Digital Printing is a printing method that prints data/images directly from the computer onto a sheet of paper. This method of printing is ideal for printing short runs needed urgently. The traditional offset printing uses printing plates and is costly if you have short run requirements or print on demand needs. The transfer of images directly to a substrate (e.g. paper) saves the costs of having to acquire plates which in fact take time to prepare.
One of its main challenges or disadvantages is proper colour management especially that hue is likely to change from machine to machine. Most of the commercial printers in Kenya we’ve interacted with do not observe colour management. At Mint we continuously calibrate our machines to ensure colour consistency is achieved from time to time. Without calibration between screen and final print, digital printing will have a lot of challenges.
Types of Digital Printers
Digital printers vary greatly i.e. from your normal office deskjet printer to the large format printers and digital printing presses.
· Inkjet Printers
This is the most common type of printer considering its wide application and use. It involves the spraying of ink droplets onto a substrate. This is done through a print head and depending on manufacturers and type of technology used, the spraying and ink type varies also. Some use thermal inks, others use gels, while some use dye or pigment based inks. Large format printers use solvent based inks due to their outdoor application requirements.
More on inkjet printing here
· Laser Printers
This method of printing was made popular by Xerox Corp. in the 1960s era with their infamous photocopiers. They called this the xerographic process. It is a method involving the use of a laser beam on a charged drum to create a differential charged image. Toner then attracts over selectively charged areas and then transfers the image on a substrate e.g. paper. This is then heated to permanently fix the image on the substrate.
Most digital printing presses use this process and most give a gloss finish which is attractive to the eye.
For a detailed process, click here to find out more