Computer Stationery (Continuous Stationery) Printing
Continuous stationery is sometimes referred to as computer stationery, EDP paper, fanfold paper & continuous business forms.
It’s produced on specialised reel-to-reel presses which run the paper off a reel, through the press then back onto a rewind reel.
The paper first runs through the printing units which may number from one to generally a maximum of four.
From the last printing unit the paper then runs through a punching unit that punches out the small tractor feed holes that run on either side of the forms.
These holes engage with sprocket wheels on an impact printer, which push or pull the paper through the printer. They should be 12.7mm C to C.
The next unit may be the file punching unit that punched the forms so they can be filed in a ring binder.
The next process is perforating either in line with the paper flow so the tractor feed can be removed or across the web so as to create a detachable section on the form.
When the reel of paper is running through the press it’s actually quite taught. You can almost play the drums on it. By using a brake, the paper is actually stretched when it runs through.
It it’s stretched too much the distance between the tractor feed holes can vary.
This is not a huge problem when running a single sheet form but if the distance varies between sheets in a multi part form, problems can occur when trying to collate the forms as the tractor feed holes in each sheet will not line up.
This same problem can also create issues when running the forms through a tractor fed printer.
Separation and Binding
A burster is a machine that separates the continuous paper into separate, individual sheets along the perforations. A burster is typically used when the printed pages are to be used in mass-mail advertising.
This paper type was first used with large mainframe computer systems in the 1960s, but became widely popular in the 1980s due to the development of microcomputers and inexpensive dot-matrix consumer printers.
It started to disappear from the consumer market in the 1990s as inkjet printers and desktop publishing became more popular and widespread. Consumers were willing to pay more to get a professional printing system that could print standard sheets of typing paper and speciality stocks rather than lower quality continuous-feed paper.
By 2000, continuous feed paper had all but disappeared from the consumer market, but continues to be used in specialty commercial and industrial markets.