The Paper Chase: Finding More Good Substrate Options for Your Inkjet Presses (

Printing technologies mature in a good way when they outgrow their finicky special needs. Offset presses used to bedevil operators with their unstable ink-water balances. The wild card for digital toner presses was controlling the heat of fusing. In the early days of production inkjet printing, the head-scratcher was getting the droplets to behave properly on the surface of the substrate — a difficulty that initially held adoption of the process back.

Those obstacles have mostly vanished, and in inkjet’s case, the greatly improved compatibility with paper has moved the technology well into the mainstream of print production. Printers running late-model inkjet devices find that, for the most part, they no longer have to use the specially pre-treated papers to which first-generation inkjet presses were limited. House stocks, including offset grades, work fine, saving printers money and letting them and their customers continue to play by familiar rules of paper specification.

Some new inkjet equipment eliminates the need for pre-treated papers with the help of in-line dispensing units that apply conditioning fluids to the substrate before the laydown of the ink. The fluids control ink absorption on uncoated stocks, and provide adhesion and holdout when coated stocks are being used. The technique accomplishes the same thing as pre-treatment at a mill, but on whatever existing paper the shop wants to run.
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