Not all print methods are the same.
Digital printing refers to methods of printing from a digital-based image directly to a variety of media. It usually refers to professional printing where small-run print jobs from desktop publishing and other digital sources are printed using high-volume laser or inkjet printers and/or large format inkjet printers.
Digital printing has a higher cost per page than more traditional offset printing methods. Called print for pay, the suppliers of these devices earn their money from click charges which cover the service and consumables (toners) necessary to keep it running.
However, this price is normally offset by avoiding the cost of all the technical steps required to make printing plates, as in the traditional offset printing methods. It also allows for on-demand printing, short turnaround time and even a modification of the image (variable data) used for each impression.
The savings in labour and the ever-increasing capability of digital presses means that digital printing is reaching the point where it can match, or supersede, offset printing technology’s ability to produce larger print runs of several thousand sheets at a low price.
So What’s the Difference?
The greatest difference between digital printing and traditional methods such as offset lithography, flexography, gravure or letterpress is that there is no need to replace printing plates in digital printing.
In those traditional methods (analog printing) the plates are repeatedly replaced.
The benefits of digital printing are quicker turnaround times and lower cost on short to medium print runs.
The most popular methods of digital printing include inkjet or laser printers that deposit pigment or toner onto a wide variety of substrates including paper, photo paper, canvas, glass, metal, marble and other substances.
In many of the processes, the ink or toner, does not permeate the substrate, as does conventional ink. Instead it forms a thin layer on the surface that may be additionally adhered to the substrate by using a fuser fluid with heat process (toner), or UV curing process (ink). The various manufacturers of this equipment have developed methods specific to their design.
Digital and Hucul Printing
Hucul Printing utilizes both digital printing and traditional offset methods because both methods still have a place in our industry.
Ultimately, as our customer, you really only need to know that these methods exist and that we, as printing professionals, will recommend and use the method that best suits your specific needs.Photo Credit: digital Printing Press by Coylegenec via Wikipedia Featured image from Creative Pro