May 6th 2016

The TRUE cost of cheap-the 5 pitfalls of using low-cost synthetics

Low-cost synthetics like polypropylene film may be cheap but it can end up costing far more than the cost of the material. Repair bills, poor quality and downtime are a few of the pitfalls of sub-standard synthetics and here’s why:

1)      Did you know temperatures inside your machines can reach over 200C! That means heat stability is a major issue when printing and with cheap synthetics, that can lead to jams and melting inside your machine!  In fact, some synthetics can melt at temperatures as low as 100C. Manufacturers invest significant time and money certifying products to ensure they meet the rigorous demands inside your machine and set criteria stipulated in contracts, regulations and specification to maximize your runtime.  Downtime and costly repair bills will ensue if the root of a problem rests with uncertified stock.

2)      A cheap, uncertified synthetic may lie flat through the fusing heat, but that’s only part of the science in producing great durable prints.  Many cheap synthetic films have no coating which is needed to take on the bias charge evenly across the print surface.  Without a coating engineered and designed specifically for your machine, the toner will simply scatter and drop off onto the transfer belt instead of sticking where it should.  Bad transfer means poor colour density, loss of definition in prints, and printing artefacts such as voids and “water-marks.  Is it worth the risk of delivery that to your top customer?

3)      Beware of using low cost synthetics with fuser oil engines! The nature of many of these films causes the oil to build up and prevent lamination from bonding properly.  Over time, this residual oil builds up in your machine and in the paper stack.  Whilst the colour may be acceptable you are likely to get whispers of toner that starts to scatter along black outline edges and develop “water drop” markings from sheet to sheet.  The longer the run, the more these flaws increase until eventually you are faced with reprinting.  That’s more downtime to clean up and more time spent replacing prints instead of running new jobs.

And whilst changing the charger unit does seem to remedy this, it is only temporary as the problem typically reoccurs 50-100 copies into the new run.  That’s a lot of work if you want to print that big job.

4)      We’ve all seen it, yellow halos, colour that doesn’t fit in the lines, and images that don’t line up front to back.  One of the biggest reasons?  Poor performance of the print media.  Cheap synthetics are prone to stretching, distorting, and mis-alignment, especially when exposed to heat.  Premium substrates are designed to be ultra-stable in even the harshest print environment for perfect images, flawless registration, and the ultimate clean look delivered to your customer.

5)      Ease of use in the print room is one thing, but it’s a whole other story when you consider that customer’s final needs!  Cheap synthetics not only look cheap on the budget, but they look cheap in the customer’s application!  Store signs with scuffed off toner, menu’s with rubbed off ink, and let’s not even talk about what happens when you accidently get something as mundane as hand-sanitizer on them.  Only KernowPrint is designed to be scuff resistant, weatherproof, and ultra-durable…without the need for lamination or varnishes!  It even holds up to alcohol, bleach, and chemicals!  Simply print, deliver, and admire. 

The moral of this story is you pay for what you get.  Cheap synthetics that have not been manufacturer certified can cost far more and lead to machine jams, downtime, reprints and ultimately dissatisfied customers.

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