The term digital printing broadly refers to the printing of a digital image onto different kinds of media such as paper. The source of the image used is more often derived from a device such as a desktop computer. Digital printing presses are machines or devices that imprint a digital image onto a surface. The presses usually apply pressure onto an inked surface and the image is then transferred onto a medium such as cloth or paper. Digital printing has now become the standard form of printing across the world. It is fast, cost effective, works on a variety of surfaces and produces clear images.
Differences in Technology
One of the main differences between traditional printing methods and digital printing is that printing surfaces are never replaced repeatedly. In analog printing systems, the surfaces are repeatedly replaced, resulting in a much slower process. Digital printing is, therefore, a quicker process in comparison.
This helps reduce the time in producing prints. The most commonly used printing methods are inkjet and laser printing. Laser printers print digital images on a surface with the ink sticking on the surface without penetrating. Digital printing presses come with an inbuilt multi-color registration system. This system and the printing surfaces are some of the biggest advantages that digital printers have over analog presses.
Digital Laser Printing
In this method, digital images are imprinted onto light sensitive, true, photographic paper using a laser beam. The images are then processed into prints using fixers and developers found in modern presses.
The resulting prints are genuine photographs with very crisp images with continuous tone. Archived images always have quality as high as the printed ones. Even when large images are needed, the quality does not change as no lens is used.
This results in very accurate, clear and crisp images as compared to other forms of printing.
Digital Inkjet Printing
This form of print uses computer images that are then transferred without distortions to an inkjet printer. The technology used here was developed by Kodak and other firms. Modern printing presses using this technology, use solvent-based and pigment-based fade resistant inks.
They also use archival substrates which are particularly designed for fine-art printing. One advantage of digital inkjet printing is that it allows for the printing of all types of digital art. These can be printed separately for larger art pieces or single finished artworks.
Benefits of Digital Printing Technology
Digital technology offers a high quality level of digital printing with unique capabilities. This is why it is now an important tool for different applications. The benefits include:
- Offers low cost of printing: When it comes to short-run printing, the costs are drastically reduced. It is the most cost effective process of printing copies up to several thousand runs. The start-up costs are also relatively low compared to those of traditional printing presses.
- It is effective in personalizing prints: When personalized prints are required, then digital printing presses can be relied upon. They enable easy inclusion of variable data such as those used in personalized cards. Many modern marketers have taken note of this and are now able to effectively reach out to potential clients through personalized products.
- The process is faster: Since there is no need to set up the press and no pre-press work is necessary, work is done much faster, thereby helping to save valuable time. Faster processes also help bring down the cost of production which is an important factor to consider.
- Digital printing is effective when using a standard substrate such as printing papers. When size, weights and other factors are constant, then this process becomes very effective.
Major applications include print on demand, advertising, production of direct mail documents, variable data printing, printing of photos and desktop publishing.
Companies that benefit from them
There are several companies that directly benefit from use of modern digital presses. These include document printing companies, marketing and advertising firms, architectural firms, photography industry, fine arts companies and those engaging in desktop publishing Digital printing finds application in many different fields.
It has changed the way printing is conducted in the modern world, helping to cut costs, improve prints and with a faster output. We are in the technological era and it keeps improving in almost all fields. Printing technology is also on course and we are yet to see even better quality outputs!