We’ve come a long way since the first printing press in 1440 and even further since the days of relying on a quill and a piece of paper. The demands of printing have only grown over the years, meaning the technologies have had to shift and evolve. From pharmaceutical printing to item production, all manner of industries relies on printing technology.

Essentially, printing is a process of reproducing images and text, which is usually achieved via ink on paper. As a result, the various different printing technologies are essential to meeting the demands of each industry. From this, multiple printing technologies have been developed, each of which is equipped with unique properties. These properties are developed to fit in with the needs of specific fields and industries.

With so many options now on the printing market, it can be extremely difficult to decide which printer would be best suited to your needs. In order to understand which printing technology is the best, you must first understand the most commonly used types, as detailed below.

Intaglio Printing

Intaglio PrintingFirst up is intaglio printing, which is sometimes called Gravure printing. This involves a copper layer, as well as a plated printing cylinder for an image identification layer. For the printing to take place, images or text are engraved under the cylinder’s surface, while the parts that don’t require printing sit on the surface of the cylinder. As a result, most intaglio printing is predominantly web printing.

The most popular application of intaglio printing is the printing of composite coating, plastic packaging, and more. Some of the biggest advantages include its ability to restore high-quality images, its fast print speed of 200m/min, its even spread of ink and covering of deep surfaces, and its optimized precision.

Flexographic Printing

Flexographic printing, which is sometimes shortened to Flexo printing alternatively named flexography, is another printing technology. This method prints images directly via embossed prints. The beauty of this technology is that it raises the printed elements (graphics, text, etc.) over the non-printed parts via its horizontal printing plate. During this process, the anilox is positioned in the opposite direction from the images on the printing mold. During this time, the medium is covered in Flexo ink.

Some applications of Flexo printing include printing on decals, stickers, cartons, and more. It also has many advantages, such as a simple printing procedure, fast-printing and fast-drying ink, the ability to print in bulk, and the ability to print on various materials and surfaces.

Digital Printing

Digital printing is thought to sit among the most advanced 2D printing methods, as computer digital technology is incorporated into the printing process. During the process of digital printing, computers evaluate the design file image and merge it with ink. Following this, the printer’s nozzle sprays ink onto the surface that’s in need of printing. Digital printing is an umbrella term that encompasses various printing technologies, including heat transfer printing, laser printing, UV printing, and more.

Digital Printing

Common applications for digital printing include posters, billboards, office publications, envelopes, name cards, photos, and more. Meanwhile, advantages include sharp printed images for large- and small-sized images alike, simple color correction and test printing via the computer, the ability to print on almost any material, and a simple operation that allows for a quick printing time.

Offset Printing

Offset PrintingLast but not least is offset printing, which is the most popular printing process, wherein the printed part is visible on the plate. The process refers to the ink being moved from a plate to a rubber roller and other surfaces, resulting in a high-quality image.

Some applications include the high-volume printing of paper bags, paper boxes, magazines, stationery, brochures, and more. Moreover, advantages include a quick implementation process, the ability to bulk-print products, the ability to print on many surfaces, cost-effectiveness, flexibility, and the high-quality.

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