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A Complete Guide to Offset Printing

What is offset printing?

In our current article series, we will be discussing various types of printing procedures including screen, offset and digital printing etc. We will explain every bit of the printing process in detail. Today, we will be studying the foundations of offset printing. Another name of offset printing is offset lithography. Offset printing is the main method for printing longer runs of posters, books, direct-mail pieces, magazines, manuals, letterhead, brochures, paper-based labels and packaging, and much more.

Offset printing involves the fixed costs of setting up each job. Each copy’s price in a 10,000-copy job is lower than the value of each piece in a 250-copy job. The big order offers you affordable rates as compared to small orders. That’s why offset printing technology is highly recommended for custom product boxes.

How It Works

How Offset Printing Works

Let’s discuss the working procedure of Offset lithography. It involves several steps. Kindly have a look at them below:

  • Etched Metal Plates
  • Water
  • Impression Cylinders
  • Water Repellent Inks (oil-based)
  • Blanket Cylinders

The etched metal plates are created with the purpose that these oily inks stick to the parts of the plates containing the text and images. A thin film of water is placed on the blank areas of the metal plate that strict the oil-based inks. Firstly, the ink which is present on metal plates is shifted to a rubber-wrapped blanket cylinder. The ink will reach towards the paper once we roll the inked blanked cylinder above the paper.

The impression cylinder is useful for applying pressure to the paper, so the ink sticks to the paper surface smoothly and quickly. It is also beneficial for moving the sheets through the presses. The separate plates and blanket rollers are required for each color of ink that we will use in our offset printing procedure. There are several plates, inks, and presses used for diverse substrate requirements and run lengths.

Let us consider an example. Some presses companies may be printing millions of pieces of a magazine, and other companies may be printing 300 large sheets that can be folded for making multi-page brochures or designs. There are many types of Offset printing. We will go in detail below.

Web Press

Web press printers are useful and a time saver. As it automatically feeds a bulk amount of papers starting with one ink station then onto the next until the reasonable amount of ink is applied to each page. Web press is ideal for printing 10K or more copies of multi-paper documents like catalogs, books, and magazines.

Coldset and Heatset Web Press

Coldset Web Offset

The ink is applied and fixed into the paper with the absorption process’s help.

Heatset Web Offset

The heat-set web offset involves two steps. One is fixing ink into the paper by the absorption process and then evaporation at high temperatures. It is a more robust and quicker method. It is four to five times faster as compared to sheetfed presses. Heatset Web Offset also includes the inline folding equipment.

Sheetfed Press

The sheetfed press uses the flat pre-cut sheets for printing through the press. In this type of offset printing equipment, the printing speed has a range of 5K to 20k copies per hour. The benefit of the sheetfed press is that it can accommodate various thicknesses and substrate types compared to web presses. Sheetfed presses are both large and small. The small sheetfed presses can hold papers of 4 x 6 inches, but larger presses can handle sheets as large as 40 x 26 inches.

Sheetfed Press Process

We call sheets with larger sizes as parents. It is due to the fact that one sheet can hold multiple pages of a manual or book. The page formats on each parent sheet (“marks”) may have 4, 8, or 12 book pages on each side. The pages must be spread out in a legitimate pattern so the pages will show up in the best possible succession when the pages are tended to, collapsed, and bound.

Perfecting Press

In this type of printing process, print is automatically printed on both sides of the paper. All web presses are built on perfecting press phenomenon, but sheetfed presses cannot automatically print both sides of the page.

Prepress

Before print employment can go to an offset press, the page plans made on a PC must be isolated by the sorts of inks that will be utilized to make up each page. For quite a long time, a photograph etching measure uncovered shading isolated movies onto photosensitive plates. Today, PC to-plate frameworks utilize carefully controlled laser etching frameworks to carve the imaging information from advanced documents onto aluminum plates. 

CTP frameworks have diminished the time and cost engaged with setting up offset printing occupations and making minutes ago updates to the plates. The prepress cycle for offset printing frequently incorporates more detailed sealing techniques, such as burden confirmations that empower purchasers to watch that the entirety of the pages of a distributed magazine will show up in the ideal grouping. 

