In most conventional print jobs, the amount of time needed for a printed sheet to dry can be between 24 to 48 hours. There are however a few instances where drying time can take longer and slow down production. With digital printing there is no drying time required.
Most commercial small and large presses have IR dryers installed in-line to speed up the drying process. But the sheets must still sit for a period of time before finishing is started so they don’t scratch. Depending on the finishing work required, the sheet may need to dry completely before the work begins.
There are a few of the darker Pantone colors (typically the blues, Reflex is a notoriously slow drying ink) that can require extra dry time. One of the biggest factors in dry time is the coverage. If your piece has a lot of heavy color, rich blacks, dark blues or greens, it might take extra time for that ink to dry.
The paper is a factor as well. Coated sheets dry quicker than Matte sheets and Uncoated sheets can take the longest to dry. The matte and uncoated sheets act like sponges soaking up the ink and so take longer to dry.
Determining how long a press sheet will take to dry depends on many factors: atmospheric conditions, coverage, and paper types all contribute to the amount time. One way to help a job move along in production is to apply an aqueous coating. Using a coating seals in the ink, the coating dries quickly and the sheets come off the press and can be ready for finishing almost immediatly. We often suggest using an aqueous coating to clients who have tight turn-times on their jobs.
Varnishes will not speed drying time. A varnish must dry just like an ink, so there is no drying advantage with varnishes.
For synthetic stocks a drying agent can be added to the inks to help with drying, but it is still recommended that the sheets dry up to 48 hours before finishing.
It is always best to talk to your salesperson prior to sending in your files. Talk with them about your turn-times and show them printouts of your piece, they can suggest methods of printing and finishing that will make sure your project stays on schedule. But always figure in 24 hours at minimum for drying. If your schedule won’t allow drying time, you should consider printing digitally on our NexPress.