Digital Printing 101

Digital technology is forever changing the printing landscape. It’s quickly turning mass–produced communications into more targeted, personalized ones. This technology has evolved at an incredibly rapid rate — digital printing certainly has its advantages. Here are the five most indisputable reasons you will benefit from printing digitally:

1. Cost–Effective Print Runs
Digital printing eliminates many of the manual operations required in offset printing. That means cost savings on even the smallest of runs.

2. Lightening Fast Turnaround
Films, plates and make–ready are things of the past when it comes to digital printing. This means that you can be on–press seconds after your file is sent so you can respond to market changes instantly. How is that for fast?

3. Personalization Through Variable Data
Digital printing and direct marketing is a match made in heaven. Digital printers can link directly to databases that personalize and customize each click—targeting your audience and increasing response rates.

4. Printing On Demand Means Less Waste
Digital printing allows you to print exactly what you want, wherever you want, whenever you want. This reduces costs associated with shipping, storage and overstock resulting from updated versions of your piece.

5. Vibrant, Hi–fi Color
Digital printers can reproduce a much larger range of colors than offset printers, which translates into stellar color matching and reproduction.

Choosing a Digital Paper
There are three key differences between conventional printing and digital that can impact a paper's performance on the digital press:

Paper Grain
Paper grain is a key consideration throughout the production process. Typical digital presses put paper through its paces—it’s very common for paper to get turned, stopped and started during a job. If you are using the wrong paper, these movements can result in paper jams and registration problems. Choosing paper with a project–appropriate grain direction not only assists in smooth operation of the press but also affects finishing processes and paper performance. For all these reasons, Sappi is providing stocking support based on optimized paper grain direction for text weights (grain long) and cover weights (grain short).

High Temperatures During Production

Choosing paper with properties designed for the specific digital printing equipment you use is critical. Many digital printing systems use electrophotographic processes and dry toners to fuse toner to the substrate at high temperatures. In such cases, the faster the digital press operates, the more heat it creates. Many digital papers fail to hold up under such high temperatures. This can cause paper jams, curling, and degradation in paper quality. To help safeguard you from these problems, Sappi has employed rigorous third party testing to validate our digital press runnability. In addition, our best–in–class tech support can help alleviate any issues arising during the production process.

Toner Adhesion
Poor toner adhesion can lead to scuffing, scratches, and rub–off. Therefore, paper used in digital presses, printers, and copiers must be properly acclimated to achieve the best results. Temperature and moisture content are the keys in this process. Both are essential for the paper to attain the correct electrostatic charge during printing, which, in turn, will optimize image transfer and toner adhesion. Fortunately, there are many sheets available in the digital line–up that are engineered and quality tested to meet the toughest and most stringent adhesion challenges.