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The Future of Digital Press Printing Techniques and Innovations

February 6, 2024 | High Velocity Printers

Digital press printing, also known simply as digital printing, has revolutionized modern printing practices. Involving the transfer of digital files directly onto the print substrates, it skips all the headache and hassle of traditional offset printing – think printing plates and adding inks. 

The benefits? Shorter print runs, enhanced customization, and reduced costs are just a few examples. 

This article will explore the current digital printing landscape, from its transformative impact to the advanced capabilities of modern digital presses, before seeing how proofing technology can further streamline the digital press process. 

Transformative Impact of Digital Press Printing on Modern Printing Practices

Previously, printers relied on a series of time-consuming steps, such as creating print plates and adjusting ink settings, to transfer a digital design into a tangible, physical product. No longer. Digital press printing promises to translate the exact digital image into a final design without any intermediary steps.

Sounds too good to be true? It’s not. And that’s not the only transformative effect:

  • Speed and Efficiency. One of the biggest changes is the sheer speed with which modern digital presses work. With no printing plates, modern presses print the computerized image directly onto the paper, fabric, or whatever substrate you pick. 
  • Shorter Print Runs. In the past, traditional printing methods cost so much to set up that large quantities were required to justify the costs. But with fewer costs, digital printing allows for shorter runs – sometimes, only a handful are printed. 
  • Customization and Personalization. Modern consumers increasingly expect personalized designs. That was nearly impossible with the former methods, but personalized designs can quickly be sent to a digital press. Businesses can churn out customized marketing materials, packaging, and promotional items for individual customers or target audiences.
  • Variable Data Printing (VDP). Companies no longer have to print the same item again and again. VDP allows each printed piece to be customized with different text or images. If you’ve ever received a flier with your name on it, thank VDP.

Advanced Capabilities of Digital Presses

Digital presses are the colossal machines that convert digital files into printed materials. They consist of a print engine, fuser, developer, and image transfer belt. These parts collectively apply toner or ink to the paper, reproducing the exact image you see on the screen. 

How does it achieve this? Digital press proofing “rasterizes” an image, turning it into a series of dots that are then printed onto paper. The dots are so small they’re not visible to the naked eye, allowing for a remarkable level of detail.

What’s even more remarkable is the speed at which they produce the printed material. In a matter of minutes, a digital press can print hundreds of leaflets. That’s perfect for businesses operating on tight deadlines or quick turnaround times. Moreover, without the elaborate setup, the printers can get started the moment the design is complete.

You’d think such speed would sacrifice quality. However, digital press printing arguably produces higher-quality results. Using rasterization, the final image is sharp, vibrant, and extremely precise – and can be 100% customized to the intended audience.

Best of all, it achieves all this at a highly competitive price compared to traditional printing. For small to medium-sized print runs, it’s by far the most cost-effective option – albeit purchasing a digital press is a large upfront investment.

Digital Printing vs. Traditional Methods

You’d think digital print presses would have rendered traditional printing obsolete. That’s basically true for the majority of print jobs. If you’re producing a short run of marketing leaflets, digital press printing is the obvious option. Even more so if your print job requires on-demand printing or personalized marketing materials. 

For example, imagine you run a small marketing agency and one of your clients, a local bakery, needs promotional materials. Maybe that’s a limited run of 500 customized flyers with different cupcake flavors on each one. Traditional printing, in this scenario, would be cost-prohibitive. But digital print presses could churn out the finished product in under an hour.

On the other hand, printing the same company’s bags or packaging may require traditional printing, as the same design would be printed many thousands of times. 

Still confused? Here’s a breakdown of the key differences between digital press printing and traditional methods:

Digital PrintingTraditional Printing
Setup and PreparationMinimal setup; no plates requiredExtensive setup with plates
Cost-EfficiencyCost-effective for short to medium runsCost-effective for large runs
Print QualityConsistent, good-quality outputExceptional print quality
Customization and PersonalizationIdeal for variable data printingLimited customization options
Speed and Turnaround TimeRapid turnaround, quick startLonger lead times due to setup
Color AccuracyGood color accuracy, but limited gamutBroad color spectrum, high accuracy
Waste and Inventory CostsMinimal waste, no overcommitmentPotential for excess inventory
Ideal ApplicationsOn-demand, short runs, personalized materialsLarge print runs, high-end publications

Ashore is the Best Digital Press Printing Platform

Digital press printing allows businesses to mass produce marketing materials within a few hours. But with such a streamlined process, it’s easy for a mistake to slip through the net. No sooner have you clicked print than you notice a typo – now you’ve got thousands of useless leaflets.

Carefully proofing your designs before sending them to the digital press is critical. Not only does it save you money, but it also prevents any layout or image resolution issues.

Ashore is a purpose-built proofing platform trusted by thousands of creatives. You can upload any file type to the platform, send it off for approval, receive comments, and annotate directly on the design. 

No confusion. No hassle. No waiting around for feedback. You can finalize your designs and correct any errors before sending them off for digital press printing. It’s that simple. In fact, Ashore helps proofs get approved 50% faster than traditional proofing methods. Other features include automated workflows, customer approval checklists, and a user-friendly proofing interface.

Get started with Ashore today! 

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