At Holmen Paper we are more than just experts on paper – we are also experts on how to achieve the perfect print and the best runnability using our paper. Our Technical Support employees are ready to spring into action whenever you need help.

Holmen Paper's Technical Support personnel possess a wealth of knowledge about paper and about printing technology. Some are located at our sales offices in Germany, France, Spain, Italy and the UK while others work at our two paper mills in Sweden. Their job is to attend test printings, help resolve print-related technical issues and investigate complaints. They are a vital cog in the wheel when changes are made in the production process such as an adjustment to the paper machine or a new type of packaging. They spend many working hours travelling around, covering multiple countries, but they have solid backup to make sure that no customer has to wait for assistance.

When does Technical Support enter the picture?

As a new customer, you may meet them in the pre-order stage if they are taking part in the technical discussion, providing recommendations on settings for pre-press and choice of inks, for example. They can also be present at test printings to check quality, which is useful if you have changed printer or want to try a new paper. When Holmen VIEW Matt was launched, representatives from Technical Support attended the test printings, and the same was true when we switched paper machine for some of our book paper. Each paper grade has its unique properties, which the printing firm needs to take into account. Printing on uncoated paper from Holmen Paper’s product range is quite different from printing on a glossier, coated paper.

“I think the printing firms across Europe have become increasingly skilled at printing on our paper grades, but if they need our expertise, we’ll always be there,” says Jens Erkas, Technical Support Manager at the paper mill in Hallsta.

If a problem arises

If you have a printing problem, simply call or email Technical Support. If you don’t have the contact details for anyone at Technical Support, you can turn to your salesperson or Customer Care representative.

Most of the cases that come in to Technical Support relate to runnability and printing issues.

“It may, for instance, be a matter of the paper tearing or generating dust, the inks smudging or deposits building up in the printing press. We head out immediately if the customer has a short deadline, and otherwise we wait until the next print run,” says Linus Lehnberg, Technical Support Manager at the paper mill in Braviken.

In the best case, they get a few days to carry out a little detective work at their end, usually together with technicians and engineers on the production side. Once they have the batch number of the paper reels that are being problematic, so they can tell when and where the paper was made, they can then examine the process data on that particular paper machine. What was the situation when these reels were manufactured? Did the operators report any problems with wrinkling or slack edges, for example? Could this have led to faults in the paper?

“We look out for patterns. Might the problem lie with the paper machine, the winder or could a fault have occurred with a particular order?” explains Linus.

Technical detective work

If the problem appears to be paper-related, the recommendation is usually to take out the reels affected and instead try other reels that were manufactured in a different week, for example, to see whether this makes any difference.

“If we can’t find any clues in the process data, then the problem may not lie with the paper. It might instead be to do with some element of the printing firm’s process. We can solve many problems over the phone or by email, where we receive pictures and videos of the printers and can then suggest things that they should try. If that doesn’t help, we always head out on a site visit,” continues Linus.

Jens recently visited a printing firm in Belgium because they were having problems with the paper tearing. There was nothing in the process data to explain the breakages, but many printing presses have video cameras and by playing the video back, Jens could see that the paper had areas of thinning and holes that were causing the tears.

“So we removed the reels that were manufactured at the same time and tried a few others instead. Then everything started running smoothly,” he relates.

Many printing firms keep a stock of paper, but if this is not the case, Technical Support is usually able to quickly source replacement paper.

“Our ambition is for customers to be satisfied at every stage from placing an order until the point when their magazines, books or direct mail are printed”

Continuous improvement

A report is written after every visit to a printing firm, with this document fulfilling a vital function in the paper mills’ work on continuous improvement. A wide range of quality controls are performed during the manufacturing process, including tests on the paper reels to measure strength, brightness, shade, opacity and roughness, and there is a camera system on the paper machine that looks out for holes and defects. The aim is, of course, for no defective paper reels to leave the paper mill.

“Our ambition is for customers to be satisfied at every stage from placing an order until the point when their magazines, books or direct mail are printed” conclude Jens and Linus.