Aqueous coating: the fast-curing, water-based, inexpensive, in-line coating.
The end of the line.
The story of aqueous coating starts at the end — of the six-color press. The coater is the end unit in the press sequence and comes on last to seal and protect and beautify. A rapid curing process employs high heat to set and dry the aqueous application almost instantly.
Matte or gloss, it’s a real smoothie.
Aqueous stands between conventional varnish and UV coating as an extremely smooth, uniform film-coating. Smoother than varnish, the tactile result is great on most coated sheets, and it can enhance number 2 or lesser grades. Uncoated paper, however, isn’t as receptive to aqueous coating.
“Aqua” as in water!
A key distinction is the water-based formulation of aqueous coating. This makes the coating environmentally friendly, recyclable and biodegradable. Aqueous coating contains no alcohol, toxic fumes, or other polluting properties.
With the press sheets effectively “dried” by aqueous coating, there’s usually no waiting required before printing side two or proceeding to bindery operations. This can be a distinct advantage over varnish-coated jobs or unprotected runs with heavily-inked areas which require further drying.
There is one key caveat for all this protection — aqueous can be applied only as full-bleed coverage — “flooded” — over the entire printed area. The spot techniques available in varnishing, such as using a plate to place varnish anywhere on the page, are possible — but very costly — with aqueous.