High quality printing doesn’t just come from the printing presses but rather there is a strategic process within the high-quality paper you chose for your form, flyer or marketing brochure. For example, when you use Domtar Husky, Lynx or Cougar paper, there is a special test to optimize sheet formation to ensure premium printing outcomes. Don’t just take it from us, take it from The Domtar Johnsonburg Mill process engineer, Shannon Gittermann.

“One of the biggest challenges to achieving a clean and uniform print job is picking — the appearance of small white specks in the printed colors. Picking happens when tiny bits of the sheet pull away as color is laid during the print process.”

In order to ensure you always get a good solid color when you print, the technicians use a wax pick test, which uses calibrated wax sticks to evaluate surface strength. The wax pick test simulates how ink will adhere to high-quality paper. In this picture on the left the paper is folded to test both sides at the same time. Results on the right identify failure results, known as picking. “We heat the wax so it will start to melt,” Gittermann says. “Each stick of wax has different adherence qualities. We apply each stick to the paper at a consistent pressure and let it cool for 20 minutes. After the wax sticks are cool, we pull them back and inspect.”

The engineers at the mills rely on these and other tests to assess manufacturing process variables. Technicians look for any disturbance in the sheet, such as rupturing of the paper surface, fibers sticking up from the paper surface or fibers sticking to the end of the wax stick after it is removed. “All of these results indicate the surface strength of the paper is lower than the adhesive value of the wax stick,” says Lori Slovik, Domtar’s technology manager for printing and publishing papers.

There is quite a bit of science and technology, along with rigorous testing that goes into the paper process.


Susan Foley, CEO

*Content for this article was taken from an online post from Domtar Newsroom