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Asked and Answered: Can I get some carbon forms?

Written by: Paula Fargo

paula fargo

A Mr. Pete Dionisopoulos from Baltimore writes in and asks: “I need some carbon order forms for my café, can you help me?”

Well, Pete, we certainly can help you with that. However, since it is now 2021, the type of paper you are requesting is actually called NCR, or “no carbon required.” Back in the day, you would have to get sets of paper with an actual sheet of carbon in between in order to transfer the image from the top sheet to the next sheet. Not anymore! These days, we printers use specialized paper that actually contains microscopic coatings that release carbon-like images when “broken” by writing on them. This cuts down on wasting the full carbon sheets that aren’t actually used and making it so much easier and less expensive to print and assemble.

Here’s the trick: the coatings have to match one to the other in order to release the carbon-looking image, so the back of the top sheet has to have one kind of coating and the top of the “receiving” sheet has to have another kind of coating for this whole process to work.

It sounds a little complicated, and it actually is, until you get used to the terminology and technical aspects. To make it easier, carbonless manufacturing companies have “standard” series of forms that have the correct coatings on them to work. There is standard 2 part carbonless (white-yellow), standard 3 part carbonless (white-yellow-pink), standard 4 part carbonless (white-yellow-pink-gold), etc. If you can stick with the standard colors, you can likely save time and cost.

That doesn’t mean you can’t get any colors you want, however. We just have to make sure to get the proper coatings on the proper sides of the sheets. For example, let’s say you want a 3 part carbonless form, top page white, second page green, third page blue. That means we have to print on white CB (coated back), green CFB (coated front and back) and blue CF (coated front) to make this work. We print all of the white, then all of the green, then all of the blue, collate them together and then adhere a special padding compound to the top so they “fan apart” after they dry.

I know it sounds a bit like alphabet soup but rely on your carbonless expert to get you the right solution to your forms problems!

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