International standards in print production (such as ISO 12647) are of great importance for process control, quality assurance and customer relations of printers and prepress service providers. Printers are offering - and print buyers are increasingly demanding - print production process control according to ISO 12647.
Today, specialists in associations and related organisations in Europe are successfully implementing ISO 12647 and other international printing standards in the industry. Several of these organisations and specialists have been supporting the work of ISO Technical Committee 130 Graphic Technology (International Standardisation Body, representing the printing industry) from the beginning.
Printing Standard Network (PSN) is a group of print-related associations under the umbrella of Intergraf. It aims to support and strengthen cooperation and application of ISO standards in print production. PSN is also a forum for individuals in associations and related organisations working actively with ISO standards in print production to promote their use in Europe.
The purpose of the network is to exchange information on the developments and best practices in the use of these standards. Its members share their knowledge and resources to increase the use of ISO standards in print production in the European graphic industry.
Certification according to ISO
For a printer to be compliant with a quality standard such as the ISO 12647, the largest part of the work consists of aligning the different production processes with the specifications of the standard. This includes extensive testing and training within all departments of the company, often in cooperation with external experts. The results of this process will be higher efficiency, more consistent production and better compliance with your customer’s needs.
A last important step of this process is certification of the company, in order to recognise the work done and the results achieved. In Europe, there are a number of certification bodies, performing audits and issuing certificates. The Printing Standard Network (PSN) acts as a platform for these organisations to exchange information and as a source of information for printers and print buyers interested in this matter.
The organisations involved in the PSN aim at maintaining the highest possible quality of their schemes, while cooperating in order to define common criteria and guidelines.
Certification bodies in Europe
The Netherlands and Belgium
The foundation “Stichting Certificatie Grafimedia branche” (SCGM) is an independent certification institute for printing, media and packaging industry in the Netherlands and Belgium. The SCGM provides certification programmes on ISO-level. It certifies quality, health, safety and environment management systems, ISO 9001, ISO 14001, ISO 12647, FSC and RI&E.
The SCGM stands for independence. By its specific knowledge of the printing, media- and packing industry, it has been accredited by the Royal KVGO and the Kartoflex, the printers’ and packaging associations in the Netherlands.
Ugra is the Swiss Centre of Competence for Media and Printing Technology. It has been doing research for the printing industry since more than 50 years. As a member of ISO TC 130, it has established numerous ISO standards. As a neutral institute located in a neutral country, Ugra offers services and products for the assessment and improvement of quality. Furthermore it certifies materials, persons and companies according to different standards or specifications. Ugra has an international focus and earns a big part of its turnover in foreign countries. Its legal form is an association.
Certification according to ISO 12647-2 - and to "Process Standard Offset" (PSO) based on ISO 12647-2 is carried out in Germany by the regional printing and media industries’ associations (vdm, head organisation: bvdm) and by Fogra. Both organisations are always acting together as certifier or co-certifier.
Bundesverband Druck und Medien (bvdm) is the Employer and Trade Federation of the German printing and media industries. Bvdm’s members are 11 regional associations (vdm). They offer services directly to their member companies (printing companies, prepress and premedia companies, print finishing etc.). bvdm has commissioned and published more than 250 technical and research projects on process control, standardisation in prepress and print and workflow issues. The work was done in cooperation with research and branch organisations, namely with Fogra. bvdm supports and coordinates printing standards application in the industry (ISO 12647) together with other European associations under the umbrella of Intergraf.
Fogra (Graphic Technology Research Association) promotes print engineering and its future-oriented technologies in the fields of research, development and application, enabling the printing industry to use the results of these activities. The association maintains its own institute, with about 50 staff members including engineers, chemists and physicists.
Standardisation on an international scale has been a key issue for both bvdm and Fogra since decades. bvdm supports comprehensively the work of ISO Technical Committee 130 Graphic Technology with technical experts, and is a funder of the ISO TC 130 secretariat. Fogra represents the chairman of ISO TC 130 as well as the convenor for Working Group 3 (process control) and 4 (media and materials).
Bundesverband Druck und Medien e.V. - bvdm [German Printing and Media Industries Federation - bvdm] www.bvdm.org Forschungsgesellschaft Druck e.V. [Fogra Graphic Technology Research Association] www.fogra.org