Digital printing – we have all heard the term but how many people can actually define what it is? If you said that it is the process of using a computer to generate a document out of a desk printer, you would be correct in a sense, as that is exactly a form of digital printing. All the elements are present:
- The source is provided in the form of a computer file.
- The computer provides the processing to convert the source into an output.
- The printer equipment processes the output on a format, paper.
- And the paper document that spews out is the end product of the digital process as the file image is replicated on the page
However, it is important to remember that volume printing is not just limited to a simple computer. It can include other technical production output via screen and offset printing as well. That said, the professional digital printing process works very similar to a home computer.
The professional digital printer works with a final file that is ready to go into production. There is a lot behind this, which includes confirmation that the source file is set as desired, it has been finished with a desktop publishing expert if needed, and the file is saved in a format that is compatible with the computer and equipment, instead of being encrypted or in an uninterpretable form. As the file is brought up and made ready, the professional then executes the print command on the production computer and the system goes to work processing the file and sending the instructions to the industrial printer equipment.
Depending on what is instructed, the machinery can produce an output that is either one-sided or both sides, color or black & white, and oriented in a specific manner with desired binding or stapling. The computerized instruction can also direct the output at a specific destination, such as a remote factory where the mass production and large printer equipment are located. This is much easier today with the Internet and broadband data transfer. It is also one of the reasons why desktop publishing and self-printing of books and other products has exploded.
Finally, once data transfer is complete, and the professional equipment continues their output until the job is finished. The equipment then sends a message back to the computer and the professional that the job is completed and ready to be picked up.
How the Output is Printed
The two major types of digital printing remain inkjet image detailing and laser. In its simplest form, inkjet printing sprays ink droplets at high speed in a controlled fashion, replicating the exact image that was sent to the printer. This can produce color prints very quickly, but the detail side of things gets sacrificed due to the microscopic bleeding of liquid within paper fibers on output. Even the best inkjet printers do not compare with the level of detail possible through laser prints, but inkjet makes up for this disadvantage with lower costs and greater bulk output.
Laser printing involves an actual laser system that applies the image onto a paper form and the toner is then electromagnetically applied and sealed to that form. The detail that is produced can be tremendously accurate and higher in quality than what one gets with inkjet printing. However, where laser printers start to stumble is in the high blending of colors for a detailed display of the color spectrum. While laser print methods works extremely well for black and white production, it does not do as well with full color, especially when applied to the 256-color ranges that are often used in photography, imaging, and advertising documents.
Why Digital Printing is Used
The fact is, digital print-making is far more useful and nimbler for smaller jobs, the kind of work that is typically produced for small groups and where jobs need to be produced quick, accurately, and custom-prepared. This is 95 percent of the print work used in the business world, believe it or not. The advantages of digital printing include extensive customization that is not possible with industrial print methods, flexible printing capability with remote work locations, and cost-effective options when dealing with small volume packages.
On the equipment side, most high-volume digital print production shops are going to be using a unit known as a digital print press. The large size of this machinery is essentially a combination of a computer and fast-processing, high-volume copier machine. These printers can put out thousands of documents a minute, consistent with exactly how the digital file rendered an image, and they are able to do so either in color or black and white. Most large corporations have a digital press in their duplication department, and many desktop publishing services have a handful to deliver volume orders for digital print-making to clients in a timely fashion.
Calling in the Professional Help
Custom Printing Inc has been in the business of document production since 1975. As an experienced printer for now more than 45 years, the Custom Printing Inc team can tackle any document job with high quality, fast turnaround, and scalable procedures. Because we have remained in the business throughout the computer revolution, our team is able to take advantage of an extensive amount of know-how to marry the best printing techniques with the output desired by each client.