Define Digital Printing

The most common definition for digital printing is going to be taking an electronic file and going straight to a digital press. This is not entirely accurate because even in offset printing these days you take a digital file and go straight to plate that mounts on an offset press. For this article, we will use the most common definition to discuss or define digital printing. Digital printing can be done in black and white or in color. There are numerous machines that do digital printing. In the black & white you have primarily the Xerox Docutech and the Kodak Digimaster. In the color digital printing arena you have the HP Indigo, the Kodak Nexpress and the Xerox IGen3. The concept behind these machines is that there are no costly setups required for a job and so they can run small quantities at much lower costs than offset presses. Once quantities increase over say a few thousand sheets it becomes more economical to run the job on an offset press.

The digital press does run variable data where the image or text can change from press sheet to press sheet. Offset printing will not do this. Digital printing is also usually a quicker turnaround.

Most times digital printing is done by laying toner on a sheet vs ink like offset printing. The only exception to that is the HP Indigo which prints with liquid inks and the DI(direct imaging)presses.
The HP Indigo is the only digital press that can print true spot colors versus a CMYK conversion of process.

See also:
Offset Printing vs Digital Printing
All Digital Printing is not the Same
Digital Printing PMS Colors

Written by Buzz Tatom
The Odee Company