With the explosion of digital printing comes an ever growing need for creasing. Ask any print manufacturer and cracking along the fold is a major headache. There's nothing worse than creating a beautiful printed piece only to have the final look marred by unsightly cracking. Creasers eliminate cracking and protect the final look.
Creasing is very different from scoring, even though both techniques are intended to protect a folded edge. For years with offset printing scoring was perfect. Ink soaks into stock so although fibers may be cracking when the sheet is folded, the end product still looked great because there was no break in the color. In today's world of digital printing, in which toner lies upon the surface, we have to take a more aggressive approach to preparing the sheet for folding. Creasing implied the use of a dedicated creasing matrix with a channel and dye. The two sandwich the sheet and create a strong crease in the sheet so that fibers do not break during folding.
Creasing vs Scoring
Creasing and scoring are terms that are often used in place of one another but the truth is that they are quite different. Scoring is done with a rotary wheel that applies acute pressure to stretch paper fibers along a fold line. Creasing provides a much more pronounced affect by using an anvil and dye to strike the sheet. With the boom of digital printing the market demand for creasing has been growing too. Digital printing done with toner requires creasing over scoring due to the fact that toner lies on the surface of the printed sheet. In traditional offset printing with wet ink, the pigments will absorb into the stock. For that reason, scoring was usually enough to achieve good results. Even if the sheet cracked a little bit, it would not expose white paper fibers and diminish the final appearance.
Creasing Dye Matrix
The core of every creaser is the dye unit. This is an assembly that impacts the stock to create the crease. It will always consist of an upper and lower dye that come together in a matrix to imprint the crease pattern onto the sheet. The width of the channel within the crease matrix dictates the width of the crease. In general, narrow creases are better for thinner stocks and wider creases are better for thicker stocks. A more narrow crease allows a tighter fold and a flatter lay. Most creasing machines come with a standard dye but will have optional narrow and wide dyes available for special applications.
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