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Paper Moisture Content : How It Affects The Integrity Of Printouts

Paper Moisture Content : How It Affects The Integrity Of Printouts

How does the moisture content of paper affect the quality of printouts? There’s more to the use of transparencies in printing than getting them stocked for the next print job. In this regard, laser printers ought to dig this info.

Moisture content is a determining factor of print quality. Media with low moisture content has the tendency to curl and create paper handling troubles. On the other hand, high moisture content affects the adhesion of toner particles on paper that would likely result to poor quality printouts with smudges appearing on the printed page. There has got to be a reasonable balance between room temperature and humidity in order to obtain the type of prints desired.

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What therefore is the ideal printing environment? A fully air-conditioned facility with room temperature that hovers from around 70 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit and humidity content that ranges from 35% to 55% is considered highly conducive to laser printing. Packed reams of paper pulled out straight from the factory have a set moisture content of about 5%, which happens to be ideal for use on the laser printer. However, paper could either lose or gain moisture content when stored in a less favorable environment for several months. The manner by which paper is stored contributes much to the print quality of outputs. Therefore when stocking media, make sure that the reams of paper in inventory is consumed within a 3 month period.

Find below some helpful tips relevant to the handling and storing of laser printer media which consequently affects the upkeep of ideal moisture content and the sustained quality of printed output.

  1. Conduct print jobs with locations exhibiting comfort zone ranges in terms of temperature, humidity and air movement because excessive heat causes paper to lose its moisture content through evaporation; or gain moisture if room humidity is a bit too high.
  2. Store paper in a dry (average temperature) bin; preferably its original packaging since manufacturers designed those to be moisture-proof.
  3. Avoid storing paper in damp environments so as to prevent paper from absorbing too much moisture. In time, this could render the paper soggy and no longer fit for use on laser printers.
  4. Open only reams that could possibly be used for the whole day. Never leave stocks of paper bare. As much as possible, insert stacks of unused paper back to its packaging and seal it, particularly during weekends.
  5. Before committing to the purchase of reams of paper for a 3-month period, always conduct a test print to ensure that paper is suited for the laser printer.

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The American Society for Testing Materials (ASTM) is working with paper manufacturers to set the groundwork for an acceptable paper standard. Until then, laser printer users are left to fend for themselves.

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Print defects do not always result from the use of an unspecified paper type, low toner supply can sometimes contribute to defects. In this case, refilling an empty cartridge with compatible toner supplied by a toner refill kit can resolve the issue.

Photo by pakorn

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