Digital Printing vs Offset Printing

Digital Printing vs Offset Printing: How To Choose?

Printing has become an essential part of our lives. Information is constantly being printed, whether in offices or in our homes. Therefore it is important to know the details of printing.  From materials being printed in like magazines and newspapers to isolated print outs, for school or work; printing has evolved to form an almost perennial constant. However, all materials cannot be printed with the same ink or the same device. The methods of printing differ from situation to situation. For example, some information needs to be printed on special pages like glazed or photography paper, while some differ in types of ink that is to be used or simply in the system of printing. This article aims to show a comparison between digital printing and offset printing by listing their advantages and disadvantages.

Digital Printing

In digital printing, large format and high volume laser or inkjet printers are used.  Digital printing is used for small scale printing purposes for example, in home or office, which require fewer amounts of printouts.

Advantages:

  • Digital printing is quick and methodical. There is need to waste time or engage in unnecessary details while digitally printing any information. As you do not need to set up any infrastructure, material gets printed faster, which otherwise would have taken days to produce.
  • Digital printing does not require any photo chemicals or film plates as used it traditional methods of printing. Therefore, digital printing is more of a cleaner and easier process.
  • For printing images, this method is the best. Digital printing produces good quality images with high resolution and these images can be printed on a number of materials and they can be directly applied on glass, wood, Sintra board or PVC.
  • Digital Printing is all about precision and consistency. Whether you require large format printouts or a small volume of printed material, digital printing is a safe option. It starts and completes orders fast and you can easily duplicate if you want and avoid any major errors.
  • Digital printing requires no extra labor, supplies or infrastructure and thus it is extremely cost effective for printing a small amount of material.

Disadvantages:

  • Though the cost is quite low with digital printing, when it comes to large volume of printouts this method tends to get expensive. Getting large volumes printed is a problem because a digital printer runs between 15 to 50 feet per minute.
  • In spite of having a color palette that supports a wide range of colors, digital printers do no support metallic inks.
  • Most inks fade if subjected to direct sunlight. However inks used in digital printing fade much faster. There is an UV inhibition laminator system but the printer surface needs to be constantly updated to prevent the ink from fading.
  • Although there is no set up involved and no labor costs, digital printers need to be updated and have to be checked periodically so that it operates properly. This ends up costing more than the actual printing.

Offset Printing

The technique of offset printing involves the formation of an image or type on a printing plate and this plate in turn prints the image or the type onto the printing material. Offset printing is useful for commercial or business purposes where printouts are required in large amounts like for example, in printing magazines, books, newspapers or booklets and brochures.

Advantages

  • Offset printing is an extremely efficient form of printing and using this technique, the production of printing plates is not only easy but also pretty fast.
  • Images and typed information printed are extremely sharp and clear. The images are of good quality. The reason for such quality print is that offset printers have a rubber blanket feature that conforms easily to the surface of the printing material.
  • For producing good quality prints in bulk, offset printing is a good technique to use as it is fast and cheap.
  • In offset printing there is not direct contact between the print plate and the printing surface and due to this reason, offset printers have longer printing plate life.
  • The amount of ink being used can be controlled in an offset printer by adjusting the ink on the fountain roller with screw keys. The density of color applied can also be altered.

Disadvantages

  • The infrastructure around an offset printer needs to be set up and the constant production of printing plates involves high cost.
  • Offset printers often contain anodized aluminum printing plates that due to chemical oxidation slowly become highly sensitive and tend to print in the non-image areas.

Though print quality is very high, in case of images that are printed, the resolution is not as good as those printed using photogravure or rotogravure printing.

Contented by: Copydepot printing Inc.

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