Printed materials have been used very effectively in many ways and in many languages – the repository of knowledge keeps growing every day. Thanks to computers and other printing equipment, printing materials and the time required to do so have become very short – printing on any surface has become much easier and estimating time required is easy too.
Let’s take a look at the technologies and methods available to print – messages, pictures or even large volumes of text. The main processes are:
- Offset printing presses or lithography
- Digital printing – laser, inkjet and xerography with a hp fuser
- Gravure printing
- Flexography and
- Screen Printing
Printing processes and technologies evolved to accommodate very specific needs like letterpress, intaglio, flock printing, thermography and pad printing. Why each method was developed and the process used can be better understood by a brief description of each.
Understanding the different processes
Offset Printing: Also called offset lithography, printing plates made of aluminum have the content or images engraved on one side. This plate can be used multiple times to print the same page/message. The plate is inked and the image holds the ink. This is then transferred to a rubber sheet and then to a specific surface, whether it is paper, plastic, cardboard or any other material. The surfaces have to necessarily be flat. If multiple colors are required for the image, then a printer with 4 towers are used. The color that gets printed first is black, then cyan, then magenta and finally yellow. The materials are stacked at the front of the machine and under the press console. The console is also the monitor and this is used by the operator to monitor the printing process and ensure that the job goes off smoothly. If the print job is a big one, the offset machine uses rolls of paper. Some of these machines are equipped with ovens at the end as the ink has to be force dried. This machinery and printing method is mostly used to print items like books, stationery, cardboard, newspapers and even posters. Printing costs are driven down by volume. The latest trend in printing is that all promotional printing is done digitally and some amount of printing for packaging is moving to the flexo method.
Flexography: Here it is the content which has to be printed is done on the relief of a plate, made from rubber. The plate is then inked and the image is transferred to the surface which has to be print. This process is fairly straightforward and printing surfaces and it includes plastics, paper, cellophane, metal and others. Flexography is mostly used for packaging, labeling and to some extent, newspapers as well. Some amount of the packaging printing is also going digital.
You can also give out small printing jobs to varied companies and see which one suits your requirements the best. So, what are you still waiting for? Get the best printer with the fuser to suit all your requirements and get your printing deals sorted.