Digital Printing

-a printing technique using digital or electronic files from a personal computer or other digital storage device as a source.

-makes use of a raster image (also known as a bitmap; a grid of X & Y coordinates on a display space with details of the coordinates to illuminate) which is sent directly to the printer with help of digital files and graphics software applications.

– does not rely on a press plate to carry the image; does not require any setup sheets.
– lower production costs, has replaced lithography in a wide range of markets.


BENEFITS / ADVANTAGES OF DIGITAL PRINTING

  1. Provide faster turnaround times.
  2. Better quality and lower production costs.
  3. Excellent option for on-demand printing which requires shorter turnaround.
  4. It provides more options of substrates for printing (it’s non-contact printing).
  5. Non-distortion of images, unlike screen printing.


 DISADVANTAGES OF DIGITAL PRINTING

  1.  This type of printer cannot handle metallic inks.
  2.  All inks will eventually fade (In Direct Sunlight), but digital inks do tend to fade faster than others. There is the option of a UV Inhibitor lamination, although many times the printed surface needs to be updated before the ink gets a change to fade anyway.
  3. More Expensive with large volumes. Because a traditional printer runs at between 300 and 500 feet per minute, they’re great at putting out large volumes fairly quickly. A digital printer, in comparison, runs at between 15 and 50 feet per minute.
  4. Digital printers have high upkeep costs compared to other printers. The cost to keep the printer updated and fully operational adds to a company’s overhead.

       

STEPS OF DIGITAL PRINTING

  1. A design created by artist/s to be sent to art department as a visual proof. 
  2.  An approved design will be converted into the correct one, so the digital printer can recognize it and print the products correctly.
  3.  Before printing any products on the printer, the print heads must be cleaned with a specific fluid, to keep the print heads from drying out and getting damaged. This process must be done for every one hundred prints produced and can even need cleaning sooner; depending on how much color is in the print.
  4. A few checks that need to be carried out prior to printing.  
  5. The artwork can be printed, after all the necessary checks have been made and the artwork is ready. 
    Drum-printer produces waste ink; must be checked and emptied
    regularly to prevent any spillages.
    Container of cleaner-vital
    to the machine; must be checked regularly, and must never run out. Whenever the
    printer is stopped and started again, this process will use a required amount
    of cleaner.          
    Temperature of the ink- must be checked before printing; The
    printer must operate at a temperature between 20-25 degrees centigrade. Any
    temperature lower or higher can damage the print heads.
  6. Two different sizes of pallets are used to hold the product, the correct size is attached to the machine ready for us to lay the product out on to. Tea towels are done on our larger pallets and then bags or aprons are done on smaller pallets.    
  7.  The product is then laid down flat on the board (very important that the product is laid completely flat and no creases). Any creases will cause a distortion in the print.    
  8.  The digital printer then begins its work, the head moves from side to side over the top of the product spraying the design onto the product. 
  9. The printed item is then carefully removed from the pallet and is run through a large dryer at a specific temperature. This bakes the print onto the item, which results in a colorfast product.       
  10. The order is checked for print quality and prepared for dispatch.