Graphics Blog

Reduce Chemical and Water Use with Superior Prepress Product

It used to be said that “50% of a printing job’s cost is in prepress, 50% paper and ink and what is left over is for the printer.”

The irony of this would not be lost on any modern offset printer, struggling against rising material costs, environmental compliance, labour costs and stiff international competition from low-cost producers.

Where prepress was once a bought-in trade service—with film separations and chemical proof delivered to printers for burning plates—today is a very much different industrial picture. Purely prepress trade shops are almost extinct, as CtP, proofing and file preparation was brought in-house and digital workflows united prepress with press operations.

It may not be 50% today, but prepress is still a major part of any offset printing job’s cost; all the more as print-run lengths shorten and frequency increases.

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Topics: offset printing

Offset Plates—A System, Not Just a Piece of Metal

As the number of establishments using offset plates reduces, plate volumes remain stable or show slight increases due to the proliferation of multi-unit presses; shorter print runs performed more frequently and vast improvements in the time it takes to change-over plates, or make ready as it is known.

The SRA3 plate market is the one most affected by digital printing. Digital presses offering duplexed 2-up A4 printing on-demand without the use of offset plates, have almost replaced the old ‘small offset’ market. Most quick printing outlets today have waved goodbye to their AB Dicks, Iteks, TOKs and even GTOs in favour of digital cut sheet presses from manufacturers such as Fuji Xerox. Having said that, there is still a strong stalwart community of ‘52cm’ press users where the delights of digital are not needed. Heidelberg has even given its 52cm press range ‘Speedmaster’ functionality, plus anilox, and dropped GTO altogether.

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Topics: offset printing

Should Offset Printers Diversify Into Digital Wide Format?

The concept of an all-encompassing Print Service Provider (PSP) has been around for several years but few have embraced the one-stop-shop concept successfully. Segmentation of printing processes is culturally ingrained from the days of Duplicators, Small Offset, Big Offset, Web, Flexography, Gravure, Screen Process, Photo-chemical and if you want to go back far enough; Letterpress.

With the advent of digital print, came the democratisation of process outputs. Digital unifies and breaks down barriers to entry into markets previously considered taboo – a large sheetfed offset printer would once never have considered becoming a Screen process printer as well, unless by acquisition of a going concern business. With most workflows all-digital today, it has never been easier for an offset printer to re-format design files to an output device, other than the computer-to-plate setter. But should they want to?

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Topics: wide format printing, offset printing

Clean, Efficient Offset Printing with Fujifilm's Brillia HD Pro-T3 Processless Plates

Today's offset printing market is tougher than ever before. Because of the rise of high-quality digital print tech – and the trend toward screen-based media – commercial printers must work harder than ever to set themselves apart. Environmental concerns are also forcing a shift away from traditional, chemical-heavy platesetting techniques. Overall, media companies must find new, cleaner and more efficient ways to use current and future offset units.

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Topics: offset printing, processless plate technology, fujifilm

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