

The areas that suffer most when trying to increase the LPI for a given printing condition (typically the substrate) are the loss of dots in the highlights and merging of dots in the shadow, resulting in loss of detail. Using current computer-to-plate imaging systems at 2400 DPI, it has been shown that a 0.5% dot can be produced on some plating material. However, only a very controlled printing system on the finest sheet fed presses with premium gloss paper stock can this 0.5% dot actually print over the course of a reasonable press run. This is where HXM comes in. HXM recognizes the issue and is, therefore, designed to carefully control the dot size and placement in the 0-8% and 92-100% range within the tonal scale.

HXM Generic screen sets include those for three specific industry segments: Newspaper printing, Commercial printing and Flexo printing. The recommended screens for Newspaper printing are the traditional dot shape screens at 1200 DPI at 210 LPI and 240 LPI. Commercial printing should again use the traditional dot screen at 2400 DPI at 133 LPI and 150. The working set for Flexo printing comprises entire round dot offerings at 1200 DPI at 75, 85, 95, 105 and 120 LPI along with 2400 DPI at 133 and 150 LPI. The HXM Generic screen sets are not exhaustive, but a reference set and bespoke sets are available by arrangement.

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