Frankly Speaking: Paper is Part of the Process
● For dry toner printers, the temperature and moisture content of the paper are critical for the paper to receive the correct electrostatic charge during the digital printing process, which will ensure proper image transfer and toner adhesion. Like all forms of printing, paper used in digital presses, printers and copiers must be properly acclimated for best results.
● Digital papers for dry toner must be able to withstand the high heat created during the image fusion process. Liquid toners do not have this issue but may require special coatings to assist in ink adhesion. Newly announced liquid toner printers may not require coated or treated paper but always check first.
● Paper manufacturers are constantly developing paper stocks that are stronger and cleaner to help eliminate the picking problem that can occur with waterless inkjet technology. Fibers can be transferred to the printed areas, producing poor quality. Water-based inkjet printers usually deposit a spot of pre-coating as a base for the colored inks.
The direction of the paper grain is critical for smooth operation. It also affects some finishing processes (folding especially). If the ink or toner image crosses the covers and spine, there could be cracking, which means the toner flakes off at the fold; this, however, is less of a problem than ever before. Printing using the proper grain direction will help, but a test is recommended. In digital printing, a proof is a run length of one so you will be able to see the actual effect of the design and the printing. You would not do a makeready for an offset press and then run one impression.
Make sure the printing system is calibrated and the correct ICC [International Color Consortium] color profile is used. Up-to-date color profiles usually can be downloaded from an ICC archive maintained by the printing service. Proper calibration and use of the ICC color profile appropriate for the RIP [raster image processor] in use avoids excessive ink deposit and ensures accurate color reproduction. Bleeding, mottling, banding and warping all can be linked to poor calibration and profiling. In inkjet printers, banding may also be caused by misdirected or clogged nozzles. Running a cleaning cycle on the printer usually resolves the problem.