Monday, 12 Feb 2018 17:16 GMT

Paper Economy

As all print services providers will know, the feel of a final printed product is just as important as how it looks. Rob Fletcher looks at the latest paper available

Getting a feel for the market

When I first joined Print Monthly back in 2011, I had no idea just how expansive and innovative our great industry is. From outside of the market looking in, it is difficult to understand just how much effort goes into making the final printed product look as good as it does.

Of course, for those lucky enough to be working in print, we have the inside track on this development. One of the most intriguing areas is paper, which, for some, may not differ from product to product, but those with knowledge of the sector know that subtle differences can make a huge impact on quality.

Here, we look at established and newer paper products, consider where they might fit into the market, as well as the types of work they are best suited to.

Constant development

One of the leading names in the paper market is Antalis, which has a wide range of options on offer for jobs of all types. Katie Farr, head of marketing for print and visual communications, believes that the future of the paper industry “lies in innovation and creativity”.

Farr expands: “That’s why we are constantly working to bring print-service-providers (PSPs) the newest, most exciting products first, designed to help them delight customers.

“A great example of this is the recently introduced Power Coat Alive—a super innovative paper range featuring integrated near field communication technology, which works in conjunction with smartphones and other devices to display a programmed web-link direct from the paper.

“This is an excellent example of multi-channel communication at its best, truly bridging the gap between printed and online communication in a way which far surpasses what QR codes have done in the past, by capturing key data insights in the bespoke software supplied with the product.”

Power Coat Alive allows businesses to obtain key data via a dedicated analytics platform, which in turn will allow them to measure the impact of their campaigns and better understand customer behaviour. Farr says that, in an age where data is king, this approach to paper communications can provide a useful commercial tool.

“For PSPs, the result is a broadly appealing proposition, whereby customers can create everything from invitations, leaflets and adverts through to packaging and business cards in a way which is interactive, inventive and engaging,” says Farr, adding: “Plus, the programmed web-link can direct users through to a host of content, such as product information, special offers or competition landing pages.”

Also available from Antalis is the Arjowiggins Digital range, a selection of vibrant and colourful papers that have been adapted for digital printing. This range can help printers find the best paper solutions for clients, in line with an increasingly digital landscape.

Available from Antalis, the Arjowiggins Digital range comprises a host of colourful papers, specially adapted for digital printing

Farr adds: “Equally, given the vastness of the range, brands and designers are more easily able to bring their most creative ideas to life, both efficiently and cost-effectively.”

In addition, Antalis stocks the Kernow Print Metalik range of reflective boards for dry toner printers, as Farr explains: “Guaranteed to inject the ‘wow’ factor, this clever range comes in three stunning metallic finishes and is suitable for the full breadth dry toner and UV printing.”

Optimal performance

Elsewhere, Premier Paper Group recently announced the launch of Touch Class, an uncoated paper designed for use on Scodix machines. Dave Jones, marketing director at the company, says this paper gives “incredible results” to the user, adding that this serves as another example of how Premier Paper is committed to adding to its already-expansive digital collection of products.

Premier Paper Group recently launched its new of Touch Class uncoated paper. Pictured: a swatch with examples of the product

Jones explains: “Print technology continues to develop, which puts greater demand on substrates. From high-speed inkjet to digital sheetfed applications, papers continue to be developed in order to help printers achieve optimal performance on their presses.

“In the sheetfed digital market for example, there are many exciting creative effects that can now be achieved with special coatings and varnishes and for the best possible effects to be achieved, paper selection is crucial.” 

Jones adds: “The capabilities of modern presses and the wide choice of specialist paper and synthetic products available means that print companies can now offer much more to their clients. Increased awareness of the choice of products that are available on the market can result in profit opportunities for print companies, as it will improve their ability to offer different services and products to their clients.”

Premier Paper also launched a range of large-format products for the sign and display market, as it seeks to take advantage of an increase in demand from this sector of the industry. And with this, Jones says the company is keen to speak with customer to find out more about what the market requires in terms of paper materials.

Jones says: “Premier continues to work with customers, suppliers and OEM’s to develop products that offer the best choice and performance and there will be a number of new products and ranges that we will bring to the market over the coming months.”

Also set to launch new products this year is Wigston Paper. Although keeping the details of the papers under wraps for the moment, director Rob Walker speaks openly about the need to continue to develop new products for the sector.

Dave Jones, marketing director at Premier Paper Group, says it is important for paper manufacturers to develop new products in order to keep up with evolving press technologies

Walker says: “If print firms are not continually acquainting themselves with the other products available to them, they are, in a way, negligent. In the same way as any company will suffer consequences for health and safety, accounting and legal malpractice, the fate of the company is almost always the same albeit a more prolonged and graceful demise.

If print firms are not continually acquainting themselves with the other products available to them, they are, in a way, negligent

“We saw a number of companies fold in 2015 as a result of over-dependence on Paperlinx, yet the writing had been on the wall for quite a time.

