Star product: Barbieri Spectro LFP qb

By Nessan Cleary, Monday 05 March 2018

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The latest plug and play spectro from the Italian manufacturer.

barbieri-spectrolfpqb

What does it do?

The Spectro LFP qb is a flatbed spectrophotometer that reads either reflective or transmissive media and measures the colours in LAB values, which is the industry standard colour space. 

When was it launched and what market is it aimed at?

It was launched in Europe at the end of last year, with a phased roll-out including the UK at the start of this year, the US in February, followed by Asia over the next month or so.

It’s aimed at the graphic arts market, and particularly the sign and display segment, as well as the textile and packaging sectors.

Barbieri vice-president of international sales and marketing Wolfgang Passler says: “It is ideal for companies with several large-format or flatbed printers, those who print both offset and digital, and any who work in high-end, niche markets such as textiles, ceramics or glass printing.”

How does it work?

There are three parts to this particular spectrophotometer. The first is the platform where the samples are measured. This has an enhanced clamping system and integrated backlighting that’s suitable for the M1 standard for transmitted light measurement. 

Then there is the measuring head, which has a high-precision sensor for measuring spectral values. This incorporates three light sources, made up of seven LEDs in order to give uniform illumination that conforms to the M1 daylight illumination standard, across the surface of the media being measured. This head unit also has a neat trick up its sleeve – it’s battery operated and can be removed and used as a handheld measuring device for quick measurements, as well as for spot readings.

Finally, there is the sensing unit. This has a built-in camera, which enables the device to automatically recognise the target. Barbieri chief executive Stefan Barbieri says this is particularly useful for textile users, noting: “The textile charts are difficult to fit straight and automated readers have difficulty fitting them but with the camera we can detect the patches.” 

There’s a touchscreen display that shows a visual representation of the colours. The spectral values themselves are sent to the computer, via either wifi or USB, for further processing. 

How does it differ from previous products?

This spectrophotometer is loosely based on the older Spectro LFP S3 but incorporates a number of improvements. The main feature is that it supports the new ISO 13655-2017 standard that includes M1 (for daylight D50 for measuring papers with optical brighteners), M0 (CIE illuminant A), M2 (to counter UV illumination) and M3 (for polarisation), and which also forms the basis of the Fogra51 colour management.

It can also be used to measure fluorescent inks, which are becoming more common, particularly with textile printers aimed at producing sportswear, and which is a major target market for this device. 

How fast is it? 

Barbieri says that it’s twice as fast as the existing LFP S3. It works with a variety of different RIP software including all the RIPs that currently support the LFP S3 and Barbieri is working with other developers to create further textile and packaging applications based around the ability to work with fluorescent inks.

What is its USP?

Barbieri says it is the first automated spectrophotometer that offers M1 measuring for both reflective and transmissive media. 

How easy is it to use?

This is a ‘plug and play’ device. Assuming that you know the basics of colour management, the LFP QB is fully automated and very easy to use. You just take your printed sample, place it on the measuring table, aligning it with the head, and then press the button. 

What training and service support is on offer?

Barbieri says that customers need training to fully understand how it works and when to use the different options such as backlighting and the polariser filter, as well as how to use it with the RIP software. However, the manufacturer relies on its network of distributors to deliver the device and organise this training.

How much does it cost?

€8,600 or roughly £7,600.

What is the sales target, how many are installed currently worldwide and in the UK?

There are none installed as yet and it’s only just become available on the UK market. 


SPECIFICATIONS

Measuring aperture 2mm, 6mm and 8mm

Reflective measurements Yes

Transmissive measurements Yes

Measuring conditions M1, M0, M2, M3

Media thickness Up to 20mm

Connections Ethernet, wifi, USB

Price €8,600 (around £7,600)

Contact

Papergraphics 0845 1300 662 paper-graphics.com 


ALTERNATIVES

X-Rite i1Basic Pro 2 spectrophotometer with i1iO automated scanning table

X-Rite describes the i1Basic Pro 2 as “the industry standard for Color Perfectionists looking for an affordable, professional-level spectral colour measurement”. It is one of the most popular handheld spectrophotometers around, with the Pro 2 version also offering the M1 capability. The i1iO table converts it into an automated chart reader. This combination is probably the closest competitor to the LFP qb.

Measuring aperture 4.5mm

Reflective measurements Yes

Transmissive measurements No

Measuring conditions M1, M0, M2

Media thickness Up to 10mm

Connection USB 1.1

Price around $4,500 (£3,300)

Contact X-Rite 00800 700 300 01 www.xrite.com

Konica Minolta FD7 with ColorScout A+

Strictly speaking, the Konica Minolta is a handheld spectrodensitometer but it can be combined with the ColorScout A+ for automatic reading of colour charts.

Measuring aperture 3.5mm

Reflective measurements Yes

Transmissive measurements No

Measuring conditions M1, M0, M2, M3

Media thickness Up to 1.5mm

Connections USB 2

Price around €5,900 (£5,200) 

Contact Konica Minolta 0871 574 7200 www.konicaminolta.uk

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