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Continuous-Feed Inkjet Grades : The Paper Chase for Inkjet

March 2011 By Julie Greenbaum
Associate Editor

Paper manufacturers have adopted several strategies to optimize coated and uncoated stocks for running on the emerging array of high-speed, continuous-feed, color inkjet presses. While some papers may need to be fine-tuned to run on individual brands of presses, an additional surface treatment may also be required with certain paper/press combinations, especially coated stocks.

Optimizing the Press

According to Steven Vallario, director of marketing for digital imaging at Mitsubishi Imaging (MPM), some inkjet media grades that Mitsubishi offers will work well on any high-speed inkjet press, but specialized applications and inks often require specific grades to optimize the capabilities of the equipment.

For example, Mitsubishi treats its coated inkjet papers with a special ink-receptive coating so that the ink is unable to penetrate the cellulose layer—allowing users to print images with sharp colors. While the certification of media is not normally required in the industrial inkjet segment, Vallario says Mitsubishi works closely with inkjet press manufacturers to test its paper on their devices.

Appleton Coated, in conjunction with Hewlett-Packard, has developed Utopia Inkjet and Utopia Book Inkjet coated papers for use with the HP T300 color inkjet web press and other HP T-series web presses. Utopia Inkjet coated products are designed to work without additional surface treatment (e.g. bonding agent) applied at the press.

"Our goal at Appleton Coated is to provide one product that performs well on multiple inkjet platforms. But, given the differences in press design and ink characteristics, our product may perform better on some presses than others," reports Ann Whalen, senior vice president of marketing/customer services for Appleton Coated.

NewPage Corp. is currently working with OEMs on the development of coated inkjet papers for the high-speed, continuous-feed inkjet market. According to Dennis Essary, director of digital papers, the company will produce coated papers that are designed to perform well on the press without treatment.

On the uncoated paper side, Finch Paper's strategy for high-speed inkjet printing is to optimize the benefits of different ink technologies—such as dye-based and pigment—via distinct paper formulations, rather than offering a "one-size fits all" stock.

Finch also offers custom solutions for specific customer needs, such as fine-tuning the paper chemistry to control dot fidelity.

Formulas for Success

Philip Hart, director of product marketing, says Finch inkjet papers do not have to be certified by each press vendor, but Finch Performance Inkjet Papers are qualified at OEMs and undergo trials at customer sites. An additional surface treatment is not needed for these grades, he adds, since they are manufactured with specific formulas to maximize ink holdout and drying at high print speeds.



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