The evolution of printing technology runs parallel with the evolution of civilization.
From woodcut printing to modern 3D printing technologies, the evolution of printing technologies has grown impressively fast. Most importantly, they have become an integral part of our everyday lives.
In this article, we take you on a journey to the most essential moments in the evolution of printing.
- Offset Printing
Offset printing uses aluminum plates. They transfer an image from the plates onto the rubber blanket. Finally, the image is directly rolled onto the printing surface.
This printing technique is called offset because the ink is not directly transferred onto the paper.
While offset printing was developed about approximately 150 years ago, it is still in use. Once it is set up, it provides greater flexibility, quality, and cost-efficiency. Since it offers accurate color reproduction and professional-looking printing, this method is the best choice when large quantities of printed material are needed.
- Screen Printing
Screen printing is often referred to as serigraphy or silkscreen printing.
This printing method was invented in China during the Song Dynasty. However, it reached Europe in the early 1910s.
This printing method uses a mesh screen to transfer ink onto a flat printing surface. Fabric and paper are the most common surfaces used in screen printing. Screen printing is particularly useful in creating bold canvases, posters, and artwork. However, with specialized inks, you can also use this technique to print images onto wood, metal, plastic, and glass.
In the evolution of printing technology, this is one of the most popular printing techniques, used in a wide range of industries.
One of the greatest benefits of screen printing is that it offers vivid colors. The ink lies in layers on the surface, improving the quality of printed material.
Most importantly, screen printing is highly efficient since it facilitates mass production. You can use the same stencil to replicate the same design and create multiple copies of it. Precisely because of that, screen printing is often used in custom clothing designs for fashion brands, sports teams, or work uniforms.
- Inkjet Printing
In the evolution of printing technology, inkjet printing gained momentum in the early 1950s. This printing concept recreates a digital image by propelling droplets of ink onto paper and plastic substrates.
Inkjet printers are the most popular printer type, ranging from inexpensive customer models to professional devices.
Canon, HP, Epson, and Brother are the leading manufacturers of inkjet printers.
Ink printers provide multiple advantages. For starters, they provide individual and corporate users with the higher printing quality. They can print finer details through higher resolution. Most importantly, inkjets are highly efficient. They have almost no warm-up time and reduce the cost of printing per page. As such, they are perfect for flyer and brochure printing.
- Digital Printing
In today’s evolution of printing technology, digital printing is the latest and most commonly used printing form in the world.
It refers to the process of printing digital visuals directly onto a variety of media devices. Unlike with offset printing, there is no need for a printing plate.
Digital files, such as images or PDFs, can be sent directly to the digital printing press. They can be printed on photo paper, canvas, fabric, paper, cardstock, etc.
Digital printing has a wide range of applications, from commercial and advertising to desktop publishing and print-on-demand.
This printing form also plays a notable role in industrial printing. For example, it can be used for large format printing.
- Laser Printing
Laser printers use the electrostatic digital printing process. They produce quality text and graphics by repeatedly passing a laser beam back and forth over a negatively charged cylinder (the drum). The drum gathers electrically charged ink and the particles are pressed onto the paper. Heat and pressure from the fuser unit permanently fix text and graphics onto the paper.
This printing technique was invented in the 1970s by Xerox PARC. Today, some of the largest manufacturers of laser printers are IBM, Apple, Xerox, and Canon.
- 3D Printing
When it comes to the current state of the evolution of printing technologies, 3D printing technologies are the future of business sustainability and efficiency. They are not a sci-fi concept anymore. Over the past few years, 3D printing tools have become our reality. They have been used in a wide range of industries, from healthcare and education to the automotive sector.
3D printing involves printing three-dimensional solid objects from a digital file. The object is made by laying down successive layers of material until the product is created.
The benefits of 3D printing are multiple, from reducing costs and minimizing waste to faster prototyping and flexible design.
Evolution of Printing Technology – Over to You
As you can see from the examples provided above, the evolution of printing technologies are constantly evolving. With the rise of modern technologies, its advancement is now faster than ever. Therefore, there is a lot more to be excited about.
What type of printing technologies and tools do you use? Please, share your thoughts and experiences with us!
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