More on Short Fibers, Long Fibers
I’m not just talking through my hat here–in an earlier post I presented a problem we’ve been experiencing with perforations tearing in the high speed commercial laser printers. If you are doing a direct mailing and want to reduce costs, printing a 8 1/2″X14″ letter with a perforation at 11″ is an excellent way to save on both printing and mailing services. This allows you to personalize the letter and code or personalize the tear-off portion so when it is returned you will be able to identify the sender. There isn’t a double match required and you are offset printing just one piece of paper and thus avoiding more plates and press make-readies.
If, however, you can’t get the perforation to hold up through the final stages of laser printing and folding, you’ve got a big problem.
The suggestion I received was to make sure the paper stock was made with softwood long fibers rather than hardwood short. Long fibers, I was told, are less brittle and more amenable to perforating and folding. Short fibers print better. Why does it always come down to choosing the lesser of two evils, print quality vs. post-printing effectiveness?
In this particular mailing the perforation was more important than any probably unnoticeable image quality difference, so we went with the long fiber paper. We also took it a step further by making sure that the grain direction (yes, grain direction is different from fiber length) was the same. This resulted in a less than optimal cut out of the paper, but it improved our chances of achieving a successful result.
And after this lengthy introduction, just what was the result? It worked. There were some minor, very minor, hiccups, but the project sailed through the letter shop on-time and correct. So here’s a shout out to Wayne Lloyd at Western Paper Company who set us on the right path. Thanks Wayne.