How Climate Affects Paper & Printing
Despite working from inside the comfort of JB our presses and paper are still subject to the same Canadian climate as the rest of us. Each season we are presented with obstacles that the print industry has dealt with for many years. Thankfully with years of experience, we know exactly what to do in each season, adjusting our print practices so we can run efficiently day-to-day. Here are a few ways we customize our printing procedures!
It comes as no shock that Canadian winters are cold and dry. While most of us counteract this with warm clothing and drinks, we haven’t been able to find a toque big enough for the press yet. So we use other tricks to ensure you get the best quality products that exceed your expectations.
Our paper is delivered from the cold outdoors on a delivery truck. This causes the paper to change shape and dry out, which means it needs to acclimatize for a few days to room temperature and add moisture back in. For this reason, our production manager has to stay on top of our stock supply to ensure that orders are placed with our suppliers as early as possible.
We don’t normally think of our paper having moisture, but the lack of it can make a huge difference in the print industry, the same goes for having cold paper. The changing shape of cold paper means that the 4 colours won't properly register as they run through each of the CMYK ink towers, making it difficult to produce an accurate image. Each colour could be as much as 1/8" misaligned. This is why our press operator will run test sheets to guarantee the best image quality.
The cold is only half of the problem that we battle in the winter as the dry air presents an entirely new set of challenges. Dry air creates static, which besides making your hair stand on end also causes our paper to stick together. Staticky paper won't feed properly into the press. This is also an obstacle in bindery when using the folder, making it important for our staff to keep a close eye on the stock as it feeds through. While heavy weight cover stock is unaffected by static, it often causes lighter text weight paper to stick together resulting in jams.
Climate care technology allows us to control the room temperature and add humidity into the press room to help the paper run smoothly. This added control is beneficial when running more challenging stocks such as synthetic, plastic-like sheets, because of the static they create.
The winter also means that ink takes longer to dry. Depending on the stock, projects may need to sit longer before running the back side or proceeding with bindery to avoid ink transferring onto other sheets or smudging.
The most important consideration in the winter is timelines. We always want to make certain our clients get their products in an orderly and timely manner. This is why in the winter the JB team is proactive in ordering our stock and planning realistic production schedules. It also means our press operator gets his press running bright and early in the morning so it can warm up the rollers and be ready to print for the day!
Moving to the opposite end of the scale, Canadian summers are hot and humid! Since the press can’t get out to take a refreshing dip, it’s our responsibility to keep it cool. That’s why you may comment on how chilly it is in the shop, or make note of our staff dressed in sweaters and jeans. Our 4-colour press doesn’t need the extra time in the morning to warm up and the humidity is actually beneficial, however the temperature at JB needs to be moderated for our paper stock.
The humidity can sometimes cause paper to ripple. Again our lighter stock is most affected by the moisture because it ripples easier making it tricky to run. Thankfully, our press operators have lots of tricks they use to pinpoint problems which they can often fix on the spot.
Although summer is the easier season for us to print in, we still must be aware of the day-to-day temperature changes. Daily temperature changes make it more difficult than printing at a consistent temperature, keeping our press operators constantly on their toes!
For the most part the changing seasons don’t affect our digital press and we don't need to wait for the paper to acclimatize too long. The humidity is actually helpful in creating a better environment for gold & silver sleeking.
Through our combined years of experience we have learned many tricks of the trade to keep our presses running smoothly all year round, no matter the season. Though summer is without a doubt the easier season for us to print in, we happily provide our services throughout the winter months to ensure that our clients print needs are met.
Our digital & offset presses and bindery equipment are phenomenal machines that are ready to work no matter the season thanks to the operators who run them. Whether it’s a humid summer day causing paper to ripple, or a dry, cold snap in the winter creating static electricity, we have many solutions to run our presses quickly and smoothly. Although we know you might not enjoy the humidity quite as much as our presses do, from the humans at JB: have a fun and cool summer!