I admit it…..I love the smells and sounds of a conventional offset pressroom. I know it’s weird but what can I say? Printing is in my blood. Coming to the Dscoop conference is always an eye opener for me. The equipment is so different than offset, yet the output has evolved over the years to be as good as, and sometimes better than, offset quality.

I have followed closely the improvements in print quality and efficiencies in ink usage. The introduction of Enhanced Print Mode (EPM) several years ago allows the printer to print full-color images using only Cyan, Magenta, and Yellow – No black! It would be nearly impossible for the untrained eye to distinguish between EPM and 4-color process. Not only does this save on ink usage, but it reduces click charges.

I focused this year on some of the post-printing enhancement opportunities that were on display at the Imagine Technology Showcase. As fitting with this year’s theme, “Imagine”, the only limitation to what you can do to enhance your printed piece is your imagination.

Coatings, foils, embossing and intricate die cutting were all on display. As with offset printing, many customers have the perception that “you can’t do that on uncoated paper”. Equipment that applies aqueous coatings and UV coatings (gloss, matte, soft touch, etc.), foils and various textures of film laminates were on the floor and running various coated stocks. Luckily for us, we had a few cartons of stock with us at the show and we were able to talk with vendors who were willing to help us test that theory by offering to “try” our stock on their equipment. One of the film laminates we were able to run at the show simulated photographic finish (and is called silver halide replacement – SHR). The results are incredible! We can’t wait to see the rest of the samples with the other treatments.

Image on left has film. Image on right does not

Image on left has film laminate silver halide replacement – SHR. Image on right does not.

On the HP Indigo side of things, a lot of new and beta versions of ink options are on the horizon. Improved white inks with higher opacity allow for incredible results on colored papers, fluorescent inks (currently pink has been released to the market) that glow in the dark, and thermochromatic inks to name a few. Per HP, aside from CMYK, they have 20 other ink solutions for their Indigo presses.

On a side note, while talking about uncoated papers and post printing options, one vendor shared with us that “not all uncoated stocks work well in their process. There is a brand, however, called Cougar that always performs well with his foil and film laminations”. It’s always nice to hear that kind of unsolicited feedback.

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