Lightweight coated (LWC), medium weight coated (MWC) and wood free coated and uncoated paper are all types of printing paper which are used in magazine printing, catalogue printing, newspaper supplements, inserts, brochure printing and direct mail amongst other things.
Not all paper is created equal. Different papers are created from different types of pulp (mechanical or chemical pulp), have different coatings, different weights and different finishes (gloss, silk, matt or uncoated) to name a few of the different characteristics. But does it really matter? In short, yes, because different characteristics will affect its grade which in turn affects the choice of paper which will be best for the type of printing and product you are producing and ultimately its cost. The following is a short guide highlighting the main characteristics of these printing papers as well as the types of printing and products they are typically used for.
Cost effective solutions for Direct Mail, Catalogue Printing and Magazine Printing
Lightweight coated (LWC) paper is made from mechanical pulp. The mechanical pulping process uses logs or wood chips to mechanically separate the wood fibres which are used to make paper. These lightweight papers are single coated and typically weigh between 36-70 gsm for the standard brightness but can be 57-90 gsm for higher gloss and whiteness which leads to higher brightness and more vibrant colour printing. LWC papers are typically used for heat-set web offset and rotogravure printing of magazines, brochures and catalogues. A hybrid grade known as LWC Hi-Brite provides higher brightness and opacity than MWC.
Medium weight coated (MWC) paper is also made from mechanical pulp same as LWC but it is double coated and has a more consistent smooth surface which can be gloss, silk or matt in finish. Medium weight paper tends to be over 80gsm because of its more consistent surface it makes it a good choice for heat-set web offset printing higher quality products such as news-stand magazines or high end direct mail catalogues.
High end paper for Brochure Printing
Wood free paper is a finer paper made from chemical pulp which uses a sulphate process to cook wood fibres to remove the lignin from the wood; lignin is woods natural binding agent. Wood free paper tends not to go yellow over time, is bright, lasts longer and stores better than mechanical pulp paper which doesn’t go through this chemical process. The number of coatings it has also affects it quality (one, two or three) and can be matt, silk or gloss finished. These wood free fine coated papers tend to be use for high quality Magazine covers, Brochure Printing and Catalogue Printing. Uncoated wood free fine papers have a wide range of uses including advertising materials, books, maps and office paper and the weight can range from 60gsm lightweight through to cardboard grade weights.
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