Printing can be dated back as far 868 CE. China where the first recorded book “Diamond Sutra” was published. The material used was either carved wood, stone or metal covered with ink or paint and transferred to parchment paper through applied pressure. The idea is ingenious, however, the method was tedious and labor intensive.
In 1436, a man by the name of Johannes Gutenberg revolutionize the printing industry with his replaceable/movable type. He invented a printing press machine that uses hand press block letters with raised surfaces set in wooden form. Later, the wooden block letters would soon be replace by metal. Johannes Gutenberg’s printing press would become the industry standard until the 20th century. coffee stand up pouches
With all of the technological advances, the latest method of printing is Digital printing, aka Variable Data Printing. This technology takes a different approach to printing versus flexographic or offset. Variable Data Printing uses an algorithm of complex numbers and formulas calculated through a computer program which then transfer ink to the material through a sequence of dots to create the desire image. Ink deposition, toner or exposure to electromagnetic energy can be controlled digitally.This method of calibration or color management allows the operator to reproduce the same high quality image over and over again without any deviation.
Since its launch in 1993, Digital printing makes up 13.5% of all printing and is expected to grow at an exponential rate over the next five years. Because of the increasing growth in Digital printing, customers are procuring the many benefits such as: speed, short-medium runs, customization and cost.
One of the advantages is speed due to minimal press set-up and a quicker response time. Because everything is computerize, unnecessary steps like make-ready, plate mounting, registration adjustment and ink key are eliminated. There are less steps involved in the printing process, therefore the final product can be delivered quicker.
Another advantage is the ability to produce short-medium runs. This is great for small businesses because they only pay for what the need. Smaller quantity of prints can be placed versus the standard minimum. This method of printing is also beneficial to larger companies with multiple products because they can place orders in succession with the amount sold.
Digital printing provides the advantages of customization through the form of Variable Data. Text and graphic can be modified without slowing down or stopping the press because of information stored on a file or database. This allows for a broader range of customized prints at high quality with full colors.
An important advantage of Digital Printing is cost. Digital printing is ideal for high quality low volume projects when a budget in taken into consideration. While the unit cost of each piece may be higher than offset printing, when setup cost are included digital printing provides lower per unit costs for every small print runs.