Paper: Coated vs Uncoated
As production inkjet technologies continue to proliferate, a familiar challenge comes to the forefront: paper choice.
Why is paper important? For the consumer, it’s the tactical interaction. For the marketer, paper is the delivery vehicle that affects brand perception through color, clarity, and cost. For the printer, trying to maximize the number of jobs produced to make up for shorter run lengthens, the game has a slightly new twist.
Today’s high-speed presses can reach speeds of upwards of 400 fpm, and approximately 1,800 duplexed letter sized pages. To reach these speeds, presses need to be armed with durable quick dry papers, that can produce vibrant color with low ink lay down.
One way paper manufacturers are addressing and answering these challenges is through their coating technologies. As an example, Mitsubishi Paper Mills (Booth 2655) designed an ink receiving layer that traps ink on the surface of the paper before it can penetrate the fibers of the paper. This allows a press to run at maximum speeds with less dry time, and in some cases requires less ink, lowering overall production costs. Output can match the look and feel of offset with true color matching, and outstanding sharpness and line detail. Uncoated papers are more challenged in high-speed production environments because there is no coating to handle ink absorption. This often means longer dry times to eliminate smudging and bleeding, and waiting to move to in-line finishing. So, although the price point of an uncoated paper may seem attractive, it could cost you in the long run—more time on press and finishing, missing delivery dates and, most importantly, in brand consistency through versioning; color quality can fluctuate page to page based on how the paper fibers receive and hold ink.
A paper’s durability is defined by the fibers used to make it. Short, uniform fibers create more dimensional stability. A paper’s stability will affect everything from the speed of the press, to curling, stretching, and waffling during the print process. A paper with strong dimensional stability can decrease dusting, and yield a cleaner, smoother print with better image quality. So just as a primer coat influences paint application on a wall, paper serves as the foundation for everything that is laid down on top of it, and is often considered the fifth or sixth color in the printing process.
The good news is that paper manufacturers are engineering papers with the quality and consistency necessary to maximize today’s most advanced printing systems. Through total chain of ownership, from forestry to coating innovations, Mitsubishi can ensure uniform construction and top-quality outputs for its coated, high-speed inkjet papers. By applying the coating to a range of base paper weights in a variety of finishes, Mitsubishi can service a wealth of business needs from direct mail and transactional/transpromotional printing, to commercial print applications.