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Background to the Committee – where we have been and the path forward

The two partners, Lithographic Institute of Australia and Printing Industries, gained accreditation through Standards Australia to form the Australian based respondent body to the ISO Technical Committee for Graphic Technology – or TC 130. The committee was established in May 2007 and meets every second month formulating strategies and refining technical points involving the development and refinement of standards which affect our industry. All members of the Technical Committee (called the “AU/TC 130” or “TC 130” for short) have volunteered their knowledge freely because they hold the same vision for the printing industry in Australia: achieving and maintaining global quality standards.

ISO standards have become a common buzzword in our industry with many companies claiming compliance or certification to various ISO standards. ISO 9001 (management) and 14001 (environment) have been present in our industry for some time however it is easy to forget that the often discussed print quality focused ISO 12647 suite of standards is still relatively new…in fact ISO 12647-2 was only official adopted in Australia on the 26th of August 2008.

In the period since some companies have sat back and observed while many others have adopted this standard and the benefits it brings to both themselves and their customers. In fact it is estimated that around 40 printing companies are now compliant to the ISO 12647 standard. But how did this international standard become an Australian standard and where do we go from here? Let me try to explain…

Confused about ISO?

Your not alone so lets start from the top – The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) is the world's largest developer and publisher of International Standards and is a network of the national standards institutes of 163 countries, one member per country, with a Central Secretariat in Geneva, Switzerland. The Australian institute is Standards Australia (SA).

Each industry has it's own Technical Committee (TC) which creates, votes and comments on standards which affect that industry. These Technical Committee’s are given a number based on the order they are created. For example, TC 22 formulates International standards for road vehicles and for Graphic Technology it is TC 130, which was formed way back in 1969 and currently consists of 40 member countries.

What does the TC 130 do?

According to ISO the TC 130 addresses the business community engaged in print media production and its suppliers of:

  • materials,
  • computer hardware and software,
  • proofing software, firmware and hardware,
  • printing, converting, finishing and other related machinery,
  • optical measuring instruments,
  • laboratory apparatus.
ISO/TC130 presently serves this market by providing a framework of standards on terminology, pre-press digital data exchange, process control, metrology, printing materials, ergonomics and safety.

The AU/TC 130 is what is known as a 'mirror committee' of the TC 130 for Australia and was originally granted observer or ‘O’ status and in 2009 the AU/TC 130 successfully applied for participating or ‘P’ status which means exactly that…the Australian Graphic Technology industry now has a voice that can have its say regarding standards which affect our industry on the international stage.

How did Australia get involved with the TC 130?

In 2006, the Lithographic Institute of Australia (L.I.A) and Printing Industries (P.I.A.A) recognized that an Australian quality standard for both sheet fed and web presses was long overdue. Sure, there was 3DAP however it was viewed at the time as primarily a proofing standard for Web printers so a small joint sub-committee was formed (including a 3DAP member) with the intention of creating an Australian Standard based directly on the internationally accepted standard of the day - ISO 12647-2. Not only would Australia have a new standard but also the aim was to bring the industry ‘in-line’ with current international best practice for print. This new committee issued a call through industry publications for interested party’s to nominate themselves for the committee with a directive to select people from a broad background that truly reflects our industry. To cut a long story short this committee was registered by Standards Australia (SA) in 2007 and is now recognized as the Technical Committee that represents the Australian Graphic Technology industry (AU/TC 130) on an international level through participation with ISO.

About time I hear you say?

As I have already mentioned the international TC 130 which creates standards for this industry was formed in 1969 yet Australia was not a part of this until 2007. For one of Australia’s largest manufacturing industries and employers you could say it was about time we, as an industry, had a say on the development of international standards that are increasingly becoming part of our every day working lives. Worldwide total employment in our industry is roughly 2 million people and, with the exception of the digital media, graphic products like newspapers and brochures are mainly being produced close to the consumer. Therefore, graphic production requires the free flow of information and image material on a global scale, from the source to the final printing site.

Where to from here?

What started as a relatively simple ideal of introducing an international print quality standard to the Australian industry has taken on a life of its own. International Standards are constantly evolving due to industry participation and feedback in order to keep pace with the creation of new technologies and improvement of existing technologies.

As you may have guessed by now, the TC 130 concerns the entire scope of Graphic Technology and the AU/TC 130 is responsible for voting, commenting and reviewing standards as diverse as Carbon foot printing, RGB monitors, XMP specifications and safety requirements for bindery equipment, just to name a few. For a complete list of standards currently under review by the AU/TC 130 please visit - http://www.iso.org/iso/iso_catalogue/catalogue_tc/catalogue_tc_browse.htm?commid=52214&development=on

*ISO has developed over 18,000 International Standards on a variety of subjects and some 1,100 new ISO standards are published every year.

Luke Wooldridge
Chairman AU/TC 130