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Digital printing: substrate selection and print quality

Understanding substrates that can be used with each process, and the impact on print quality and print performance

Digital label printing today (and package printing for the future) is being undertaken by a variety of digital printing technologies that between them use liquid toners, dry powder toners, and liquid inkjet inks – which, in the case of inkjet, may be water-based, solvent-based, dye-based, UV-curable or LED-curable. The challenge for label and packaging printers looking to invest in digital printing equipment is to have an understanding of the nature of the substrates that can be used with each process, whether top coatings are required, how inks transfer and adhesion takes place, and the impact of these various elements on print quality and print performance.

To understand the substrate requirements and whether coatings are required it is essential to first look at two key areas: ink transfer and adhesion, and print quality and color consistency.