Paper Training For Printers
Even in a world of increasingly more advanced technology, planning for trouble-free paper performance can still come down to the basics. Following a few rules of thumb for paper handling and usage can have a significant impact on a printed product’s quality and efficiency of press operation.
1) Streamline workflow—One simple workflow rule to follow is FIFO (First In, First Out). The first paper coming into the warehouse should be the first to be printed, assuming it meets the job requirements. This will prevent paper from aging in the back of a warehouse because access is blocked by more recent paper shipments. Minimizing how long paper is warehoused helps ensure more uniform quality as materials go into production.
Efficient workflow strategies that examine and plan how paper moves in, out and around a commercial printing facility can protect paper to maximize print quality and improve runnability on-press. Paper company representatives may be able to provide expert consultation on warehouse design and workflow plans that will offer optimal paper storage and transport throughout an entire operation.
2) Protect paper during production—It is vital to store paper in its protective wrapping or covering throughout the entire job production process. For example, pallets of printed pages should not sit unprotected on a shop floor for hours before being processed through the bindery. Equally important, offset printed color shells and forms should not sit unprotected before being digitally personalized. Even covering work-in-process with a loose plastic sheet should suffice to protect it from dust and scuffs. If paper is left unprotected in a print production environment, even for brief periods of time, it is exposed to dust and moisture that can impact finished document quality.
Over longer periods of exposure, unprotected paper will equilibrate to the ambient conditions, so any extremes in environment should be avoided. High humidity, for instance, will cause paper to take on moisture and curl at the edges. Conversely, excess dryness will cause it to lose moisture and become brittle and tight at the edges. Either substrate condition can result in registration and wrinkling problems on an offset presses, or lead to image deletion on digital printers. To ensure optimal performance, paper should be stored under temperature- and humidity-controlled conditions that closely approximate the environment in which it will be utilized.