manroland web systems Inc.

printcom Knows the Right Materials for Enhancement

Matte, glossy, or metallic? How does a printer get the right effect? Different than the competitor? Better than the competition? The right consumable materials can help a lot here.

Longer, more modern, faster, and with more multimedia apps. Printing presses are becoming ever more similar. But it’s not only printers who have invested in the latest configurations who are competitive – older presses can also deliver high-quality, enhanced print products. The key is selecting the right materials. Every printer knows them: ink, coating, printing blankets, coating blankets, fountain solution additives. But how do the individual components behave in the press and on the paper? Which of the many coatings available is exactly the right one for a certain application? And how can one get an even better result with a coating blanket or coating plate? The wrong combination of materials can lead to unwanted reactions in the press and on the substrate. That’s why printcom calls its consumable materials “process-compliant system components”, and bundles them into packages of perfectly coordinated products for each press and application.

How noble should it be?

To begin with, it must be clear what enhancement effect one wants to achieve. Even protective coating can make a print product nobler because it gives the substrate a different touch sensation and protects the ink from external influences. So it’s not only a matter of choosing from the classic range of light-matte through neutral or light-gloss up to high-gloss coatings. Applied partially or over the full surface, coatings or cold foils provide haptical and visually intensified effects through structures, matte-gloss, or metallic effects. Besides that, technical criteria and requirements need to be clarified. What type of substrate? Coated on one side or both sides, at which speed and with which dryer configuration? Only then does one know whether oil-based varnish should be applied via a normal printing unit or an aqueous dispersion coating via a coating module. With non-absorbent substrates like foil or metal, only UV-based coating works. And high-quality metallic effects are best achieved by the cold foiling application.

That certain something

Water-based coatings achieve gloss levels approaching those of UV coatings, and have the advantage that they are easier to process and in some cases are even suitable for foodstuff-compliant applications. In combination with oil-based varnishes, impressive structures or matte-gloss effects are possible. These are intensified if one uses UV coatings instead of water-based coatings. The procedure is the same for both variants: firstly, an oil-based varnish is applied partially or over the full surface via a printing unit, and then the water-based or UV coating is applied over this. One of the latest enhancement methods is applying cold foil inline, which provides high-quality metallic effects in silver or gold or in holographic patterns. With this system, an oil-based adhesive ink is applied to the sheet via a normal printing plate in the first printing unit. In the following printing unit, the adhesive ink separates the cold foil from the carrier material. The cold foil can be overprinted in subsequent printing units with conventional or UV inks and corresponding coatings. This provides metallic effects with all possible color shades.

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