The term Digital refers to the digits 0 and 1, which provide the basis for the mathematical language computers use to create, process and store electronic images. Digital Printing is the process of transferring these stored images directly onto paper.
Most people can relate to the function of a digital printing press because it operates similar to a desktop printer. Like a desktop printer, the ink used in a digital printing press can be in powder form, like toner, or in liquid form. However, a commercial digital press is much bigger and faster than a desktop printer. And more importantly it offers much better quality, performs way more functions and has a greater number of paper choices.
No Printing Plate is Needed
Digital printing is different from other commercial printing methods because it does not involve the creation of printing plates. Instead, the digital files to be printed are electronically transferred directly to the press for output. The press then applies the ink directly to the paper. Being able to print without plates is the primary benefit of digital printing because it saves the time and expense of plate creation.
Digital printing has been the fastest growing segment of the printing industry. As a result, substantial technological advances have been made in recent years and digital printing is gradually approaching the quality level of high-end offset printing. Even though the quality gap is narrowing, it is important to note that offset presses still outperform the print quality of digital presses at the current time.
Perfect for Short Run Printing
One of the main advantages digital printing has over traditional offset printing is its ability to produce short production runs for less cost. Digital press runs of around 1,000 pieces or less are generally more cost effective than similar offset runs because there is no expense associated with the creation of printing plates. Also, the prep time for a digital press is minimal which reduces set-up costs and allows for faster turnaround times.
Being able to reduce the cost and time associated with Short Run Printing has made digital printing very popular for Print On Demand services as well as Variable Data Printing.