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November 12, 2018

Paper Quality Matters

There is all sorts of paper. Newspaper, office paper and some paper who’s job I wouldn’t wish on anyone.

Did you know that print quality and the number of paper jams in your printer can be linked back to what kind of paper you use?  You probably answered “yes”, but I am talking about more issues than just buying paper from the bargain bin.

Believe it or not, temperature and humidity can affect your paper and change the way that the end print looks.  Scary thought for us here in the midwest, weather can change faster than a teenager’s mood.

The Environmental Effect

the environmental effect paper.jpegThe humidity in the air affects the paper.  As paper absorbs moisture, the width of each fiber grows while the length of the fibers are not affected as much.  This makes the paper bloat; normally you will see prints with curled edges when there is high humidity.

Printers and copiers work best when you tell them what kind of paper you have loaded.  The device adjusts itself to match the paper type.  But what if you tell the printer it has 40lbs paper, but the humidity makes the paper seem like it’s 50lbs?  This can cause a lot more jamming and service issues.

Low humidity has its problems, too. The Printing Industries of America did a test on this subject and found:

The greatest paper handling difficulties occur on cold days when the humidity inside the pressroom may become exceptionally low, causing tight edges that result in misregister, sheet wrinkling, and problems with static electricity.

Temperature plays a big role in the quality of the paper as well.  Although this is mostly for large press rolls of paper, if you store the paper in a cold place, then open the roll in the hot press room, the paper will actually have condensation on it like a glass of water in the summer. For office paper, the effects aren’t as noticeable, but are still there.

How to prevent Environmental Effect on Paper

The first and most obvious way is to store your paper in a controlled space.  If your office has full AC that can control the temperature and humidity and you can keep your paper in that controlled location (and keep it at the same levels as where your printer is located), that would be best.  If you are unable to store your paper in a controlled space, bring the new ream of paper into your office next to your printer for some time before you put it in and use it.  This will adjust the paper to the correct levels.

cut trees.jpegLook at where you buy your paper.  This one takes a little bit of time, but there are paper mills all over the world.  If you can buy your paper from a mill that is in your same geographical area, then you will have less of a problem with print related issues.  They use the local trees that are already accustomed to the environment, and they regularly run the paper through tests of the local weather conditions.

Buy better paper.  Although it doesn’t really seem like a “fix”, you do get what you pay for.  Normally, the more expensive, higher quality paper is not affected as much by the weather.  The fibers are normally tighter together, leaving less room for expansion and better prevention from weather climates.

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