Is there a future for NCR Printing?
It appears delivery drivers are now more likely to carry bar-scanners than an NCR pad to get a signature for proof of delivery.
Signing a plastic screen rather than the carbonated top copy sheet of paper seems to be the norm in this digital era.
It will not be long before every business will be able to use digital records rather than the traditional manual records.
In the meantime, there are many small and medium sized businesses that still require NCR printing for their records.
There is no doubt that for some operations NCR printing is both the most practical and cost-effective solution.
And there are even some new applications that are becoming quite popular.
What is NCR?
NCR stands for “No Carbon Required”.
For those of us old enough to remember – NCR largely replaced the sheet of carbon paper.
This was coated paper that used to be inserted between two sheets of plain paper.
The impression or impact of the pen or typewriter could then provide a copy.
Then in 1953 the NCR Corporation came up with this wonderful new idea.
Using micro-encapsulated dye and reactive clay, a distinct copy of the printing will appear on all sheets of paper.
The bottom of the top sheet contains the dye.
When pressure is applied to the top page, the micro-capsules filled with dye will break and spill onto the top of the sheet below.
The dye that is spilled will react with the clay that is coated which ultimately leaves a permanent mark.
This reaction will never bleed because the dye capsules are microscopic and therefore very precise.
The Rise and Rise of NCR Printing.
NCR printing was adopted by virtually every company in the world for all the critical operational and financial applications.
NCR printing was used for delivery notes, purchase orders, job sheets, invoices and statements.
As a printing business we undertook all sorts of NCR printing jobs.
One of our largest customer was a local steel stockholder who needed self-carbonated weighbridge tickets almost on a weekly basis.
We even acquired a Risograph – a printer that evolved from the original Gestetner duplicators.
This was used almost solely for NCR printing and was used regularly every day.
You could have almost any number of sheets in a set. We even printed 5 part sets for one local wholesale distributor.
And we were just printing the flat sheets. This represented just a small part of the total NCR printing market.
There were many specialist continuous forms printers that produced everything imaginable in large quantities.
The Future of NCR Printing
The volumes of NCR printing have fallen dramatically due to technological changes and the growth of electronic communication and storage.
There are now very few large businesses that require forms or any other type of NCR printing.
However, some of the benefits of NCR printing remain.
Your forms can be customised with your own logos and information.
They are popular with tradesmen when they are hand writing out a quotation or sketching out their ideas on a site visit.
They are also still popular for contracts. A carbon copy ensures each party keeps a signed copy of an original. Whereas with a photocopy the contents can be tampered with.
We still print NCR sets in spot pantone colours on our litho press.
However, the trend now is to use one of the trade printers who specialise in NCR printing.
The equipment and finishing skills are becoming more difficult to find.
If the market is disappearing then there is less profit potential for suppliers of print finishing equipment and NCR printing specialists as well.
But there is always the digital print alternative.
Digital NCR Printing
We are now able to purchase special NCR paper that is specifically designed to work on our toner-based digital production presses.
We can still use traditional NCR paper but it tends to curl and jam the machines.
So we purchase pre-collated sets suitable for digital printing.
They are usually in sets of white, pink and yellow sheets of NCR paper
This has made full colour NCR printing cost-effective for smaller quantities.
We can even number the pages as they pass through the press to save time and money.
This means even the small businesses are able to generate high quality documentation and forms.
And we can add all the usual finishing options.
Convert your NCR printing into pads or books
A pad is simply collated sets that are glued (usually along the short edge) and have some form of backing thick card or greyboard on the back.
Books are designed so that one or more of the copies are kept in the book.
We usually fix a special padding tape and a flap-over writing shield to provide extra protection.
The sheets that are perforated can be removed.
At Direct2Print we can finish your NCR printing into either books or pads – or simply leave them loose as collated sets.
Printing is completed quickly and we can provide help and assistance with the artwork layout for your NCR printing.