OCTOBER 2020 — The following standards have been published recently by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO).

ISO 12647-6:2020 Graphic technology – Process control for the production of half-tone colour separations, proofs and production prints – Part 6: Flexographic printing 

Historically, the ISO 12647 series of International Standards established the process control parameters and their aim values and tolerances for the most important professional printing processes of the graphic arts industry.

Flexographic printing differs from other printing procedures by using a variety of printing machine architectures, ink sequence, ink types, anilox rollers, substrate types, etc. Each of these involve different printing condition and process control aims. This document requires that the colour of the printed product match a characterization data set or a printing condition agreed upon by the provider and the receiver. It specifies minimum requirements and tolerances to be communicated and produced. There are many cases in this document where the provider and the receiver communicate.

 “ISO 12647 Part 6 Flexographic Printing was updated and published in 2020. Opening an ISO standard for revision allows for discussion of any new changes and the document then goes through the very thorough ISO process of review and approval by international experts. One of the updates to ISO 12647-6 was to the definitions of smooth datasets and ISO CRPC’s (characterized reference printing conditions) for embedded expectation profiles, with smooth embedded aim profiles and tolerances which allows brands to deliver a complete PDF/X-4 file containing fonts, images, aims and tolerances.

Another new section was added for an instance where communication is required between sender and receiver – alignment on screen ruling, substrates, minimum printing dots,” says Steve Smiley, the project leader. “I believe all the changes were valuable additions that assist in communication between buyers and senders in the flexographic industry. This standard is currently aligned with many premium packaging workflows.”

Scope: This document specifies the requirements for the exchange of data and information necessary for the definition of the aims for four-colour flexographic printing of packaging and publication materials, including newsprint. It is based on the use of colour characterization data to define the colorimetric printing aims and includes appropriate assignment of responsibility for and recommended tolerances on critical parameters of the flexographic printing process.


ISO 23498:2020 Graphic technology – Visual opacity of printed white ink

When printing a layer of white ink (for example as a base for other colours on a non-white substrate), the opacity of the white layer is important to the appearance of the final print. Although measures of ink opacity are well-defined, they do not necessarily agree well with the visual appearance. In this new standard, research on visual opacity has been applied to define a new method for predicting visual opacity from some simple measurements. This allows designers, for example, to simulate the final appearance with confidence. The method has been specified in a way that could be extended to coloured inks and substrates in the future.

Scope: This document specifies a method of measuring the visual opacity of printed specimens of white ink. It is applicable to printing opaque white ink on transparent and white or coloured opaque substrates.


ISO/TS 19303-1:2020 Graphic Technology – Guidelines For Schema Writers – Template For Colour Quality Management

Packaging brand owners and procurement teams are experts in their products and are often not experts in printing technology. This document is intended to be used as a tool to develop global and technically consistent requirements by, for example, certification bodies certifying packaging, national certification groups, trade associations, or brand owners to communicate their expectations throughout the supply chain.

Certification schemes are developed by certification bodies, such as national certification groups, trade associations, or brand owners, to address market needs. They are regional, workflow-dependent, and with varying technical requirements. This document provides technical and conformity assessment to allow that the various certifications are based on common principles and are comparable. As such, this document enables the individual organizations to agree to mutual recognition of the certifications of other bodies more readily as well as enable international trade organizations to identify comparable competencies on a worldwide basis.

This document is intended to aid the following stakeholders in understanding packaging printing conformity assessment at an international level.

— Print buyers and brand owners

— Printing associations

— Printing organizations

— Printing production personnel

— Printing equipment manufacturers and suppliers

— Printing professionals, including auditors, consultants, etc.

Scope: This document provides a framework that organisations can follow, and that can be used as the structure for market or sector specific schemes. It is intended to be a process certification. The goal of this document is to have comparable attestations or certifications worldwide.



Two amendments to the ISO 14000 series of environmental standards: ISO 14040 and ISO 14044.

These standards are the foundation for Life Cycle Assessments (LCA), one of the key methods for working out the environmental impact of a given product, such as a printing press or platesetter. ISO 14040 outlines the principles implementors should follow in doing an LCA and 14044 specifies the requirements for LCAs, the details of what should be addressed. In the graphics industry both these standards are relevant for quantifying the lifecycles of printing systems and their components, from workflow management hardware through to finishing technologies.


ISO 14040:2006/Amd1:2020 Environmental management — Life cycle assessment — Principles and framework AMENDMENT 1

This is an amendment to ISO 14040. This includes changes to the following clauses:

  • Clause 3, terms, and definitions
  • 4.2, Figure 1

Scope of ISO 14040: This International Standard describes the principles and framework for life cycle assessment (LCA) including

a) the goal and scope definition of the LCA,

b) the life cycle inventory analysis (LCI) phase,

c) the life cycle impact assessment (LCIA) phase,

d) the life cycle interpretation phase,

e) reporting and critical review of the LCA,

f) limitations of the LCA,

g) relationship between the LCA phases, and

h) conditions for use of value choices and optional elements.


ISO 14044:2006/Amd2:2020 Environmental management — Life cycle assessment — Requirements and guidelines AMENDMENT 2

This is an amendment to ISO 14044. This includes changes to the following clauses:

  • Clause 3, terms, and definitions
  • 4.2.3.5, Types and sources of data
  • 4.3.4.2, Allocation procedure
  • Annex B, Examples of life cycle interpretation

Tables B.1, B.2, B.3, B.7 and B.8

  • New Copy: Annex D, Allocation procedures

Scope of ISO 14044: This International Standard specifies requirements and provides guidelines for life cycle assessment (LCA) including:

a) the goal and scope definition of the LCA,

b) the life cycle inventory analysis (LCI) phase,

c) the life cycle impact assessment (LCIA) phase,

d) the life cycle interpretation phase,

e) reporting and critical review of the LCA,

f) limitations of the LCA,

g) relationship between the LCA phases, and

h) conditions for use of value choices and optional elements.126


These standards are available from ISO as well as national standards bodies like ANSI and can be purchased from APTech by following this link. For more information contact Debbie Orf, Senior Director, Standards and ICC.

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