The digital printing is a printing technique increasingly widespread and use in all sectors, from the commercial to the editorial to packaging. The rapid evolution of the technologies use for large format digital printing have allow this printing process to become increasingly competitive with respect to letterpress or offset printing techniques.
But what exactly is meant by digital printing? What advantages does it offer? What are the differences between digital printing and offset printing? In this article, we will see what digital printing is, what its applications are, why choose it over offset printing and in what direction this printing technique is evolving.
What is digital printing?
The digital printing is a printing system base on technologies that enable the sending of digital files from a personal computer or other electronic device to the printer. The files, transmit in formats such as PDF, TIF, JPG or other graphic electronic formats, can be print on supports of different materials, such as paper , cardboard , rigid panels of various materials ( forex , plexiglass , aluminum , wood , etc.), PVC , canvas , fabricsor other. In the process, the ink is imprint directly on the substrate to be print.
Digital printing for home use generally uses laser or inkjet printers while industrial for large format uses UV , latex , solvent , ecosolvent and sublimation printing . It does not require the use of plates or stencils use for letterpress printing. This makes digital particularly suitable even for short runs, which with offset printing are not sustainable because they are too expensive.
With online digital printing , brochures , leaflets , brochures , postcards , envelopes and any other commercial and marketing material can be create. The efficiency and quality achieve today by the technologies used for digital , allow it to be applied also to different supports, such as canvas or PVC , rigid supports , such as wood , plexiglass and aluminum , and large format for the of playbills , posters and banners. It guarantees optimal yield both in terms of high definition and colors thanks to print management systems that allow the image to maintain the same appearance regardless of the media on which it is reproduce.
The history of digital printing
The history of digital printing is relatively recent. Its origins date back fifty years, with the invention of the first digital laser printer in the Xerox laboratories in 1969. It was only in 1984, however, that digital g became more widespread, with the market launch of the first printer. Hewlett Packard’s HP LaserJet commercial product, follow by other similar products from Xerox, Canon, Apple and IBM. The first laser printers print in black and white and are not yet consumer products, they are mostly bought by companies for use in their offices.
In 1988, HP’s first inkjet printer for home use appear on the consumer market. Digital printers become a consumer commodity. In 1993, the first digital color printer was launch.
The technologies for , today, continue to evolve and develop. In companies, digital printers are multifunction devices that also include copier, fax and scanner. Digital printers are ever faster, more efficient and able to print at very high quality, in large sizes, at significantly lower costs and times than offset printing, even for short runs.
The advantages of digital printing
Digital printing has revolutionize the world of printing. Thanks to the digitization of printing processes, it is now possible to print any image, graphics or text on any type of support, in a very short time, at low cost and with high quality results.
But what exactly are the advantages of digital printing over offset printing ?
- Digital printing is cheaper than letterpress printing, especially on short runs. This system, in fact, does not require the preparation of plates or matrices, the setting up of the machine and start-up times, which represent the major cost items of offset printing;
- For the same reasons, it has much faster times than letterpress
- it does not have a minimum edition , any quantity can be print without affecting the cost of the single copy;
- It allows corrections and changes up to the last minute and the creation of variable data documents to personalize each individual copy;
- With digital it is possible to print in high quality on large format at low cost ;
- Compare to offset printing, digital printing allows you to print on a much higher number of supports and materials , even rigid ones;
- Unlike in the past, digital printing today has a very high quality level , high color control and a resolution equal to that of offset .
Digital and offset printing: what’s the difference?
Digital printing has undergone a great evolution in recent decades and continues to be a rapidly developing sector. The same goes for offset , which continues to be the most popular printing system in the printing industry and which benefits from the innovations brought by digital.
What are the main differences between digital printing and offset printing ?
The offset printing process is indirect, as it requires the use of a matrix on which the image to be print is create. From the matrix, the image is imprint on the sheet of paper through a rubber support. This system has a start-up cost link to the preparation of the matrix plate , which then cannot be modify. Offset printing requires a minimum number of copies , precisely because of the cost of making the matrix which makes the cost per copy very high in short runs. Offset remains the most cost-effective choice for large runs .
The digital printing system is of the direct type, the matrix is generate electronically and the ink is imprint directly on the substrate to be print. This eliminates the cost and time of making the matrix, making the digital printing process faster than the offset one. Since the matrix is electronic, digital printing allows changes to the print file up to the last minute before it goes into production. Furthermore, digital does not require a minimum print run, the cost of the first copy is the same as the one hundredth or one thousandth, as there is no cost of making the matrix to break down.
As for the print quality , in the past the offset system guarantee a better yield, while today the two printing systems achieve an equally high quality.
Types of digital printing
Digital printing encompasses many printing technologies . The most popular are inkjet (inkjet) and laser printing, which are use for consumer printers for home use. Other technologies for digital printing are UV printing, latex printing and eco-solvent printing. Let’s see what features each of these technologies have.
The laser printing is the most popular technology, use in the segment of consumer and home printers. Professional laser printers are use to make small format printed matter, such as flyers, brochures, leaflets, business cards, posters or products such as catalogs or calendars. Laser uses toner and achieves high quality levels, ensuring efficient performance and fast turnaround times.
The ink-jet , also for domestic use, guarantees quality in digital printing. It is mainly use for photographs, photo posters and calendars.
The UV printing is a digital technology industrial, base on the use of ultraviolet light. It is ideal for printing on PVC or other rigid material.
The latex printing can be use on substrates of any material, including the canvas and the cloth. It has a very high photographic yield and is suitable for outdoor use. It is ideal for window decals, stickers, forex and other rigid substrates for outdoor display.
The eco-solvent printer is the ecological version of the solvent printing, today almost completely overtaken by latex and UV. It is durable and suitable for printing products for both outdoor and indoor use.
Evolution of digital printing: what is web-to-print and print-on-demand
Among the major innovations brought about by online are web-to-print and print-on demand . Let’s see what it is.
The web-to-print is a system online digital printing that allows you to order services via the web. The web-to-print is use both to print small-format products such as business cards, postcards, flyers, etc and large-format products such as posters, rigid panels, advertising posters, roll ups, etc.
The advantages of web-to-print are in the ordering and delivery methods and in the simplicity and speed of the process. The products can be order online at any day and at any time, without the need to reach a physical store or a printing house, and are deliver by courier directly to your home or company. The customer also has the possibility to consult and manage their orders directly online, consult invoices and check the progress of a shipment.
The advent of digital printing has not only revolutionize the printing industry, but also the publishing industry. The print-on-demand service allows publishing houses to print titles request by customers even in very small runs, avoiding warehouse stocks. With print-on-demand, editorial products are print in real time and can be customized in paper, format and finishes.
Print-on-demand is also use in the self-publishing sector : authors can self-publish their work by printing exactly the copies request by readers, without a large initial investment and without risking the costs of unsold copies.
Why choose Industrad Group for your digital prints
Industrad is an online digital center that offers web-to-print services and products throughout Italy and Europe.
Requesting quotes and ordering high quality, customize digital prints is quick and easy. On the Industrad.it website you can get real-time quotes for your digital prints such as banners , forex , plexiglass , stickers , paper , rigid panels , roll-ups and displays for trade fairs .
The online printing of Industrad is at your service for the realization of products of digital of small format , such as business cards , brochures , leaflets , brochures , stickers and flyers printing.
Industrad it also offers a multi-channel customer service (telephone, chat, email, social network) to follow you step by step, from pre-press consultancy to delivery of the finish product.