Complementary Future of Offset, Digital Printing to Be Seen at Drupa
In the U.K., Heidelberg has also demonstrated how this workflow can be extended up the value chain by linking up with Cloud-based Web-to-print company Red Tie for online ordering and communication with the print buyer or specifier.
Where Digital Printing Should Fit
The Heidelberg example was a demonstration of what can be done, and today we are seeing such things happening at many printers in the industry using a range of different equipment. The use of digital printing to carry out work that would previously have been printed by offset where digital printing is a more suitable process because of the short-run nature of the work is only part of the way digital printing is complementing offset.
It is an example of how printers have found it necessary to implement digital printing in order to provide a more complete service to their customers while staying profitable. This is offset transfer, where it is not profitable to print short-run work using offset technologies. Today, digital printing from all the suppliers can match four-color offset printing for quality and color reproduction.
While digital printing has been the technology in the limelight at the past Drupa events, offset technology has continued to develop and become more efficient and more suited for short-run printing. Some digital printers have also seen the need to invest in offset to handle a wider range of work. In these cases, it is often seen that a digital printer will add offset printing with digital imaging (DI) technology like that from Presstek.
One reason for this is digital printing companies don’t want to have offset printing skills and the Presstek DI presses can be run almost like digital presses with offset costs. Jeff Jacobsen the Chairman, President and CEO of Presstek, states the following, “We have a term called ‘bridging the gap.’ Customers are having great difficulty as 80 percent of all printing in four-color is under 5,000 impressions, and to do that efficiently, you cannot do it with electrophotography because the toner is too expensive and inkjet is not there yet. Between 500 and 20,000 impression,s DI will give you the absolute highest quality at the lowest cost per piece.”