The Paper Chase for Inkjet
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.