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What is offset printing?

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Offset printing is a commonly used printing technique that can be found in a variety of applications, from paper hang tag, and brochures to product packaging and paper bags. Offset printing works by transferring ink from a metal plate to a rubber sheet, which is then rolled onto the substrate paper. This results in sharper images and more vibrant colors than traditional methods like screen printing. offset printing is often used for larger print jobs because it produces less waste than other methods.

The main advantage of offset printing is that it can produce much higher print quality than other, cheaper printing methods. This is because the image is first transferred (or “offset”) from a plate to a rubber blanket and then to the paper. The process allows for more accurate registration and eliminates smudging or blotching. Additionally, offset printing is one of the most versatile printing processes available, able to print on a wide variety of substrates (including paper, cardboard, plastic, and metal) with great detail and accuracy.

There are two different types of offset printing: sheet-fed offset and web-fed offset.

How Offset Technique Works #

All offset printing is based on the lithographic principle: an interaction between ink, water, and a printing plate. Lithographic printing works differently from stamp-type printing, in which the printing surfaces are separated from the nonprinting surfaces of the image by differences in surface elevation. In lithog- raphy, printed and nonprinted areas are separated by their different chemical characteristics.

The nonprinting areas are hydrophilic (they attract water), while the areas that print are hydrophobic (they repel water). In water-free offset printing, the nonprinting areas are coated with oleophobic solution instead.

Sheet-Fed Offset and Web-Fed Offset #

The most common printing method in China is sheet-fed offset, which is used for everything from advertising brochures and annual reports to post- ers and books. It is the traditional technique that gives the highest quality. As the name indicates, printing is done on paper sheets. The size of the sheets is matched with the size of the printing press, from approximately A3 to A0. Sheet- fed presses come in everything from one-color to twelve-color models. This method allows for an enormous selection of paper in terms of both finish and quality. Off-press processing is done in a completely separate step after printing.

Web-fed offset printing is most suitable for large-volume editions. You can rarely do any kind of advanced off-press processing with web-fed offset print- ing; such processing is usually limited to the folding and stitching of printed products. Common web-fed offset products include newspapers, periodicals, and brochures.

Updated on April 22, 2024
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