Offset Inks 

An enormous assortment of inks is accessible only for use with various sorts of offset presses.

What is Offset Printing - Offset Inks

Colors: The press operators primarily use four process colors: cyan, yellow, black, and magenta. But they can also use inks according to the requirements of the client. It increases the demand for printing as well.

Formulations: The offset inks use various oils derived from plants to transfer the pigment. The most commonly used plant-derived oils include linseed oil and soya oil. Other inks also use water-repellant fluids that are prepared from synthetic chemical mixtures.

Special Properties

The offset inks are composed to alter the production of the ink on the sheets. Consider an example, and prints can be prepared with the help of metallic inks, UV-curing inks, thermochromic (color-changing) inks, and magnetic inks. The polymer-based inks are very popular among the sheetfed presses owners because it quickly dries the prints when exposed to UV-LED. It saves their time and cost of using heat or spray-on powders for accelerating the drying process during the press procedure. The sheetfed offset presses can print on non-porous synthetic sheets, plastic sheets, paperboards for packaging, foil-laminated sheets, and a more comprehensive range of label stocks and cards. It can only be done efficiently if the UV-LED inks and curing units are correctly formulated.

Substrates

We are thankful for the advancements in substrates and offset inks. Due to these innovations, offset printing can print on a more excellent range of textured and smooth paper, tear-resistant synthetic papers, paperboards, and several plastics utilized in bags, envelopes, gift cards, and packaging. Some unique materials present for offset printing, including carbonless papers for business forms, metal-laminated papers with silver and gold foils, and security papers.

While printing, the cost is always kept in consideration. The web offset presses use the economic coated and uncoated papers for printing the high volumes of manuals, catalogs, books, and magazines. It is also done to reduce printing costs. These inexpensive papers should be solid enough to cater to the roll-to-roll fast speed printing. This specialized material is primarily prepared for use on sheetfed presses.

Finishing Processes

What is Offset Printing Finishing Processes

The kind of finishing equipment you want to use will depend on the volumes and types of publications, packaging, manuals, direct mail pieces, or stationery being created. Various finishing equipment includes tools for cutting or trimming the paper, varnishing, binding, laminating, folding, or die-cutting printed sheets. Some of the printed sheets are perforated, glued, foil stamped, or pushed into mailing envelopes. Few finishing types of equipment allow us to utilize transparent UV-curable inks for decorative effects or added stability.

Trends

With the advancement in digital printing technologies, the efficiency of offset printing has also increased above expectations. The offset printing equipment manufacturers have produced software, prepress processes, and consumables that let offset press companies create shorter-run and fast-turnaround print jobs.

The press manufacturers like Heidelberg have set a goal of developing systems that permit more steps in the finishing process and offset printing. It will help to handle the process automatically without the interference of a human press operator. We are expecting to see a lot of innovations for offset printing in the upcoming drupe global print show, which is scheduled in Dusseldorf, Germany.

Final Words

In our post, we tried our best to thoroughly and clearly explain to you the offset printing. We hope that you have learned every bit of information by reading our article. If you have any queries about offset print, you may ask in the comment section. We will happily reply to you with the required information.Also, don’t miss a great comparison between digital vs offset printing.

All About Digital Printing

Digital Printing: How it Works and What the Benefits are!

Digital printing is a modern way of printing electronic files on your desired thing. Digital printing can be done on t-shirts and other clothes as well. In this type of printing, the graphic is designed on computer software like Adobe Illustrator and then directly printed onto the material of your wish.

Digital printing is a fast and great way of printing designs compared to traditional methods like flexography, letterpress, lithography, gravure, and others. It removes manual work, and most of the work is done through machines automatically. We don’t need to worry much while printing like we use to fear conventional printing, such as manually stripping the pieces together, making films, making plates, and making films.

You might find a comparison between digital vs offset printing very interesting.

