Ed #11 Print It

Press Types

The two main types of offset presses are sheetfed and webfed. As the name implies, sheetfed presses print on sheets of paper. Web presses print on paper that is pulled from a long roll and then cut and trimmed to size after printing.

While offset printing has long been the standard for commercial printing, in recent years it has been joined by digital technology. Digital printing encompasses a wide range of equipment, from desktop printers to large systems that can rival offset presses for quality, as well as hybrid systems that combine digital and offset technologies.

Most digital systems do away with the film, plates and ink that are part of offset printing in favor of some sort of electrophotographic process. Particles of dry or liquid toner are attracted to an electrostatically charged cylinder that carries the image. The toner is then transferred to the paper or, less often, to a blanket cylinder and heat is used to melt and set it on the paper. Digital ink jet presses use an electrical charge to guide the placement of tiny drops of ink to create a glossy image that can rival a continuous-tone photograph. Hybrid technologies combine digital and conventional offset technology.

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