The Differences Between Litho and Digital Printing.14 August 2017
Since the first press was invented in 1440 by Johannes Gutenberg the printing process has seen many technological developments over the centuries.
Truprint Media have always invested to keep up with the advancements.
When It comes to printing one question we get asked often is, what is the different between Litho and digital printing?
Lithographic Offset Printing or Litho for short.
This traditional print method originates back to 1796 when limestone was used. An image was drawn onto the lime stone with oil or fat onto the smooth surface. The limestone was treated with a mixture or acid and gum producing an etched area that was not protected by the oil or fat. Once the limestone was moistened with water the etched areas retained the water. An oil based ink could them be applied that would be repelled from the non-image areas and only taking to original oil drawn image.
Modern day Litho printing has developed over the years but still retains the basic principles of this process from 1796. These days the limestone has been replaced by aluminium plates which wraparound the cylinders on the printing press. Ink is transferred through the rollers onto the plate and transferred onto a rubber blanket known as offset when the image is reversed. This image is then transferred directly onto the paper or card.
Litho printing is generally used for longer runs of print, the initial set up cost is far greater than that of digital printing but the speed is so much faster. For example, our 5 colour litho press runs at around 10,000 impressions per an hour printing a sheet size of 720mm x 520mm allowing us to produce around 80,000 single sided or 40,000 double sided A5 flyers per hour.
This print process has made some huge advances in both quality and the last few years.
There are very few processes that can compete against litho printing, however the digital press has now become a firm contender when small print runs are required. The digital printing press requires very little set up and paper wastage is greatly reduced. With no printing plates required and printing directly from a PDF the digital press is perfect for short runs of business cards, leaflets, posters, postcards and invitations etc. The digital printing press is also able to personalise each copy (known as variable data) which makes it ideal for mailings, letters and postcards, it can also add that personal touch to your print. For more information about personalisation please see our blog on variable data. At Truprint Media we have 2 digital colour presses and 1 high speed with full variable data capabilities and envelope printing.