Q. How does "Digital Printing"

Offset lithography is the most common high volume commercial "CMYK" or "Full Colour" Printing technology. In offset printing, the desired print image is burned onto a plate and is then transferred (or offset) from the plate to a rubber blanket, and then to the printing surface. The lithographic process is based on the repulsion of oil and water. The image to be printed gets ink from ink rollers, while the non printing area attracts a film of water, keeping the non printing areas ink-free.

Digital printing eliminates many of the mechanical steps required for conventional printing, including making films and colour proofs, and then making plates.

 

They both have their advantages and uses:

Advantages of Digital

  • Shorter turnaround.
  • Every print is the same. More accurate counts, less waste and fewer variations, due to not having to balance ink and water during press run.
  • Cheaper low volume printing. While the unit cost of each piece may be higher than with offset printing, when setup costs are included digital printing provides lower per unit costs for very small print runs.
  • Variable Data Printing is a form of customisable digital printing. Using information from a database or external file, text and graphics can be changed on each piece without stopping or slowing down the press. For example, personalised letters can be printed with a different name and address on each letter. Variable data printing is used primarily for direct marketing, customer relationship development and advertising.

 

Advantages of Offset

  • High image quality.
  • Works on a wide range of printing surfaces including paper, wood, cloth, metal, leather, rough paper and plastic.
  • The unit cost goes down as the quantity goes up.
  • Quality and cost-effectiveness in high volume jobs. While today‚Äôs digital presses are close to the cost/benefit ratio of offset for high quality work, they are not yet able to compete with the volume an offset press can produce.
  • Many modern offset presses use computer-to-plate systems as opposed to the older computer-to-film work flows, further increasing quality.