The Tech Guru series features eight stories from some of Samsung’s printing experts, presenting their points of view in their respective fields. The series will show how Samsung printing products and technology – and those who develop them – embody the three core Samsung values: Smart, Fast and Reliable.
For Samsung Printing Solutions’ second Tech Guru interview, Seong-wook Han, the Head of Samsung’s Imaging Lab, explained how his team has helped enhance quality of Samsung printer output as well as create a user-friendly printing environment for the company’s print consumers.
Creating Vivid Printed Images with Samsung’s Printing Reliable Tech
Han heads Samsung Printing Solutions’ Imaging Lab, comprising a total of 22 engineers, which became part of the Control Lab in June 2016.
The Imaging Lab is in charge of the development of Samsung printers’ image developing engine such as the Samsung Rendering Engine for Clean Pages (ReCP). ReCP allows printers to enhance the quality of their output by analyzing input images and applying required adjustments for better print quality. The lab also develops imaging solutions like the OCR (optical character recognition) and the Scan Library, an assembly of image processing algorithm that can enhance image quality on smart UX and an XOA embedded solutions.
The Lab is also responsible for evaluating output image quality for production consistency as well as developing printer’s color optimization feature. It also provides color customization services for enterprise customers. Basically, Imaging Lab is in charge of developing and maintaining high image quality.
Prior to joining the printing division in 2015, Han worked as a researcher at Samsung Digital Media & Communications’ (DMC) R&D center where he was tasked with improving the image quality of a range of Samsung Electronics’ products.
In the period 2009-2011, he found his work increasingly linked with the operations of the Printing Solutions Business, where he focused on developing new printing pipelines.
“We focused on upgrading the pipeline in areas where printing speed and image quality could be enhanced, and the result ultimately became what we call ReCP.”
“Samsung DMC R&D Center has made numerous tech advances, and one of the most notable is ReCP,” Han said.
Scan it, Sharpen it, Fix it, Fax it – With ReCP, There is No Limit
ReCP improves printing devices’ printing, scanning, copying and fax features, with functions that include small text enhancements, the prevention of cracking in small texts, and de-screening (which reduces the Moire effect in printouts). It also allows adaptive smoothing and halftoning, whereby ReCP technology’s filters analyze images and smoothen – or sharpen – images or graphics where needed. (Please refer to below video to learn how ReCP improves image quality)
Devices using ReCP have been praised by the independent evaluators at the Buyers Lab (BLI), who awarded it with the Summer Pick Award in 2015, and recognized them as “an ideal choice for organizations looking for top-quality output, as [they] earn the highest rating in every print quality category.”
Han and his team contributed to the development of unit algorithms for ReCP, which include color trapping, compression and resolution enhancement features. “Color trapping technology compensates the white gaps between colors, omitting defects,” said Han. “Compression technology, meanwhile, determines how much compression is needed when you are sending images to a printer from a PC. And resolution enhancement is used to lessen the differences between an original image and the printer’s image output.”
Recognizing the wide-ranging effect that Samsung ReCP has had on the global printing industry, Han explained that
the difference between Samsung’s ReCP and competitors’ technology is that Samsung’s technology performs an optimized analysis of input images. ReCP not only recognizes whether print material includes texts, lines or photos, but also analyzes the overall composition of documents or images, allowing functions like show-through removal and Book copy correction.
Cooperation Leads to Quality Tech
Cooperation is key to everything the lab does. Looking back at his experience at the DMC R&D Center, Han stated, “Samsung has made more image-processing devices than any other company, including printer devices, TVs, mobile phones, X-rays devices and cameras. This kind of growth has been made possible because of the way we cooperate and share knowledge across the business. We make different products, but often use similar technology.”
Han explained, “Cooperation within Samsung is the core value that has helped the Imaging Lab carry out full-scale image development tasks, despite having a relatively small number of lab engineers.”
In fact, in 2015, Printing Solutions’ R&D Team and groups, including imaging, electro-photography, scanning, engine control toner and driver departments, joined forces to create the Image Quality Task Force. The Task Force team, which worked together for two years from 2015 to 2016, helped contribute to the production of the MultiXpress 7 series of multi-function printers (MFPs). The Imaging Lab members of the team successfully improved the MFP’s printing image quality in different consumer printing environments. They also helped widen the range of colors available for printing, in addition to enhancing maintainability, allowing for consistency in image quality throughout printer’s lifespan.
The Future of Imaging Technology: Smart Devices Learning from Their Past Experience
So, what does the future hold for imaging technology? Technology developments will allow devices to build their own databases, letting them learn from their past print experiences. Han explained that this kind of machine learning will play an increasingly important role. ”Printers will be able to diagnose the condition of the machine utilizing big data on set condition, usage environment, and information from sensors inside the machine. As a result, devices will be able to align the content that users wish to print/copy with the paper being used and be able to produce top-quality results without user input. In addition, printers will be able to estimate the machine/machine part’s lifespan based on the usage pattern and alert the users before errors occur, reducing the need for service calls.”
Moving forward, imaging technology will depend less on users, and more on devices themselves. Samsung’s ReCP, for example, will not just run on protocols set by developers. Devices will start self-evaluating the quality of their own tasks and looking for ways to improve – like a form of artificial intelligence.”
“Samsung will concentrate on developing technology that will analyze imaging tasks smartly and better present solutions to its users” added Han.
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