“From a technology and environmental perspective, printers must research more relevant and appropriate product applications. Woodfree coated paper for general commercial print can typically constitute over 50 percent of the cost an average print job, whereas specialist design ranges and niche digital products can be far more profitable.
“A switch to, say, uncoated white or coloured stock using simpler and traditional processes could potentially yield a healthier gross profit on a quarter of the production cost.”

Get your coat

Another key player in this market is Stora Enso, which not only supplies paper, but also packaging materials, wood products and biomaterials. Focusing on the company’s paper products, Stora Enso offers, among others, book and directory papers, coated papers, newsprint options, postal papers, and specialities.

Stora Enso cites coated papers as among its most popular ranges, with options such as Lumi Silk being used for products such as books, brochures, catalogues, magazines and posters. Lumi Silk is a wood-free, multi-coated silk paper and board can be used in sheet-fed offset, screen printing, flexo, and digital printing.

Also, in the Stora Enso coated range is Nova Press, a slightly mechanical special coated paper with what the company bills as a “superior brightness/opacity ratio and excellent print quality”. Nova Press is designed for use in heat-set web offset printing and can be used in work such as brochures, calendars, magazines, and supplements.

PSPs may opt for Nova Press Silk paper, which has many of the same attributes as its sister product, but billed as perhaps a more suitable paper for more upmarket magazine publications.

Stora Enso also offers Stella Press H as part of its coated papers range. This paper is a machine-finished matt coated mechanical magazine option designed for use in heat set web offset and sheet-fed offset printing.

Delving further into Stora Enso’s wider portfolio and customers have a choice of a specialities option in the form of Berga Label. This is a tailor-made product for labelling work within the logistics, transport and retail sectors, with flexo, offset and TTR-thermal transfer printing technologies.

Elsewhere, as its name gives away, Denmaur Independent Papers operates as an independent paper merchant in the UK, stocking graphic and publishing paper for designers and end-users, publishers, and printers.

Like Stora Enso, Denmaur offers a number of products in its coated range, such as Amadeus Primo and Digital, Arctic, Titan, and Revive 100 Media.

Looking at Arctic in particular, Denmaur bills this as an “industry favourite”, saying that it is “the natural choice for anyone looking to deliver exceptional printing and perfect image reproduction”. Matt, Volume White, Silk+, Volume High White and Volume Ivory are among the options with Arctic.

Denmaur says its Arctic paper is “the natural choice for anyone looking to deliver exceptional printing and perfect image reproduction”

Another product that stands out here for different reasons is Revive 100 Media, a paper made from 100-percent recycled fibre content. Available in gloss, matt and silk finishes, Denmaur says it “meets all your printing requirements and satisfies your needs for environmental credentials.”

Denmaur adds: “The Revive 100 Media range is made from 100 percent waste paper, which is backed by a host of leading international certifications and accreditations such as FSC chain of custody, ISO14001, Blue Angel logo and the EU-wide Eco Label—therefore saving resources, energy, and protecting the environment as well.”

Denmaur also stocks various uncoated papers in the form of UPM Fine, Explorer Premium Offset, Explorer Premium Preprint, UPM Fine SC, Figaro Offset, Revive and Innovation Premium. Looking closer at UPM Fine, word for this paper is sourced from sustainable forests, while the product itself comes in grammages from 60 to 350gsm.

Build for the future

Now that we have looked at some of the tangible new products and developments on the market, it is perhaps important to look at trends developing in this sector. A key one is that with some stability now back and growth to be found around speciality papers, and the consolidation halted on long-runs, then some paper mills and merchants are once again building for the future. Essity Trafford Park Mill in Manchester is a good example, and it recently opened its doors to the first intake of new apprentices, representing eight paper mills from across the UK. The move comes in the wake of a government review of future apprenticeships programmes and development of a new apprenticeship standard in papermaking.

Essity Trafford Park Mill in Manchester recently welcomed first intake of new apprentices, representing eight paper mills across the UK

Developed by industry experts in partnership with Unite the Union and support from The Printing Charity, The Papermaking Apprenticeship Programme is aimed at helping young people learn a unique skill. During the course, each apprentice will attend three weeks each year of in-depth technical training, covering the science of papermaking, fibres, water and chemical additives, and wet and dry end processes.

Jim Lang, UK operations director, consumer goods, at Essity, who started out as an apprentice, comments: “When visiting different companies or sites within the industry, as the papermakers are doing as part of their course, I always learn something or see something I didn’t expect, so hopefully the apprentices learning can benefit further with this approach.”

O Factoid: The first papermaking process was documented in China during the Eastern Han period (25-220 C.E.), attributed to the court official Cai Lun. O

This is perhaps the most important point made in this feature; the paper sector is committed to its future and is keen to welcome fresh talent as its aims for further development of new products. There are certainly exciting times to come for paper as key players in the market seek to create new and exciting options for PSPs to utilise.

Your text here...