Paper Facts: Part 1 Paper Weight

Did you know that January is National Papercrafting Month?  Who knew?  I sure didn’t!  Nevertheless, what would be a better time to discuss printer paper then smack-dab in the middle of Papercrafting month?  

Over the next few weeks, we will be discussing all things paper.  Obviously, without paper there is no printing.  The type, weight, size and quality of your paper all affect the quality of your prints.  Today we will look at weight.  This information is from an article in the online knowledgebase.  I am copying it directly for you here.  I do not know who compiled and wrote this article but they deserve kudos for pulling together all of this information in an easy to follow format.  So here we go Paper Weight:

Paper Weight

Paper Weight Explained:

Paper weight is measured in pounds (lbs) or in grams per square meter (gsm). The weight in lbs is determined by weight of a stack of 500 sheets of 17″x22″ paper. In grams/square meter, the weight of the paper is, as implied by the name, the weight of the paper measured in grams of a square meter of paper.

Typically, the basic “Plain” printing paper (such as Xerox Vitality Multipurpose Paper) is 20 lb/75 gsm paper. This paper is branded as multipurpose as it is a good weight for Digital Copiers and Printers, including Laser and Inkjet Printers, and is ideal for everyday use in Office environments. Another commonly used paper weight is 24 lb/90 gsm (such as Xerox Bold Digital Printing Paper), which is smoother and slightly thicker, giving enhanced print quality and resolution, lower opacity meaning less see-through, and a more substantial feel and professional appearance.

There are also heavier weights of paper, such as Bond (28 lb/105 gsm or 32 lb/120 gsm), Lightweight Cardstock (60 lb/163 gsm), Cardstock (80 lb/216 gsm), Heavy Cardstock (100 lb/270 gsm), which are used for different applications, such as printed covers for booklets.

Paper Weight Considerations:

It should be noted that when properly loading the paper and configuring the machine, heavier paper weights require the correct setting to ensure proper function of the printer. Failure to correctly configure the correct settings can lead to the following issues:

  • Internals adjust pressure and speed for thicker paper – As the internals inside the printer electronically set charge, heat and pressure depending on the paper weight setting programmed, an incorrect weight setting can cause issues with friction applied and print speed of the paper as it passes through the printer. This can cause paper to skew, slip, misfeed, jam, image quality issues or cause rapid wear to internal mechanics such as rollers.
  • Heavier paper fuses at a higher temperature – A heavier paper weight means the paper has more mass. A paper type with more mass means that it requires more heat for the paper to heat up in the fusing process for the Toner to properly bond with the paper. An incorrect weight setting can lead to issues with improperly fused Toner, such as smearing or rubbing off.
  • Toner applied differently to different paper weights – Differences in paper weights require the Toner be deposited using different charges when applying Toner to the paper. Incorrect tray settings can cause image quality issues such as or mottled prints, deletions, poor print resolution or light or dark output.

There you have it, paper weights explained.  Next time we will look at Paper Size. 

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