Carbonless Paper Info: Best Practices & FAQ

Guy’s E. Paper produces high quality carbonless paper in 2, 3, 4, 5, 6+ parts that meets the higher standard needed for medical, food processing, shipping, and other forms used across a wide variety of applications. We provide carbonless paper in both reverse and straight sequence and offer a wide variety of custom perforation and punching options.

Since we’ve been producing carbonless since 1998, we’ve assembled the following list of best practices and answers to frequently asked questions.

What Is Carbonless Paper?

Carbonless paper is dye coated transfer paper that was developed in the 1950s as an alternative to carbon paper. Carbonless is used for business forms or in any industry where multiple copies of an original document is required as part of the record keeping process.

How Does Carbonless Paper Work?

Carbonless paper have specific coatings that, when used together in a correct sequence, creates a chemical reaction designed to produce an image. Carbonless sheets are coated with either capsules containing colorless dyes and/or receptors that mate with the dyes to form an image. When writing on a carbonless sheet, the pressure from the pen on the top sheet causes the capsules, which are part of the coating on the back of the sheet, to burst and release the image forming dyes. The dyes from the burst capsules then mate with the receptors that are part of the coating on the top side of the next sheet to create a black image.

There are three types of carbonless sheets:

  1. Coated Back (CB): the top sheet on a completed carbonless form that is coated on one side with ink capsules
  2. Coated Front & Back (CFB): the middle sheet that is coated on two sides – receptors are on one side and ink capsules are on the opposite side
  3. Coated Front (CF): the bottom or last sheet of a carbonless form that is coated on one side with receptors

Carbonless Paper 3 Layers & Transfer Process

Waterfall vs. Doctor’s Blade Technique

The capsules in carbonless paper are laid down with one of two techniques. The waterfall technique compensates for high and low points on the paper, while a doctors blade is set at a specific height that creates inconsistent lay down of capsules

Southern vs. Northern Paper Fibers

Southern fibers for carbonless paper are cultivated from trees grown in the warmer, southern regions of the United States. With shorter periods of dormancy, southern trees produce a longer, stronger fiber, which leads to the production of smoother running carbonless sheets that are run faster on your press.

Northern fibers are cultivated from trees with a longer dormant period between growing seasons, which causes them to be shorter and more brittle. This leads to production of a less flexible carbonless sheet that creates more jams and other problems in the print process. Presses then must be run slower to compensate for the inefficiencies of carbonless sheets made with northern fibers.

Ideal Printing & Storage Conditions

The ideal temperature of a pressroom is 70 degrees with humidity of 50%. We recommend that you keep paper stored in protective packaging until needed. To ensure smooth feeding, make sure paper is fanned on all four sides before loading into a printer or copier. Make sure paper is facing the correct print direction. Test 1-2 printed sets to ensure proper direction and sequencing of paper before running the full job. Unused paper should be stored back in the protective packaging or at least covered in plastic.

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