Digital printing

Digitally printing (also briefly digiDruck ) denotes a group of print processes in which the print image is transferred directly from a computer in a printing machine, without requiring a static pressure mold is used. When the printing system is more accessible to a photographic printing system such as a laser printer that is designed for long runs. Other methods are used, such as ink-jet printing for large format displays and posters.

Printing process

Unlike, for example, in offset printing digital printing no fixed artwork ( print form) is required so that each sheet can be printed differently (NIP = non-impact printing). Also referred to as Direct Digital Printing ( DDP) method enables personalized prints such as invoices, credit card statements, bank statements or even specifically tailored to the receiver advertising (see Direct Marketing ). In addition, multi-page documents can be printed without changing the printing plate immediately in the correct order, a later collating (sorting ) is omitted.

In addition, the printing system may include other means for cutting, and binding. Thus, the production of complete printing products in the shortest time possible.

Meanwhile, there are a number of different digital printing options. These include inkjet or laser printers that are used mainly for very short runs in the private sector. Thereafter, the so-called " Quick Copy ", the same is often the laser printer, but achieve significantly higher flow rates occur in less time. These are mostly used in copy shops or in-house " printing ".

However, a large area also occupy the industrial systems. Many toner-based equipment manufacturers ( such as HP, Canon, Xerox, Ricoh, Konica Minolta ), but also well-known offset device manufacturers (such as Heideldruck, Manroland, KBA) try to gain a foothold with new developments in this growing market. Even in large format ( large format ) digital inkjet systems are increasingly used to enable the approximate offset print quality on a variety of substrates. Here ink is applied to the material with the liquid electro -ink process. In this type of production print widths up to 5 m can be achieved. These are mostly role systems on which weather resistant materials (eg PVC banners, mesh fabric, canvas linen, etc.) are printed. These can be used for several years outdoors, weatherproof and colorfast.

The latest generation of digital printing systems, the " drive direct print " dar. On this system, rigid materials are usually printed in UV inkjet process. Depending on the system, the printing is only relevant to the thickness forth. It may include materials such as Plastics, wood, glass, metal, stone, paper, etc. are printed.

→ See also: Print textures

Areas of application

Digital printing is more cost effective for smaller print runs than offset printing. Personalized Prints are economically possible at all only in digital printing, sometimes be eg in the catalog production digital printing one hand, and offset or gravure printing process on the other hand combined. Because now favorable manufacturing costs can be achieved in digital printing, many books are published already (still) unknown authors - partly at their own risk or via small publishers - at competitive prices and of merchantable quality. By bringing out such digitally printed short run, there is indeed higher unit costs, but can in example commented below 100 books with much less investment in a market test of the circulation.

A new field of digital printing also provides a personalized book. Experienced a boom of digital printing is currently by digital photography. Photo books, calendars, greeting cards, etc. are made millions directly from consumers.

Another field of digital printing is the Large Format Print ( large format printing ). Inter alia this can be used to produce individual wallpaper.

Strengths and weaknesses

Digital prints have a high universality and from the viewpoint of the individual printing is very good value for money. A weakness of digital printing is the fit to double-sided printing, which is caused by the non- resting pressure medium to the ink during printing, for example, the ink jet printer, which applies the color from a certain height on the medium.


The transition between a powerful photocopier and a digital printing system is fluid. Digital printing systems often have more options for storing the print template. Print with higher quality, more reliable and more productive as a copier. In digital color printing the exact color reproduction of templates or certain standardized colors is also supported. To achieve a high color accuracy, there is usually time-consuming adjustments and calibrations, the so-called color management.

Digital printing systems have more opportunities to control the arrangement of the pages of a document on the sheet. Several smaller sites can be placed on a large sheet ( use mounting). Folding and binding of the prints to the finished product to be prepared. Pruning is simplified by additionally printed crop marks and appropriate margins.

However, digital printing can also be done through the interaction of coordinated individual workstations and machines from different manufacturers. This allows the selection of multiple printing techniques with very specific properties ( inkjet printing, wax printing, digital screen printing, laser printing, etc.) - as well as much broader selection in the further processing after printing. Conventional printers operate digital printing as an offer supplement preferably with a single multi-function device (usually laser printing ).

Combinations of different production steps

In contrast, special digital printing companies prefer to work with an ideal for each sub-task machines. Thus, the envelope printing with ink upon subsequent shooters through the lamination / laminating / film laminating eg resistant to flaking paint layers to buckling, folding, grooving and cutting edges, but also less scratch sensitive to applied lacquer, wax or toner layers. Laminating film keeps on color- intense laser printing and security printing because of the release agent silicone oil only unreliable on printed envelope, but well on inked sheet. When printing monochrome pages or colorful pictures in the book printing costs often leave other processes come into play.

Digitally produced prints as stationery ( letterhead ) and forms the force coordination with the printing process then used by the customer. Uses this hot printing technology ( laser printers, wax printers ), then forbids the application of later -melting in the customer's printer ink layers. Handwritten forms tend to be filled with wax and laser printing to the fact that it pen and ballpoint pen without ink transfer back and herkratzen. Hot layers of paint are more suited for the last transition in the pressure. Wax print ( Tektronix / Xerox ) scored by far the highest luminosity and intensity of colors through the thickest paint.

Inkjet printing, laser printing and digital anodizing process

Inkjet prints on special paper currently offer a qualitatively acceptable resolution and photo-like quality. Color laser printers are with regular usage often the cheapest purchase at the lowest price packages page. There is also the band printed fast digital printing machines that fill entire rooms easily, hold ink in bucket-sized tanks and their ink print heads span the entire print width and therefore does not need time-consuming commute back and forth. In such large systems decide especially the utilization and the credit interest rate of the Multiple - million - euro investment relating to the standardized cost per page. Special digital large format printers can panels, boards, sheets and other materials to print - even pies, for which approved food colors are available. In digital anodizing process, the inks are embedded under a crystal clear protective anodized coating firmly in aluminum. Thus, the aluminum signs are very resistant to mechanical, thermal and chemical stresses.

  • Printing process
  • Digital printing