Printing can be described as the reproduction of physical images on various substrates. With litho printing or offset printing the actual image (your art work) is transferred directly to solid metal plates and from the plates onto paper. Then the paper is stamped with the design creating a raised impression, which is why the term ‘hardcopies’. The image thus produced is then printed on various products including photographic paper, canvas, and even photographic cloth. This image or design is then stretched over various other products, such as plastic, paper, fabric, cardboard and even fibreboard before being bound together with paper clips or foam sheets.
Screen printing on the other hand, operates by spraying pigment into an open tray filled with ink. When this ink dries, the colour of the print is apparent on the surface of the tray. The screen printing process also involves applying heat to the print area so that the pigment ink is dried quickly. The final stage in screen printing involves adding the colour to the substrate material with a machine gun.
In this article we’ll examine the differences between digital printing and offset printing. Although most printing machines have the ability to perform both techniques, it’s now widely accepted that digital printing is the more cost-effective method of producing large volumes of printed items. The first difference between the two methods is found in the equipment that is required. Digital printers tend to operate using desktop computers to the offset printers used in commercial printing shops require industrial or heavy duty industrial equipment. As well as being different in terms of how they operate, both types of printers are capable of printing with dye sublimation, monochrome, or color printers.
A wooden block printing press is a fairly recent innovation, originally invented in Great Britain. The woodblock printing press has the advantage of not requiring messy and potentially hazardous applications. Instead, the press operator simply transfers printed wooden blocks from a computer monitor, printer, or other photo-editing application onto physical media such as woodblock printing papers. After the transfer is complete, the block is removed and the wood is reused. This can be a highly efficient and economical way of printing with wooden blocks.
Movable type or flexographic printing uses a printing press as well as computer applications to produce photographic images. The flexographic process includes the application of a coating to paper followed by the pressing of a rotary or fixed roller which stamps the ink on the surface of the paper. The stamping process also allows for the addition of text or designs.
The printing press and digital printing process can also be combined. Many traditional printing presses are actually adapted to digital presses. This has the advantage of allowing the production of a greater volume of printed materials and the incorporation of more complex and precise printing techniques. Combining a printing press and computer together results in the production of a higher quality image than either can produce alone. Many large commercial presses are now incorporating integrated units that incorporate both printing and copier head systems for producing a large number of identical documents. This technique allows for the production of high quality printed papers that are highly cost-effective.
The development of new printing technologies and the adoption of new technology have resulted in many new techniques that have been used in printing processes. These new techniques include flexography, digital printing, and digital imaging. Flexography refers to the use of a printing press to apply a printing ink that is pressed into a substrate. Digital printing utilizes computer-controlled machinery to digitally print images.
One such technique known as additive manufacturing is a fabrication process whereby various parts are made from the same material with the aid of different sized shells. For example, when a metal part is printed it is formed out of the metallic powder that is fed into the mixing chamber. Only a small amount of powder is required to create each piece. After the powder has dried up, the metal pieces can be separated and joined together. additive manufacturing printers are used in the additive production process to build parts or products from metal templates.