From time to time in any office it becomes necessary to print data on a sheet of cardboard. But not all modern printers can handle paper of this high density and thickness. Therefore, it is worthwhile to familiarize yourself with the basic requirements for printers for printing on cardboard, as well as consider the rules for their operation and tips for choosing the right model.
Currently, these types of techniques are used for printing on cardboard and other thick substrates.
Not every printer is suitable for printing on cardboard. This is due to the peculiarities of the sheet transport mechanism and the printing principle. To print on paper heavier than 100 g / m2, the printer must have a straight paper feed from the tray to the cartridge without bending paper. Almost any front-fed inkjet or laser printer is capable of printing on thin board up to 2mm thick.
It should be noted that inkjet printers do not work well with paper weighing more than 150 g / m2, while laser devices in most cases provide acceptable print quality on media up to 250 g / m2.
Practice shows that printers of the office category cope quite well with printing on cardboard, such as:
- inkjet printer Epson L-800;
- inkjet MFP Canon PIXMA MG-3540;
- HP Deskjet Ink Advantage inkjet printer;
- monochrome inkjet version of the Epson M-100;
- color laser model HP Color LaserJet 4700.
On such devices, you can print on cardboard with a density of up to 320 g / m2 and a thickness of up to 3 mm.
Digital printing machine
This product category is a high-performance , straight-through large format laser printer that can handle very high media density.
Offset Printing Machine
This printing method is one of the most common in the industry and is most often used for printing text and images on packaging cardboard. The essence of the method consists in preliminary application of paint on a rotating offset drum, which is then pressed against a sheet of paper. This method provides a very high print speed with a fairly high image quality (higher than office printers).
It makes sense to use this method for very large circulations, since such machines are usually installed only in printing houses and in large production facilities. Besides, prepress preparation of the layout and the machines take a lot of time.
Flexographic printing is not yet very common, even in advanced printing houses, but it is this method that allows you to apply images to almost any material, regardless of its density. The essence of the method consists in applying a layer of paint on a flexible matrix made of photopolymer . Further, the paint is transferred from the matrix to the surface to be treated, and the pressing pressure is noticeably lower than that of other rotary methods. Currently, flexographic devices are mainly available for companies engaged in large-volume printing of packaging on cardboard and polyethylene.
A printer that prints on cardboard must have a direct feed of sheets to the printing unit. The driver of such a printer must provide a special printing mode "cardboard" . Its cartridge must be filled with quick-drying ink or toner. The latter parameter is especially important for inkjet printers, because slow drying of ink can lead to sagging.
When choosing a printer, you should focus on the maximum paper weight and thickness specified in its technical description. In this case, it is worthwhile to decide in advance on the range of tasks that you are going to solve using the printer. This will help the relationship between the density of the cardboard and its purpose.
- Up to 200 g / m2 - this cardboard is a thickened paper, therefore it can be used for a wide range of design and printing tasks, for example, printing brochures, business cards, booklets, flyers. Almost all types of front-feed office laser printers work well with such media, so special attention should be paid only to the absence of bending of the sheets when feeding the paper.
- From 200 to 400 g / m2 - relatively thin cardboard used both in printing and design, as well as for packaging. Printing on such media will require a careful approach to choosing a printer, since not all inkjet and even front-fed laser models cope well with printing on such media. If the range of tasks involves printing on such cardboard, it is worth paying special attention to the maximum paper weight declared by the printer manufacturer that can be used for printing.
- From 400 to 1200 g / m2 - this is the density of packaging cardboard, for printing on which specialized equipment is used. No other office printer is simply capable of feeding sheets of this density and providing acceptable image quality.
Before using the printer to print on media, make sure it can be inserted into the device at all. To do this, you need to compare the maximum paper weight and thickness indicated in the instructions with the weight and thickness of the media.
If the thickness of the cardboard exceeds the maximum allowable value, at best, it will jam and damage, and at worst, it will damage the printer.
In the device settings it is necessary to specify the "print on cardboard" mode. If you try to use the plain paper mode, black stripes may be printed on the cardstock instead of the image. Cardboard should always be loaded into the top tray of the printer. When inserting a piece of cardboard into the tray, align it as much as possible and clamp it using the scale bars to avoid distortion. If the pinch roller fails to pick up the sheet, try helping it with your hands. Pay attention to the pressure, it should not be too strong.
The following video explains how to print on thick paper.