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Paper Guru

Paper Guru

By Jack Miller

About Jack

Jack Miller is founder and Principal Consultant at Market-Intell LLC, offering Need to Know™ market intelligence in paper, print and packaging. Previously, he was senior consultant, North America, with Pira International.

Known as the Paper Guru, Jack is the former director of Market Intelligence with Domtar, where he also held positions as regional sales manager, territory sales manager and product manager. He has presented at On Demand, RISI’s Global Outlook, PRIMIR, SustainCom World and at various IntertechPira conferences. Jack has written for Printing Impressions, Canadian Printer, Paper 360, PaperTree Letter and Package Printing, along with publishing a monthly e-newsletter, MarketIntellibits.

He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics from The College of the Holy Cross and has done graduate studies in Statistics and Finance.


Top 10 Things You Might not Know About Paper

Most of you probably know all of this, but there may be a thing or two that you don’t know. Or maybe you just need to be reminded.

10. We usually like to print color on coated paper. For most applications, coated paper is best for color, but some excellent work can be done on uncoated papers, especially text and cover or opaque grades.

9. The antidumping case on coated papers from China and Indonesia continues to move forward. The final ruling from the U.S. Department of Commerce is now scheduled for September 21, and the ITC’s ruling is scheduled for October 16.

8. Digital inkjet is very different from digital laser or toner based printing. Toner can work well with most ordinary coated and uncoated papers. If you have a new toner based press, try printing on your regular offset papers. Inkjet is more problematic, and while some presses may work with some papers, inkjet may not adhere well to coated papers and may be absorbed too readily by uncoated papers. For more on inkjet, and the new generation of high speed inkjet presses, see "Inkjet's Web Paper Pursuit" in the September issue of Printing Impressions.

7. For uncoated papers, smoother papers often look and feel better than rougher papers, and many printers and print buyers believe that this means they will print better. But that may not be the case. Unless formation is excellent, mottle or granitizing may be accentuated on smoother papers, especially in large areas of solid color.

6. Books are now being printed on demand. I recently went to a small local bookstore for one of the “Dummies” books. It was a print on demand edition, and I got it in a few days. The store owner showed me how the “on demand” books were different: glossier covers with full color on coated stock, and black-and-white text on brighter uncoated stock. More on this to come.

5. Groundwood papers offer good alternatives to uncoated offset for some applications—lower price and higher bulk, thus less basis weight. These factors are all pluses. The downside is lower brightness, potentially lower print quality and loss of permanence—an important negative for book papers.

4. Paper is greener than many people think, and electronic communications are not as green as people believe. Paper is renewable, and much of the energy that paper mills use is carbon neutral, or at least renewable—from bark, lignin, wind and hydro sources. On the other side, according to the EPA, computer servers use 1.5% of all electricity in the United States, and more than 2.2 million tons of electronic waste were generated in 2007. Of this, 1.8 million tons went to landfills, up 7.7% annually since 2000.

3. Mills announce prices increases, but not decreases. Prices may end up unchanged at the end of the year after three increases. Stay close to your mills and merchants to find out if price increases are holding and when prices are falling.

2. Printers use opaque grades because they have better opacity than offset...Or because they are brighter...Or both. For heavier basis weights, especially 60 and over, offsets usually have enough opacity. Now that offsets have moved to 92 bright, they usually have enough brightness. Why else to use opaques? They are often smoother, have better formation, and offer matching cover weights.

And . . .

The number one thing you might not know about paper or might need to be reminded of . . .

1. People still love paper, and will continue to use it.

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