How it Works

Digital printing is a very convenient method of printing. Once you have designed your graphic in the related software, save it. You can directly print these files with a printer’s help and use the command ctrl+p (for windows). Digital files have various formats like PSD, PDF, TIFF, etc. It is beneficial for the orders that need more details in their banner.

How Digital Printing Works

Digital printing doesn’t require any type of pre-press stages between the final product and the digital document files. Also, it does not need any formatting equipment such as photo chemicals or film plates.

You will get perfect digital prints if you follow all the steps of production accurately.

Let’s look at the production stages, so you don’t miss out on any step while doing the printing.

  1. The digital file is designed with a sharp and clean image in suitably high resolution to meet the print’s size requirements.
  2. Crop marks and bleed are included varying. Crop marks are like the lines on the edge of the print work. Subsequent to tending to the bleed, crop marks guarantee that no unprinted edges in the last grew to file. 
  3. The following stage is an inconvenience – guaranteeing that however much of the paper’s region as could reasonably be expected is utilized for the print to make the activity proficient and cut down on paper squander. 
  4. Before being sent to the printer, your electronic archive document (the picture or text that you are printing) should be changed over to a BMP, GIF, JPEG, or TIFF file design. These are considered bitmaps or raster picture documents. Contingent upon the product utilized, PDF documents can likewise be used to print from.

Why Digital Printing?

Why Digital Printing

Digital printing is another worldview for the business. It gives more decisions, highlights, and adaptability than more established techniques, such as flexographic printing or offset. Today, we wish that our printed materials to be perfect and modern – customers need printers to have the option to deliver practical, significant, short-run shading imprinting in the quickest reasonable period. 

Nonetheless, it isn’t in every case simple to choose which method will be most suitable for your task, so before you decide how to print your graphic, there are a couple of things you ought to consider. The following is a manual to assist you with understanding the upsides of Digital printing.

Benefits of Digital Printing

Digital printing offers various benefits ranging from high quality, timeliness, cost-effectiveness, short runs, and customization.

Benefits of Digital Printing

Let’s discuss each of the benefits in detail.

High Quality

Digital printing offers remarkable quality and consistency over many printing choices. There is a perfect mix of colors on the prints, and it looks great. Digital printing provides the best quality brochures cards, flyers, and much more. If you have a craze of high-quality prints, go for digital printing.

Timeliness

Digital printing involves fewer stages to get the final product. And we can proudly say that we can deliver the final printed design within an hour of the order being placed.

Cost-Effective

It doesn’t require printing plates, so the cost becomes significantly less. If you want to start your digital printing business, then you can do it with little investment.

Short Runs

If you are looking for short or medium print runs, then digital printing is the ideal approach for you.

Customization

Using the Digital printing method, you can achieve customized marketing materials, business cards, direct mail pieces, letters, and much more.

Final Words About Digital Printing

Digital printing is used worldwide and is famous for printing high quality, low quality, and economical print marketing. We are working in the digital printing industry for years, and we proudly say that we have many happy customers. Why don’t you want to be the one? Contact us today to get satisfied. If you are in the field of printing technology then you should also know about the offset printing as well.

What is screen printing?

What is screen printing?

We have already discussed about some printing techniques that includes offset and digital printing. Now, we are going to have some discussion about screen printing. A versatile process that is used to ornament small and moderate packaging, labels, graphics, garments, and other products is known as Screen printing or Serigraphy. Serigraphy is supposed to use a range of ink types in order to print on a paper, rigid and flexible sign materials, fabrics, garments, metals, plastics, films, glass, ceramics, and 3d objects.

In order to print original art, reproductions, posters, decals, indoor and outdoor fabrics, wallcoverings, electronic circuits, bottles, tubes, labels, glassware, dishes, and many 3d items, this process of Serigraphy is being widely used. Furthermore, it is also used to print the membrane switch control panels employed frequently in industrial, electronic, and consumer devices.

What is screen printing

How does it function?

At the point when a squeegee pushes a glue-like ink through the openings in a working screen on the head of a print substrate, the ink is just kept in regions in which the work openings are not obstructed by solidified emulsion. Each ink shading in a structure requires its own screen. Factors that influence the cycle to incorporate the sort and consistency of the ink, the kind of emulsion used to conceal the screen, the piece of the screen work, the edge and hardness of the squeegee cutting edge, and the weight and speed of each stroke of squeegee over the work.

