A good printer’s goal is to reproduce the work as close to the original as possible, no matter the quantity. When it comes to folding after printing, customers won’t tolerate a finished piece where sheets are warped, cracked, or split. Therefore, creasing and scoring becomes important for jobs when printed papers won’t fold without issue.
Dealing with Folding Issues
It’s important to remember that there are a few factors that determine the performance of paper. The structure of paper varies with things like coating thickness and fiber content. Although coated papers tend to reproduce originals better, they are also more susceptible to cracking. The inks and varnishes involved in the printing process contribute to making paper less flexible. Paper’s moisture content and the relative humidity of your pressroom environment also play a role. As such, the first strategy for minimizing the cracking problem is to examine these three factors and make adjustments as needed.
Creasing & Scoring
The second strategy for handling cracking problems in high-quality commercial printing is creasing. Even if three factors listed above are all perfect, creasing (or scoring) may still be necessary for some stock. It’s worth noting that creasing and scoring, although often used interchangeably, are actually different. Scoring involves any method that reduces paper stiffness along a line, whereas creasing refers to the creation of a “paperboard hinge” via compression along the line where folding will occur.
Eliminating Cracking and Splitting
When sheets are bent at the crease, the force that would normally cause splits or cracks in the sheet are directed inwards instead. As the fold continues, a rounded bead is formed inside the fold to absorb all the force, keeping the folded piece smooth and unbroken. Creasing can be achieved through a platen method (flat sheet and die board) or a rotary method (paper runs through cylinders or wraps around cylinder). Although scoring can eliminate fiber cracks, as the sheets get heavier a stronger compression force is needed to prevent cracking. That’s where creasing comes in, and why it’s so important to the entire printing process. When done successfully, creasing helps printers achieve a faithful print reproduction.
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Established in 1976, Atlantic Graphic Systems has been a premier equipment sales and service provider for forty years. The technology of printing has been integral to the communication of ideas and information for hundreds of years. We’re proud to work in this historic and dynamic field. If you’d like to order equipment or services, call us at 410-290-8200 or visit our Contact Page. Want to keep up with the latest news and information? Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, and Linkedin!