The biggest problem is print cracking along the fold, and scoring paper may not be enough to solve the problem.
A brochure or direct mail piece may look great after printing, but in many cases the work is not completed until it’s folded…and this is where a nice looking piece can be ruined by poor finishing work.
There are several factors that create the problem, but there are ways to stop it without investing in new equipment or accessories for your folder. Start by implementing a few of these suggestions below:
- Do not print dark areas or images over the fold.
- Fold with the grain of the paper, not against it.
- If possible, set your fold roller gap to the same thickness of the paper.
- Adjust the room’s relative air humidity to about 50%.
- Avoid UV varnishes on the folded areas if possible.
Assuming you’ve implemented the above, the next step to eliminating print cracking is to score the paper along the fold lines after printing and before folding. In most cases, this only works well on offset printed paper because the ink is actually absorbed into the paper’s fibers, whereas digital print sits on top of the surface.
If you can, scoring is a fast and easy solution and in many cases, can be accomplished with rotary score attachments for your paper folder like those we offer and many other brands as well.
The final and perhaps best solution to prevent print cracking along folds is to crease the paper after printing and prior to folding using a Creasing Machine to apply pressure to the paper using channel-style crease or score that weakens the paper on the fold and can be done in multiple locations on a single sheet in one-pass. Unlike rotary scoring, matrix-style creasing machines stop the piece each time the paper is creased, so the process is slower, but the results are better looking folds where the paper and print require it.
Another advantage of creasing machines are the ease of use, which is really important to many on-demand digital printing facilities that may not have a skilled bindery person on-hand. Many models offer automatic setup, job saving programs and can also slit, cut and fold the paper all in one-pass so the entire piece is finished w/o doing anything more than loading the paper and pressing “Start”.
Contact us if you would like more information to discuss possible solutions for your facility.(Some of the information for this article was obtained from the following sources: Duplo USA , Graphic Arts Magazine , Sappi)