Got It Covered
During lamination, she warns, if too much tension and heat are applied, or if the paper stock is dry, film can curl.
When deciding on a matte finish, keep in mind, advises Cantwell, that polyester matte finish tends to be shinier than other matte films. In addition, although nylon matte is a durable product, she says, it has less abrasion resistance than polyester and polypropylene matte.
If you laminate or perform embossing or foil stamping, Mike Cassels, senior sales representative, The Lehigh Press, Pennsauken, NJ, advises, upgrade from an 80# stock to a 100#. Although a 100# stock may be more expensive, it offers reduced stock distortion, reduced registration problems and an opportunity to increase the height and/or depth of embossing. Lamination, Cassels explains, involves application of heat to the substrate, causing distortion, whereas foil stamping and embossing add heat and pressure to both the stock and lamination, also causing distortion.
Among the three commodity softcover stocks--10-, 12- and 15-point--10 and 12-point stocks, says Cassels, have superior embossing qualities; embossing a 15-point stock may cause its cracking. A UV coating, although it doesn't provide the most protection compared to other coatings, he continues, does prevent curling and is an inexpensive option. It also serves as a good choice for screen applications to increase gloss and protection, an application "underused in the industry," according to Cassels.
Looking into the crystal ball
Some of the cover production-related trends in the industry, says Cantwell, are: increased use of spot-coating on matte films, specifically polypropylene matte; increased use of glueable and stampable films; quicker turnaround and shorter runs; and customization for specific applications.
Frank Ervin, vice president of training and technology for Phoenix Color, Hagerstown, MD, offers his observations: "The key trend to look out for over the next year or two, is ... the increasing marriage of digital prepress to the manufacturing (of the foiling and embossing dies), in other words, using more digital processes as opposed to photomechanical etching processes." This trend, as well as the increased use of special materials that accelerate the di-making process and use of combination foil stamping and embossing dies, he says, may permit shorter runs and more flexibility on quick turnaround books, such as bestsellers.