The printing industry, thanks to technology innovation and advancement, has evolved immensely over the past two decades. Nowadays, there are a huge number of printing methods and technologies and even though some have become obsolete, it’s essential to at least have some knowledge on the available options out there.
The Common Types of Industry Printers
Wide-Format Inkjet Printers
Ideally known as large format printers, wide-format printers are capable of printing on 18-inch to 100-inch rolls. Those that can print on anything more than 100 inches wide are known as super-wide or grand printers. Wide-format printers are usually categorized on the transfer process that they utilize for ink and these include UV, dye, aqueous, pen or plotter and solvent sublimation. These types of printers are way more cost-effective compared to other printing methods for most short-run or low-quantity printing jobs. There are numerous applications for large-format printers including floor graphics, banners, presentation graphics, vehicle wraps, backlit signage, window displays, indoor wall graphics, construction plans, trade show graphics and much more.
Flexography, commonly referred to as flexo is a modern day form of the letterpress which can be utilized on almost any medium or substrate. It’s commonly used for printing on non-porous substrates like food packaging, but it can ideally be used for printing on conventional paper. Initially, offset printers were used for labels but as technology advanced, flexo printers are now used for the same. The common applications of these printers include packaging printing (which can be done on foil, plastic, acetate film, etc.), wallpaper printing, newspaper printing and self-adhesive labels.
Digital printing is the process of printing from a digital-based design or image onto an array of mediums. It’s often used to describe small run projects like desktop publishing and even other digital sources where laser and inkjet printers are utilized in high volume capacities and in large-format. Traditionally, digital printing has had a higher cost per page compared to other traditional means, but the lower labour costs have changed this, making it just as cost-effective. The lower labour costs are due to the fact that there’s no need to constantly change printing plates and the turnaround times are faster. Some common applications for digital printing include architectural design, fine art printing, advertisement printing, desktop publishing, photo printing and on-demand printing.
Of course, there are other types of printers that we haven’t discussed such as screen printing, but these happen to be most common and interesting.