Inkjet Myths Exposed
Myth 3: You have to use expensive paper to get good print quality.
The most dramatic change in the world of high-speed production inkjet is the availability of paper in a range of weights that meet the needs of most transaction, direct mail, book, magazine, newspaper and general commercial print providers. While not as vast as the selection for offset printing, there are papers in most categories, from uncoated offset to inkjet treated and coated in matte, silk and gloss variations.
Will every inkjet press from every manufacturer work with every paper stock? No. But the odds are that there is an appropriate paper available at a reasonable cost for most projects.
One of the big advances in getting rich color in the high-speed production inkjet web press environment is ensuring that the ink stays as close to the surface as possible. When the ink is absorbed into the paper the image and text usually lose their sharpness.
Many of the papers available in the market today are treated or coated to give the ink something to grab at the surface, keeping it from being absorbed.
One objection to the treated and coated papers is that they can carry a higher price tag than a standard uncoated offset—and we all know that the printing industry can be very price-sensitive. This is where concepts like primers and bonding agents come into play.
The concept is to lay down a fluid ahead of printing on the low-cost offset stock, allowing shops that print offset and digital to use a common house stock or allowing digital shops to take advantage of the price difference. The result is that ink stays on the surface, text is sharper and images appear more brilliant. (The World Bank's in-plant uses this technique to allow its HP T230 Color Inkjet Web Press to print on papers not manufactured for inkjet printing.)
Related story: The Possibilities of Production Inkjet
Pat McGrew, M-EDP, CMP is the Director and Evangelist for the Production Workflow Service at InfoTrends. As an analyst and industry educator, McGrew works with InfoTrends customers and its clients to promote workflow effectiveness. She also has a background in data-driven customer communication, and production printing with offset, inkjet, and toner. Co-author of eight industry books, editor of "A Guide to the Electronic Document Body of Knowledge," and regular writer in the industry trade press, McGrew won the 2014 #GirlsWhoPrint Girlie Award for her dedication to education and communication in the industry, and the 2016 Brian Platte Lifetime Achievement Award from Xplor International. Find Pat on Twitter as @PatMcGrew and LinkedIn.