Quick Guide: Specialty Substrates

We all know that offset presses can print on paper. Paper of all kinds, weights, and finishes can run through our presses. But did you know that digital presses can run non-paper substrates too?

One of my favorite non-paper substrates Yupo. It’s a completely waterproof “paper” that isn’t paper at all—it’s made from polypropylene (plastic) pellets that are extruded and spun into rolls. It’s very smooth and can hold ink with “razor-sharp precision.” Best of all, since it is waterproof, it can wipe clean! Imagine eliminating the laminating process by just using wipe-clean substrate to begin with!

While sheetfed offset presses can run an extremely wide variety of paper, that wasn’t always the case for digital printing. At first, there were very limited options for digital substrates: pretty much just white paper in a short range of text and cover weights. Now, the options abound and include some wild pre-made dimensional products.

A dimensional product is something that will become 3D. Think table tents, cubes, boxes, etc. These items can be pre-die cut and pre-scored so that they can run through a digital press and immediately be put together. This greatly shortens the conversion time, or the time it takes to put the box or other product together.

Digital presses now can print on non-paper substrates too. Short runs can be printed on vinyl, transparent substrates, and other thin plastics. Our partners can print on metal and acrylic, too, so if you have a project outside the scope of sheetfed capability, we can work with you on that also.