May 2011: RIT Launches Printing Standards Audit Certification

Rochester Institute of Technology has announced the commercial launch of PSAsm Certification. PSAsm Certification, or Printing Standards Audit Certification, is a rigorous, objective process for assessing a printer's ability to operate a standards-compliant workflow. Such workflows are fundamental to creating efficient print supply chains, especially as printers adopt new technologies and supply chains become more international in character. By attaining PSA Certification, printers can objectively demonstrate that they have mastered the use of standards in the workflows they operate.

PSA development began more than a year ago when professor Robert Chung of RIT's School of Print Media surveyed standards assessment practices with international leaders including KEE Consultants (France), Fogra (Germany), Ugra (Switzerland), SCGM (Netherlands), BPiF (UK) and IDEAlliance (U.S.). Each of these organizations welcomed Chung and contributed to the development of RIT's global approach to certification. During this period, he was able to engage in extensive conversations with experts in the field and participate in the training programs when they were offered.
Chung says RIT's long-standing relationship with Elie Khoury of KEE Consultants proved to be especially valuable in developing PSA. For the past 10 years, KEE Consultants has promoted the use of standards as a vehicle for introducing modern industrial practices into the printing industry. As part of this effort, KEE developed an ISO 12647-based Gap Analysis Audit that is fully aligned with the PSA process and a suite of tools for assessing conformance to a PDF/X compliant workflow, some of which are incorporated in the PSA process.

RIT's other key collaborator in developing PSA certification is IDEAlliance. Over the past decade, IDEAlliance enabled printers to achieve a shared neutral appearance across multiple technologies and substrates through the use of its G7 calibration method. Currently, the IDEAlliance Print Properties and Colorimetric Council is developing the tolerances required to assess conformance to G7 aims contained in the GRACol and SWOP specifications. This allows PSA Certification to offer printers the choice of certifying their workflows to a G7 based standard or to ISO 12647-2. In either case, prepress and proofing workflows will be certified to the relevant ISO standards (15930 for data reception and 12647-7 for proofing). In the future, certification will be extended to cover conformance to the new process independent standard (ISO 15339) as soon as this draft standard is approved.

To support print facilities in preparation for the PSA Printing Standards Audit, IDEAlliance has announced the G7 Process Control and Conformance Program (G7PCC) as an extension of the G7 Master program. The G7PCC program is serving as a foundational tool to prepare for the PSA Certification Program, designed in module format to serve the total media supply chain, including brand owners, creative agencies and print providers.

David Steinhart, president and CEO of IDEAlliance, says: "With PSA and G7 PCC Certification, our organizations are fulfilling an industry need that our members have expressed to us for the past several years, the need for comprehensive process control training and an independent audit program. IDEAlliance is committed to making specifications and developing standards that are relevant to industry needs and global in scope. RIT shares this commitment and is deeply involved in developing such specifications and standards. PSA Certification increases the value of these standards by providing the print supply chain with a highly visible independent mechanism for recognizing printers who conform to them."

Frank Cost, interim dean of RIT's College of Imaging Arts and Sciences adds: "The PSA initiative embodies the best features of an academic-industry collaboration. It leverages RIT's objectivity, scholarship and academic excellence in research to offer the printing industry an impartial assessment of standards conformance that it can genuinely trust."

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