Digital Printing – The Common Printing Technologies

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Printing has been around for many years now, with the first type of printing being woodblock, examples surviving from China dated before 220. But as technology has advanced, there have been many types of printing technologies and techniques to output printed designs, which have existed on all kinds of material. Today, digital printing is the most common form of printing but there are many different technologies used to produce high quality printouts, here are some of the most common methods that you may use from day to day (or has been used over the years).

Blueprint

A Blueprint is reproduced from a technical drawing, architecture or an engineering design. Many materials have been used to create blueprints; paper was the most common choice but over time vellum was starting to become the preferred option until Mylar, a polyester film was created and produced.

Daisy wheel

This ‘impact printing’ technology was used in electronic typewriters, word processors and computers in the early 1970’s and was named the daisy wheel because it resembles a daisy flower.

Dot-matrix

The print head within a dot matrix printer would run back and forth on the paper and by striking a cloth soaked ribbon against the paper which would transfer ink to the paper. Since the dot matrix printer didn’t use a ‘daisy wheel’ and ink was formed out of a dox matrix, different fonts and graphics could be used.

Line-printing

A high impact printer that would print lines of texts, one line at a time.

Heat transfer

Using thermal paper and a thermal print head, the paper passes over the print head and black patches are formed where the heat is output in the shape of an image. Two- colour thermal printers can print usually black and one other colour (such as red). This is achieved by the heat being applied at different temperatures.

Inkjet

A digital image is produced by droplets of ink being released onto paper. Home users are more common to use these types of printers as they are cheaper than laser printers and so are the cartridges. As technology has advanced over the years, many manufacturers such as Brother and Epson are releasing inkjet printers to be aimed at businesses as they are much cheaper to run (depending on the printing demand).

Laser

Using static electricity, a laser is directed onto a revolving drum unit which creates an electrical charge. The drum unit then rolls through the toner which holds the opposite electrical charge to the charged drum. The toner then gets fused and sealed onto the paper. The paper is then printed and output. Businesses with high print demands are more common to use laser printers as they are quicker, more robust and can be cheaper if you exceed a certain number of prints.

Solid ink

Instead of toner or ink cartridges, ink sticks (similar to wax) are used as it’s a cost effective, non-toxic, environmental friendly way of printing. The solid ink is heated and transferred onto paper which cools very quickly to seal a solid bond.

This article is written by Daniel who works for a company in the UK call Toner Giant. Toner Giant are leading suppliers of oki toner cartridges to businesses.

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