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Digital Inkjet VS Toner—What’s the Difference?

| Books

We are excited for the upcoming launch of our latest press acquisition, the HP PageWide T250 HD inkjet press. This new digital inkjet press comes with the latest printhead technology, which will have a positive impact for many of our customers.

Two of the biggest challenges when launching new technology and equipment are understanding how it will impact our customers, and which products will run best on this new technology. We spent a lot of time getting customer feedback, working with vendors, and analyzing our product types to ensure the investments we are making line up with the current and future needs of our customer base. As we progress through the install and start to run this press, we will share insights and information to help you better understand the benefits of using it, and with which products this press will help provide you with the best quality combined with competitive prices.

In this article, we want to give you a high-level overview of what each of these digital print technologies does to put ink on paper.

Toner—HP 50000 Indigo

  • Cost—In most cases, the cost is higher versus inkjet.
  • Speed—Runs slower than inkjet.
  • Quality—Higher print quality than inkjet. The Electro ink sits on top of the paper, and can often give you brighter colours with increased contrast. At Friesens, the colour calibration is aligned with our offset presses. In general, the toner-based digital press print is a higher quality than inkjet. Keep in mind when you have books with black type only, there will be minimal differences.
  • Substrates—Fewer options compared to offset or inkjet. At Friesens, we do stock various offset, gloss, and matte coated papers for our HP Indigo (toner) press.
  • Run length—In most cases, we would run one thousand books or less (dependent on page count).

Inkjet—HP PageWide T250 HD

  • Cost—In most cases, the cost is lower versus toner.
  • Speed—Runs at higher speeds than toner.
  • Quality—Inkjet has improved considerably, but in general the quality is not quite as good (dependent on imagery and colours). The inkjet ink is water-based, and ink absorbs into the fibres, which tends to lower the brightness and contrast. The dots on the inkjet press are not as sharp; therefore, less contrast. As mentioned earlier, in some cases where you have black type only, there would be minimal differences. If colour is less critical and more pleasing, inkjet may be the right choice for you.
  • Substrates—We are starting off with a smaller subset of stocks available on the inkjet and will add more as we gain more experience in how substrates perform and what the market requires. Inkjet supports a wider range of stocks partially because the ink transfers to the paper without contact, reducing the number of variables that need to be controlled in the transfer of ink to paper. We plan to run offset, gloss, and matte coated papers and may expand as we better understand the capabilities.
  • Run length—If we compare run lengths to 1/1 black web press, we expect to run quantities of two thousand and less. In some 4-colour projects we may run up to a quantity of five thousand (page count does play a factor).

We’d love to hear how we can be of service to you!

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