Paper Plays Key Role in Production Inkjet Printing World
Investing in inkjet technology is not just installing a new printing platform — it involves an entire mindshare shift in the printer’s philosophy. The marriage of data plus inkjet printing creates a unique solution, but it also involves making sure that all parts of the printing operation are in sync.
Paper manufacturers continuously review the equipment developed, the customer base printers are trying to serve and the paper needs required to deliver a printed piece that can compete against offset. As the production inkjet market continues to develop and mature, more and better substrate solutions will be available.
Printers can almost expect to experience a culture shock when they transition from conventional offset paste inks to water-based inkjet inks. Paper plays a critical role, and not every paper works the same.
As new systems and inks come to market, papers are adjusted and added. Some of the new paper grades can even mimic matte coated offset paper.
“Expansion down and upwards in basis weight/caliper — ranging from 34# up to 158# — enables anything from legal book to 9-pt. answering cards, book covers and such,” said Ad Sies, marketing director, Crown Van Gelder.
Manufacturers are even looking to create cross-analog and digital technology functionality, which enables the same substrate to be used for litho, toner digital and inkjet. In today’s production inkjet world, adopters are looking for glossy coated papers at a price relative to web offset papers.
“While that lofty goal is still eluding us, using papers that are optimized for their press, specifically, by name and grade, is the best strategy,” said Dennis Essary, director for digital papers, Verso. “Many mills are working with OEMs and testing their stocks to provide the best possible quality output, and printers should take advantage of that.
David Field, senior business manager, inkjet technologies, Midland Specialty Paper & Films, also adds, "There are many different types of inkjet papers, manufactured by multiple paper mills, and many of these papers will interact differently from one another based on the OEM press, OEM ink, press drying capacity, printer’s ink density setting and press speed. Selecting the right paper can make or break the printer’s operation and boost overall customer satisfaction.”
We've put together a data-packed Production Inkjet Buyers Guide to help you make the right paper choices. The guide is filled with specifications on inkjet presses, paper and finishing equipment, as well as insightful articles and tips to help you learn more about production inkjet technology. Click here to view the here.
Denise Gustavson is the Editorial Director and Special Projects Editor for the Printing & Packaging Group, which includes Printing Impressions, packagePRINTING, In-plant Graphics and Wide-Format Impressions magazines, among other brands. She is also the Editor-in-Chief of Wide-Format Impressions.