The following post focuses on two recommended tests a printer can perform when working on a high-speed inkjet job. Looking for something focused on designing for inkjet? Check out Three Tips for Getting Started and Designing for Production Inkjet or Seven Considerations Once You’re at the Design Phase.
Unexpected results are common during the offset to high speed inkjet transition. The combination of media, equipment and end use for the printed piece are all elements that need to be considered—and make each project a unique experience. The smartest step a business can take is to test the outcome of the various components prior to running any job.
Linearization is defined as the process of calibrating the media, press and ink so the output is optimized. What this definition doesn’t explain is how essential the linerization process is for arriving at a desired outcome with a high speed inkjet printing process.
In the case of high speed inkjet printing, each paper, machine and ink have very different traits. Therefore, various combinations can lead to different outcomes. Although mimicking the color you see on a computer screen is a challenge with any printing technology, the results from inkjet technology can be particularly unexpected.
Through the linerization process, a printer has the opportunity to test and adjust the settings on the machine before printing the entire job. More than likely you’ll discover needed adjustments, but you may also find ways to save on costs.
For example, during your linerization test you may discover too much saturation in the solid area. In that case you might be able to lessen the ink density, saving on ink cost. The process also allows a printer to confirm if the selected paper is truly the right substrate for the job.
You may discover that you’ll be able to use less ink by switching to a more opaque substrate or that a different type of paper is actually required. There are virtually no limits to the discoveries that can be made during a linerization test that may save time, money and disappointment. Perhaps most importantly, it allows a printer the opportunity to confirm that their expectations—and the customers’—will be met with the final result.
Along with linearization, paper trials are also a must for an optimal end result. Simply put, paper has everything to do with the look and efficiency of the printed piece.
As with any printing technology, the imaging quality needs to be considered; opacity, color-to-color-bleed and ink mottle are just a few undesired traits to watch for. Specifically for high speed inkjet, the paper needs to be solid and stable. A paper should image to expectations and withstand high speeds and stacking, regardless of the end use.
Depending on the purpose of the job, the paper should also be strong enough to withstand various finishing applications (including folding, insertion and saddle-stitching) at the same high speeds.
Additionally, paper trials can also be thought of as an introduction to a paper mill. They’re a great way to test a mill’s service platform and substrate availability.