Evaluating Glossy Paper Media for use with NeuraLabel 300x Printer
Even the best label printers depend on the quality of the media to produce good looking prints. To achieve excellent print quality, some types of media (in particular glossy papers) require a post-print ink curing time, during which it is necessary to avoid handling the printed media. For glossy papers, both appearance and cure time are important for achieving an attractive usable, product label.
Because of the popularity of glossy paper for product labeling, NeuraLabel R&D set out to find the best glossy paper medias for its NeuraLabel 300x pigment ink label printer. We tested 10 glossy papers from 6 media manufacturers with a variety of label images and driver settings. Prints were evaluated based on appearance and cure time using simple rub and scratch tests. Here is what we found.
Generally, waiting at least one full minute before handling the glossy paper media after printing allows the ink to cure and prevents damage to the image. An hour’s cure time allowed all our medias to attain reasonable rub and scratch resistance. In cases where quick application is needed, it is advisable to choose one of the medias with a comparatively short cure time.
A factor that helped reduce cure time for all medias is using less ink, and especially less black ink, on the printed page. Black ink particles are larger than other colors and may have a harder time adhering to the slick glossy media coating. Certain driver settings such as Synthetic Labels use less black ink and can significantly help with dry time. The Glossy Labels driver setting is another alternative that uses no black ink. This generally produces superior cure time results, but the image quality is often not as brilliant. Selecting an InkSaver setting that turns down ink usage for all colors would also help. Ink settings are found in the NeuraLabel 300x printer driver.
NeuraLabel R&D conducted tests on a variety of glossy medias to identify those with quick cure times as well as high image quality. Two types stood out with regards to image quality: AzCoat 200499N and Wausau Coated W025864. Both the AzCoat and Wausau Coated media did a superior job of preserving the integrity of darker parts of the image, which tend to show discoloration or blotchiness on other types of media. However, both of these medias are vulnerable to initial smudge and scratch sensitivity. For using these high quality medias with the 300x, we recommend a dry time of at least one hour to ensure the best results.
Quick drying medias such as Wausau Coated W026252 or Avery Dennison Fasson 500 dried within 15 seconds of print completion and could be applied immediately without risk of significantly obscuring the image. These medias still had extremely good image quality and are also recommended for use with the NeuraLabel 300x. Additional higher-quality options with recommended cure times of at least one minute include Wausau Coated W018890 and Green Bay Packaging S8721460. Both these medias achieve comparable resistance while maintaining a quality image and can be a great compromise.
NeuraLabel R&D Test Results for Selecting Glossy Paper Media for use with NeuraLabel 300x Printer
Best Appearance (untouched)
- AzCoat 200499N
- Wausau Coated W025864
Fastest Drying with Excellent Quality
- Wausau Coated W026252
- Avery Dennison Fasson DemandJet 500HG
Good Overall Choices
- Wausau Coated W018890
- Green Bay Packaging S8721460
For a full list of recommended medias please visit http://www.neuralabel.com/Qualified-Media.php.