Types of presses

Manual press

The steps that include in the process of the press operator are, loading each screen and physically pulling the squeegee across the screen. In manual press, the press operator is supposed to conduct all these steps.

Automatic or semi-automatic presses

This type of presses fuses various degrees of computerization for higher-speed printing. For instance, the squeegee might be precisely controlled at explicit speeds and weights. Or on the other hand, the items being adorned are naturally moved to start with one ink station then onto the next.

Carousel press

On a carousel press, the printing beds pivot around a focal center point. Distinctive ink shading is applied at each step in the revolution.

In-line press

In an in-line press, the items which are supposed to print, move from one print station to the next in a straight line. Such types of presses are used for large-format graphics.

Rotary press

A rotary press constitutes a screen that is wrapped around a cylinder. This cylinder covers the ink feed system and the squeegee blade. The ink is supposed to be applied as the fabric or wallcovering material and is transported beneath each cylinder.

Types of Screen Printing Presses

Prepress

Screen printing jobs require a large amount of labor, specifically for multi-color jobs. There are some steps involved in creating each screen as follows:

  • Film positive
  • Emulsion
  • Degrease
  • Pre-registered
  • Exposed

Film positive

It is a solid black ink on a clean, semi-rigid clear film. In order to use wide-format inkjet printers for this process, specialized software and inkjet-printable films are to be used.

All the areas of design that will be printed in a particular shade of ink are supposed to be covered by the black ink. When an emulsion-coated screen is exposed to UV light, the opacity of the inks on the film keeps the desired areas of the screen open. Enlistment marks are inkjet imprinted on the film outside the edges of the design to guarantee the structure will be appropriately adjusted on the screen for precise printing.

Emulsion

A photosensitive chemical that hardens when exposed to UV light is called an emulsion. At the point when UV light goes through the clear areas of the film positive, emulsion ties to the work and blocks of cement. The solidified emulsion keeps ink from moving through the screen during printing.

Degrease

The screen must be degreased prior to applying the emulsion with cleaning agents to eradicate oils, dust, and dirt that might keep the emulsion from fully attached to the screen. The screens are dried in a dark room after a thin layer of emulsion is applied to the screen where the emulsion won’t be affected by UV light.

Pre-registered

In this step, the film positive is taped to the screen and pre-registered. In this way, the registration marks on the film align with registration marks on a template for the item to be adorned.

Exposed

The emulsion-coated screens are exposed to controlled amounts of light in a dark room. The time of exposure depends on the types of inks and exposing systems being used. In a washout booth, the film positives are untapped from the screens and the uncured emulsion is washed away with water. At this stage, the main openings that ought to be obvious on the screen are the regions through which the squeegee will apply the ink.

Once in awhile, pinholes on the screen must be fixed. Or on the other hand, a hardener can be included to keep the emulsion on the screen from separating during longer print runs.

Screen printing inks

There is a wide variety of water-based, solvent, UV curable inks that can be used in screen printing. To print electronics, conductive inks are to be used. The sort of ink chosen depends on the performance requirements of the ornamented items. For instance, screen-printed crystal and dishes must have the option to withstand commercial dishwashers. Perpetual decals on truck armadas or modern gear may need to last at the least 10 years. Fine content imprinted on plastic cylinders for shampoos and creams should not rub off when the cylinder is filled, dispatched, shelved, and bought.

Article of clothing decorators uses plastisol, water-based, or release inks relying upon how they need the article of clothing to look and feel.

Following are some types of screen printing inks:

Plastisol inks

Plastisol inks are well-known for they are thick, long-lasting, and easy to mix. This ink stays on the screen without drying out because it needs heat to dry.

Water-based inks
Water-based ink absorbs into the clothes or garments being adorned, so the garment does not get hard or stiff from the areas where the ink has been applied.

Discharge inks
Last but not the least, it removes the color of the fabric where it is applied and replaces it with pigment in the ink.

