Today, the range of stocks compatible with digital presses is vast, and thanks in part to the range of available substrates, the image quality competes with (some say exceeds) traditional offset. With all of the advances in today’s substrates, what do you still need to know when choosing paper for your next project? Recently, Joe Schemer, specialty digital product manager for Mohawk Fine Papers, spelled out his advice in Printing Impressions magazine. Here are the “must know” issues he discussed:
- Digital stocks are available in a full range of sizes to fit today’s press formats. From 8 ½ x 11” to 20 x 29” is standard. Some mills even produce specialty sizes such as 13×30” for banners, dust jackets, and panoramic prints. If you have a specialty need, just ask!
- Prices for digital sheets have come down. By request, even less common sheet sizes can be produced economically when ordered in volume.
- Whether it’s extremely lightweight or card stock, or specialty finishes like linen or felt, there is a paper compatible with the press on which you will be printing. Keep in mind that digital presses can now print on textured stocks, which will increase your response rates.
- Printing on coated sheets is standard. OEMs are working with paper mills to develop coatings specially engineered to match the stocks certified for their presses. Regardless of the individual paper mill or the presses on which their stocks will be printed, all are working provide stronger ink adhesion, no cracking on the fold, minimal jamming on press, and minimal build-up on press.
- Despite advances in substrates and engineered coatings, it’s not one-size-fits-all. Digital production still requires matching the paper to the press and taking into account issues such as static, image quality needs, and curling. For premium projects, it’s worth paying more for a premium stock, especially if you will be producing jobs with photographic images or heavy coverage, because it does produce better results.
Need help selecting the right stock for your next project? Work with us to make sure that you are getting the right sheet to produce outstanding results.
Source: “When Heat Hits Paper” (Printing Impressions http://www.piworld.com/partner/heat-hits-paper/)