In part two of my interview with Mary Ellen Johnson, McCallum Print Group sales rep, she explains the nuts and bolts of digital printing equipment, ink, paper, and prepress, and reveals secrets to successful digital print jobs.

Please note that there are other digital presses in the marketplace, but some information here applies specifically to HP Indigo presses, since that’s the brand of digital equipment Mary Ellen works with.


NP: What should we know about paper for digital presses?

MEJ:  Papers for Indigo presses have been given a special surface treatment at the paper mill. These treated stocks come in uncoated—including 100% post-consumer waste stocks. Gloss, matte or dull coated are also available.

Most printers have a preferred house stock. When you specify the house stock, you not only know it will run well, but you’ll  also enjoy a better price, since the printer won’t have to buy full cartons of paper for your project.

NP:  How are digital inks different from traditional offset?

MEJ:  Many digital presses are toner based, so the color sits on top of the paper rather than soaking in like it would in traditional offset printing. Other presses, like the HP Indigo, use a liquid ink that combines clear, clean, strong pigments with a polymer. The ink is applied with heat and pressure, but it still sits on top of the paper, and is more fragile than offset inks. Digital inks can look very vibrant.

NP:  What kinds of digital presses does McCallum Print Group have?


HP 7000 Indigo press

MEJ: McCallum has HP Indigo presses. Indigo presses were first developed in Israel, and then bought by the Hewlett-Packard Company a few years ago.

We have the 3000, 5000 and 7000 series HP presses. The 3000 and 5000 can print up to  12 x 18 inches including bleed. Our newest press, the 7000, has the advantage of a larger image area, 13 x 19 inches with bleed.

NP:  What are the most notable improvements in the latest generation of presses?

MEJ:  The newest Indigo presses are faster and can handle larger paper. Our new HP Indigo 7000 does the best job with large-area screen tints and big solids. The offline coater that came with the 7000 can apply gloss or dull UV coating to protect the ink or flatten the appearance of the printing.


NP: What can customers do to ensure that their digital print projects are successful?

MEJ:  Love your art before you send it to us. This means releasing clean files that are approved and correct. Have great color to start with—if an image looks muddy in your file, it will print muddy, too. And be sure to include any bleeds in your files. For best results, especially on type, builds should be built with at least three colors.

Select a printer with a strong prepress department that will help you determine the best color builds and troubleshoot your files before they go to press. McCallum has developed prepress techniques to help ensure color consistency, which is especially important for brand colors.

NP: When buying digital printing, what should you look for in a printer?

MEJ: Send your job to an experienced printer—a company that is knowledgeable about ink on paper and doesn’t treat their press like a fancy color copier!

Go to Part One of interview…

Go to Part Three of interview…

Disclaimer: The FCC will be happy to know that Nani Paape, author of the Printing Disasters blog, received no compensation in exchange for this interview.