There are some special-effect inks that are capable of adding dimensional textures, metallic effects, neon colors, or glitter to the garment or piece of cloth.

Types of Screen Printing

Substrates

Screen-printing inks are formulated to stick to many substrates without the use of pretreatments. Substrates that can be screen-printed are as follows:

  • Acrylic
  • Anodized aluminum
  • Cardboard
  • Coated and uncoated cardstock
  • Coated metal
  • Coated and uncoated paper
  • Fiber drums
  • Fiberboard
  • Glass
  • Polycarbonate
  • Pressure-sensitive vinyl
  • Stainless steel
  • Static-cling films
  • Styrene
  • Top-coated polyester
  • Treated polyethylene banner materials
  • Tyvek
  • Uncoated cardstock
  • Rigid vinyl
  • Vinyl decals
  • wood

Textile screen-printing inks can decorate cotton, cotton/poly blends, acetates, linen, polyester, and lycra blends, and more.

Post-print process

Screen-printing inks must be completely relieved otherwise they won’t adhere appropriately when the printed article is exposed to scraped spots, water, or synthetic compounds. Many screen-printing shops use frameworks in which printed things are shipped on a transport line through a drying chamber. Flash-curing units can be utilized to partially dry one shade of ink before the following shade is applied.

On the off chance that a screen for a particular activity won’t be expected to future reprints, the screen can be recovered or reclaimed by removing the inks and emulsions.

Trends in technology

To lessen expenses and lift efficiency, gadgets have been developed to robotize labor-intensive processes, for instance, screen covering, enlistment, exposure, flushing, and recovering.

Computer-to-screen (CTS) system

Takes out the need to make film positives. CTS gadgets print light-blocking, water-based dark inkjet inks legitimately from a PC record onto a dried emulsion-covered screen. CTS frameworks have gotten more solid, more affordable, and quicker and empower screen-printing shops to decrease work costs while improving print quality and proficiency.

Hybrid screen-printing system

Hybrid screen-printing frameworks consolidate the flexibility of screen printing with the full-shading capacities of inkjet printing. Articles of clothing decorators can apply a white under base layer of screen printing inks to a wide scope of materials, at that point carefully print four-shading pictures on the head of the under the base. The last layer of screen-printing inks can add surfaces or sparkle to make one of a kind structures that immediate to-piece of clothing inkjet printing frameworks can’t yet coordinate.

Utilizing LED lighting frameworks to dry inks, uncover screens, and fix emulsions lessen vitality utilization and the measure of warmth that is produced. UV-LED screen printing inks are mainstream for enlivening warmth touchy movies and plastics utilized in bundling just as containers and barrel-shaped items.

What are Custom Laminations?

Some Details About Custom Laminations | Lamination Option for Custom Boxes

Lamination

Laminations are effectively defined as the sealed layers of plastic film, or an aqueous coating, that is used to be applied to custom boxes. Here are some pros of an extra layer:

  1. Guarantees the protection of your presentation packages
  2. Resistant to the wear of everyday use
  3. Adds a polished, professional look to your custom box.

There are some types of laminations and each type comes with its distinctive feature and look.

Matte lamination

As the name shows, Matte lamination offers a classic texture without typical glare. It comes with the protection of a plastic layer but lacks the telltale sheen.  The benefits of using matte lamination are as follows:

  • Best choice for reducing glare without reducing quality
  • For graphics and logos that absolutely must be seen in their entirety from every angle, yet need the smudge-free protection of a custom lamination.
  • Last but definitely not least, it is great for photographing or displaying in the bright lights of department stores.

Glose and Matt Lamination Option for Custom Boxes

Gloss lamination

Gloss lamination works best for giving your package a lustrous, shiny, and glossy-polish look. Gloss lamination offers the following benefits:

  • Recognized as the standard lamination for most turned-edge packaging, and hardcover books and binders
  • It gives your product a glare from most angles
  • It also offers the visuals that some users call “wet look” in this way it really makes colors pop.
  • It adds high value to the package by providing a brand new look.

