A Game Changer for Photo Printing – Pebble Paper
Recently I’ve been writing and interviewing with RT about our updated stone paper material, Pebble Paper. Here are some important updates about our development, and where we are now.
Two weeks ago, we released a version of our Pebble Paper for the first time with a semi-gloss finish and higher thickness than our previous 160 micron batch. We did this because we had noticed that glossy finishes tend to increase the perceived saturation and dynamic colors of a printed image. The increased thickness adds a nice rigidity.
Shortly after the first roll of that paper came out, I took it to a printer in Dongguan, China to have it tested on the leading inkjet printer on the market, a Fujifilm JetPress 750S. (See YouTube for official video) Here is what we learned from that test.
The G7 expert told us our paper is better than their high-end graphic printing paper. It dried faster at a lower temperature and reproduced details and colors better than their current paper. This was a great result, but hardly a surprise based on the sophisticated coating technology we’ve developed. The intended application for Pebble Paper is as a replacement for resin-coated (RC) photo paper.
Now here I am, back in the US for Christmas vacation. I brought back a suitcase of the new material, and I’ll be organizing another video test with a fine art photographer. It’s an important test because there an expert will tell us if we can really compete with RC papers. I don’t want to speak too soon, but I think we’ll be pretty comparable. I’ve done a number of other tests that have me convinced we are comparable. If we are indeed comparable, here is what it means for you and the printing world.
Based on conservative calculations for the leading photographic paper brands (Epson, Kodak, Mitsubishi, etc), high-end resin coated papers are likely to be a 500,000 tons per year global market. If you’re familiar with paper, that might not seem like a lot. But these papers are extremely expensive.
According to our excited German distributor, the lowest sales price to be found for RC papers in Germany is around $17,000 USD/ton. This is 17-times more expensive than conventional offset paper at ~$1000 USD/ton. This confirms similar findings in the USA, India, and even China domestically.
While offering uncompromising quality, our calculations suggest our production costs are likely to be half of RC papers.
This makes sense when you look at how RC papers are manufactured. They are a high-quality, thick paper core wrapped by two layers of PE (waterproofing/gloss) and coated with an ink-friendly emulsion. In the case of Pebble Paper, we can completely skip the paper core and simplify the plastic coating. Our recipe is 80% stone powder, and 20% PE. Our paper is tear-resistant, waterproof, high-quality and everything that RC photo papers are modified to be. The biggest difference is the fact our paper doesn’t need any trees, water, only needs half the energy of regular paper, and generates no pollution in production. Its sustainability is head and shoulders above all tree-based papers.
So now, we will get the first direct RC paper comparison recorded next week, and the evidence will continue collecting. We’re always interested in new partnerships abroad, and samples are available internationally for $60 USD.
- New Specialty Paper Made from Stone Proves Sustainable
- Pebble Printing Releases First Stone Paper Compatible with Inkjet
- Paper Made From Stone Gives the Environment a Boost
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