Image by ilker
Digital printing has always been the underdog of printing, especially when talking about commercial printing.
It has its advantages such as low set up costs which allow people to print fewer copies at a better price compared to an offset printer, however the advantages pretty much end there.
You need special paper, and the time spent to print each sheet is longer than that of an offset printer.
This is changing however.
At the last Drupa event in Germany, an event thought to be the Olympics of printing, new digital printing technology have been made public.
There were 3 digital processes that shined amongst all the others, one of them created by the same firm that invented the first digital press: Landa Corporation.
The New Digital Technologies
Let’s get into more detail about what these technologies entail.
The first one, called Nanography by the Landa Corporation seems to be one of the most promising. Basically the CMYK ink cartridges release very small particles of ink onto a rolling sheet of paper, which allows you to match the speed of offset printing. Landa discovered some very interesting things when using these nanoparticles:
- They dry a lot faster
- The ink doesn’t get absorbed inside the paper and leaves the coat of ink on top of the paper extremely thin
- There is no need to dry the pages afterwards
- Any type of paper and even plastic can be used
The second type of digital printing technology has been developed by Océ. The technology is based on liquid toner technology that can produce the same standards of offset printing on carton, making this system quite good for package printing.
Like offset printing, it’s sheet-fed, however it can print up to 7 colours while retaining very small set up time.
The third new printing technology is Xeikon’s Trillion Printing technology. To cut a long story short, it utilised a process similar to that used by photocopiers and laser printers, however, similarly to the nanography technology by Landa Corporatin, the toner is applied in very small particles, allowing higher resolution, better quality and lower consumption.
This printing process is still being developed.
So far we have said that offset printing is faster, has better quality and allows high volume of printing. In order to justify the swap to digital, the benefits of the latter have to outweigh these.
The new three systems allow:
- Better respect for the environment
- Faster printing due to the matching of printing speed with offset printers and lower set up costs, and in the case of Nanography, no need for drying
- No more compromise between quality and costs
As these technologies develop further, it isn’t unreasonable to expect that also the desktop printers will eventually follow suit, allowing better printing quality in your office or at home for a fraction of the cost.
- License: Creative Commons image source
Elise Lévêque is a bubbly French-English translator with a passion for art and photography. Printing is one of her interests since there is no way her pretty pictures should be spoiled by shabby prints. Here she writes for Cartridge Shop.