Heatset printing is the process by which print passes through an oven causing solvents in the ink to evaporate. What’s left over are waxes, resins, and pigment. The print then passes over chilling rollers where the waxes and resins cool down and solidify, or set the inks. This process of printing yields a cleaner more upscale product. Coated (Glossy) paper, commonly used in magazines and catalogs, must be set prior to binding in order to avoid smudging, smearing, offsetting, marking, and scuffing during the finishing process. Heatset printing has become increasingly popular as advertisers turn to higher-end supplemental inserts and direct mail campaigns that use coated paper.
UV printing is the method by which inks dry through a photomechanical process. The inks are exposed to ultra-violet lights as they exit the printing units, immediately turning inks from a liquid to a solid with very little evaporation of solvents and almost no absorption of the ink into the paper stock. So you canprint on virtually whatever you want when using UV inks! Since they dry immediately on the surface and release no VOC’s into the environment,UV printing is considered a green technology, safe for the environment and leaving an almost zero carbon footprint. Because UV inks dry on contact, they never smudge, smear, offset, mark, or scuff.
Coldset offset printing is a process by which the ink dries gradually through evaporation and absorption into the paper. Coldset printing, also referred to as open web printing, is most commonly used on newsprint and other uncoated paper stocks. Since the ink is not set immediately, there is always a little bit of residue that remains on the paper. This is what you sometimes get on your hands if you have been holding a newspaper. Coldset is one of the more economical forms of printing that allows multiple webs to run concurrently while using less expensive uncoated paper and energy to produce the finished product.
Sheetfed printing is a method in which individual cut sheets of paper are fed into the offset press, unlike web offset printing, which utilizes a continuous roll fed stream of paper that prints both sides of the substrate simultaneously, sheetfed presses typically print one side of the cut sheet at a time that must be left to dry before turning over to print the back side. Sheetfed presses come in many configurations and perfecting sheetfed presses are designed to print both sides in a single pass. The advantage of Sheetfed presses is evident in the ability to run low waste when compared to roll-fed web offset presses. Sheet-fed is the most common form of printing used today.
Digital printing is the process of printing digital-based images directly onto a variety of media substrates. There is no need for a printing plate, unlike with offset printing. Digital files such as PDFs or desktop publishing files can be sent directly to the digital printing press to print on paper, photo paper, canvas, fabric, synthetics, cardstock and other substrates. .If you’re looking to print in the hundreds or even a couple thousand, the setup cost of offset printing might not seem justified. With digital printing, you can print in multiple small batches and not worry about big setup costs. Plateless digital printing makes possible multi-product, low-volume printing, faster and less expensive than traditional offset printing.
Newspapers often require inserting. Also known as free-standing inserts or FSIs, newspaper inserts are the single sheet ads placed in the center of newspapers that are distributed to readers in targeted ZIP codes. These inserts include a variety of promotional offers such as information on current sales, mini-catalogs, and new product launches. Newspaper inserts continue to be one of the most influential marketing channels with the power to affect consumers’ buying choices. Inserts help consumers find what they need at an affordable price while increasing brand awareness. If you haven’t incorporated inserts into your multi-channel marketing mix, now’s the time and we can help you do it!
Saddle stitching is a booklet binding process that secures folded and nested pages with two or three wire staples down the middle of the fold, which becomes the spine. The name comes from the machine saddle on which the folded signatures are placed for stitching. Saddle-stitching is a common binding method for small booklets, calendars, pocket-size address books, and magazines. Binding with saddle-stitching creates booklets that can be opened up flat and is a good option for booklets with a relatively low page count. The number of pages that can be bound using saddle-stitching is limited by the bulk of the paper it is printed on, but the typical recommendation is 64pgs or less on standard weight paper and 96 pages or less on lightweight paper.
Perfect binding is the process where either flat sheets or signatures (a sheet with multiple pages printed on it) are bound together using a flexible adhesive with a wrap-around cover that creates a square-shaped spine. PUR (Polyurethane Reactive Adhesive) is becoming increasingly popular in perfect binding coated stocks and digitally produced toner output. PUR is dispensed through an applicator head and allows the glue to be forced up into the book block (with pressure from a heavy-duty pump) penetrating the spine and creating a much stronger bind. It also prevents the escape of fumes and any premature moisture curing of the PUR adhesive by exposing it to the atmosphere. PUR binding typically requires up to 24 hours to completely cure.
Cutting and Folding
Cutting and trimming are done using a guillotine cutter. A stack of sheets is placed on the bed of the cutter and the angled stainless steel blade cuts through it at the desired position. All the stacks are subsequently placed in a jogger, a vibrating table that squares the stacks of sheets prior to cutting. Multiple cuts are programmed for speed and repeatability. We also use two common types of folding machines: the knife folder, also known as a right-angle folder, and the buckle folder. In general knife folders are used for heavier or pre-folded stocks, while buckle folders are used for folding lighter paper types. Each type of folder is used for different types of jobs. Right angle folds are primarily the purview of knife folders, while parallel folds are often made using buckle folders.
Shrink-wrapping and Poly-bagging
Shrink wrap, also shrink film, is a material made up of polymer plastic film. When heat is applied, it shrinks tightly over whatever it is covering. Shrink wrap is applied over or around the intended item, then activated by being sent through a heated shrink tunnel. Apolybag is a bag made out of polyethylene or clear plastic (hence the name). Polybagging enables mailers to bundle items together as a marketing campaign and provides another surface to make your brand visible. The bag is sealed, leaving no gaps to let in damaging moisture or dirt. Polybagging increases the perceivedvalue of what is inside. Opening a polybag feels a little bit like unwrapping a present.
Hand Assembly, Fulfillment, and More
No matter how much modern automated pre-press, printing and bindery equipment we have in our shop, there are just days when staff has to actually pick up sheets of paper and collate, fold, glue, insert or assemble by hand. Sometimes we just need to jump in and do things manually! We can collate printed materials together, custom package, and perform a variety of tasks including measuring, cutting, trimming, sorting, and folding materials to produce the desired outcome. The reality also is that the short runs prevalent in our digital world are sometimes easier and faster to process by hand. Whatever it takes to get the job done right, we can do it!