Why are there different papers for offset and digital printing presses?

Why are there different papers for offset and digital printing presses?

Because of fundamental differences in the two printing processes. Offset papers are manufactured to perform well with the offset transfer process, including a lower heat, higher-moisture environment as well as the use of liquid inks. Offset papers are precision sheeted in larger sizes – when using offset sheets in digital presses, the sheets are usually guillotine trimmed, which yields loose fibers and dust that contaminate the machine. When trimming the oversized sheets, there is also the lost productivity of sheeting resulting in both increased labor and turnaround time as well as extra paper waste.

Digital printing is exactly the opposite: the operating temperature is relatively high to properly fuse the dry ink or toner to the paper. In addition, precision cutting is essential in digital printing to maintain sheet registration, particularly for single-pass, duplex color printing, and to avoid jamming and excessive paper dust caused by dull cutting blades that create ragged edges.

An offset paper that works well in a press may not perform well under digital printing conditions. Papers for digital printing are optimized during manufacturing to perform under the high-heat/low-moisture conditions. Few papers perform exceptionally well under both conditions. Using the right paper for the process lets you eliminate one variable that can cause numerous problems in the print production process. Always match the paper to the printing process to achieve optimum quality and customer satisfaction. With the tremendous variety of digital papers on the market, the selection has never been greater.

Steve Simpson, vice president, Document Supplies, Xerox Corporation, answered this question. For more information contact Cheryl Freer, Xerox Supplies Business Group, at cheryl.freer@usa.xerox.com. To learn more about the full line of Xerox digitally optimized paper, substrates and supplies visit: http://www.xerox.com/supplies.
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