Soft-touch (Velvet) lamination

Soft-touch lamination is undoubtedly the ultimate superlative choice for the high-end presentation packaging. With a gleaming texture that emits value with every unboxing, this finish offers the protection of all custom laminations. It is as soft as velvet and offers all the best traits of matte and glossy finish without glare. Soft-touch never disappoints when it comes to furnishing the tactile incentive. It is also known as the velvet lamination because of its texture.

Velvet and Aqueous lamination Types for Custom Boxes

Aqueous coating

It is an eco-friendly coating that offers much of the same benefits of gloss lamination. The difference resides in the fact that instead of a plastic film, a water-based coating is supposed to be applied onto the packaging once the print has dried. It gives a similar luster and feels to gloss, but while working with soy-based inks and rigid chipboard, creates a 100% hassle-free and recyclable box.

Digital VS Offset Printing

Digital Printing vs. Offset Printing Properly Elucidated

What is the veritable and de facto difference; should we really count it?

Let’s get the ball rolling and talk about the real difference between digital and offset printing. For a layman, printing is simply just printing but there is more to this thing. Let’s go down to the lane of two printing methods, their glaring differences, and what is the point where we can easily make a decision of choosing between these two.

Digital Printing: An overview

An Overview About Digital Printing

First things first, digital printing does not use plates as there are plates in offset printing but it uses a range of other options like a toner (like in laser printers) or some bigger printers that use liquid ink. Digital printing makes a splendid pitch and shines when lower quantities are needed. For instance, think of just 20 greetings cards or 100 flyers where you don’t have a bulk or colossal order. These are the situations where digital printing saves the day for you. We have a plethora of other benefits as well like its variable data capability. When each piece needs a unique code, address, name, or other relevant information, digital printing is plausible or maybe the best solution. On the contrary, offset printing cannot fulfill this need.

In point of fact, offset printing is a spectacular way to produce top-notch print projects but many businesses or individuals do not need large runs of 500 or more. In that case, the best option to go with is digital printing.

Offset Printing: An overview

an overview about offset printing

Offset printing technology uses plates that are made from aluminum. Isn’t it exciting? That is used to transfer an image onto a rubber blanket, and then rolling the image onto a sheet of paper. Why do we call it to offset? Ever wondered about it? It’s called offset because the ink we use is not transferred directly onto the paper. These offset presses run so smoothly and efficiently once they are set up. Moreover, offset printing is the best and optimum choice when we need larger quantities. It makes the mark as it provides accurate color reproduction, a fine crisp, and clean professional printing.

What are the advantages of Digital Printing?

There are multiple benefits of digital printing which should be outlined.

  • It prints only the amount you need and whenever you need it
  • It facilitates with lower minimum quantities like 25, 50, 70
  • Black and white digital printing is inexpensive
  • Updated and Improved quality has polished the standards of digital printing
  • Facilitates with variable data capability like addresses, names, codes, numbering, etc

Advantages of Offset and Digital Printing

What are the advantages of Offset Printing?

  • The more you get to print, the cheaper the price per piece gets. Works best when you want to print some items like custom boxes in bulk quantity.
  • Cost-effective and smooth it comes to larger quantities
  • Considering the color fidelity and splendid details, printing quality is magnificent
  • Provides an opportunity to use a range of paper types with custom finishes
  • Versatile and customer inks such as metallic and Pantone colors are also available

Is Digital Printing is a plausible choice for my next print project?

When we look at both sides, offset and digital are useful printing methods but in their respective fields. Both of these come with a plethora of benefits but it all depends on your project’s requirements. For instance, when you are in dire need of larger runs of a project, into the hundreds or thousands; when you’re using a peculiar Pantone color, offset printing comes and saves the equation for you. Over and above that, you can also use a wide range of custom papers, special inks such as metallic or fluorescent in the offset process.

On the other hand, if you need a small run of 100 or its an individual’s requirement, or just some information then digital printing is the best solution to go with. If you are running a business, your needs will be addressed properly, your choices will be adequately compensated, and you will get high-quality printed products.