Well, the tube manufactories state a life of 2,500 effective hours. Of course the tube life is much longer, but they are not colour accurate after the 2,500 hours.
While many viewing booths do have a ‘timer’ which will remind the user to replace the tubes, many do not. So lets look at three common scenarios; effective tube lifetimes over single shift, double shirt and 24/7 working.
Based on a 8 hour day, with the viewing booth left on all day, (0f course nobody does that!), based on 5 working days a week, over 50 weeks results in needing to change the tubes every 15 months.
Based on a 16 hour day, with the viewing booth left on all day, based on 6 working days a week, over 50 weeks results in needing to change the tubes every 6 months.
Based on a 24 hour day, with the viewing booth left on all day, based on 7 working days a week, over 50 weeks results in needing to change the tubes every 3 months.
The second and third examples are common the pressrooms and the lightbooths on the presses.
Where light booths are used in prepress and in production offices then if they do not have a ‘timer’, care will need to be taken in estimating the replacement periods, changing the tubes sooner rather then later. The costs are very small especially when compared with the possible implications of a poor proof to press sheet match due to ‘out of date’ tubes.
There are softwares available which can check both the colour accuracy of tubes and the uniformity of the lighting booth, using a spectrophotometer.
Replacing D50 tubes should be part of the normal plant maintenance programme. It is a very small area of cost which will provide greater confidence when comparing proofs and press sheets.
- Paul Sherfield who runs the consultancy is well known in the printing and pre-media industry as having considerable knowledge on digital workflows, with a special expertise on the business reasoning behind such systems.
He has installed some of the most successful digital pre-press and pre media systems in the UK. For 2 years he worked on a number of medium term projects before starting the consultancy in July 2000. Before this he was a partner in what became one of the leading pre-press/printing companies in London.
He is active in a number of industry groups including the BPIF Technical Standards Committee, ISO TC 130 printing standards committees and is chair of the BPIF steering group for ISO 12647/2 UK certification, He is a regular speaker at seminars and conferences.