Offset or litho printing is a common form of printing that can produce large quantities very quickly, whilst providing fantastic quality print.
FACT: Offset presses can print 200 sheets per minute – that’s 12,000 per hour!
At Elanders we have four offset presses and there are some huge advantages of this form of printing over other print processes, depending on what end result you are looking for.
Because we know that not everyone’s a print expert , we’ve provided some useful information about the offset/litho world to help you get up to speed.
How does it work?
A plate with the artwork written onto it is fed into the machine. The inked image is transferred from the plate to a rubber blanket and then on to the printing surface. At Elanders we can use up to 1mm thick board and as little as 70gsm paper so we can handle a range of requirements.
“Offset” refers to the transference of the inked image.
“Lithographic” refers to the process that is used to make the ink transfer (or offset) onto the surface. It involves oil and water solution that repels the ink from certain areas, whilst the ink sticks to the other areas (the ones that have the image on).
It works so quickly that it’s hard not to be impressed.
As it is a complex and fascinating process, we let customers come to view their work being printed if they wish, this often helps to answer any questions about how it works.
Why would you use offset over digital printing?
The main reason is quantity. Offset is ideal for large quantities of print such as catalogues, brochures or leaflets – things that require print runs in their thousands. The more you print, the cheaper it becomes because the main cost is the set-up or the production of the plate.
Why would you use offset over web printing?
Some customers would chose offset for its higher quality. Web printing is great for large documents such as directories where the pages need to be thin enough to avoid making the end product huge – think of the old Yellow Pages! It is also ideal for materials that are intended to be mailed out because the lighter weight paper makes the postage cost smaller.
The only problem with this is that the pages will be thinner and for some brochures or documents, this isn’t the desired effect. For some however, it is exactly what they need.
Offset printing can use a range of quality papers and boards, whilst printing large quantities at great quality, so it is an ideal choice for many businesses.
We hope that you’re able to understand the complexities of offset/litho a little more now, but we’re always keen to help if you have any more questions – just email us or call 0191 280 0400.
Last updated 19th Mar 2015
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