Testing Services for the paper, nonwovens, packaging, and consumer products industries.

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A Printer’s Problem Or Not?

The Problem: A nationally recognized printing company asked the professionals at SGS-IPS Testing to examine an unsightly and unacceptable contamination on several pages of a printed paper instruction booklet. They were worried that the presence of the dark stains in the booklet could give customers doubts about the sanitary conditions of the accompanying product. It was of utmost importance to this company to know whether the contamination occurred during their handling of the paper or if it existed prior to receiving it from the paper maker.


The Analysis: Three key features about the contaminant were quickly identified. First, the printed lettering overlays the contaminant. Second, the contaminant is within the sheet with the paper deformed around it. Third, infrared spectroscopy identified starch and calcium carbonate as the primary ingredients of the contaminant.

The Conclusion: The contaminant was not introduced during the printing process. Rather, it occurred during the manufacture of the paper and is composed of materials that are common to papermaking and not printing. Not only was the client very relieved to learn that the defect was not caused by their process but also, they now had sufficient information to convince their paper supplier that this was a raw materials issue.

Cross-sectional view
IR Spectroscopy Results

The peaks (bands) in an infrared spectrum are a chart of atomic vibrations of the atoms in a molecule. Every molecule has its identifying peaks, like a fingerprint.