Digital printing technology denotes, direct printing onto the substrate. Digital printing process involves with digital file and digital electronic devices. This printing application is also known as a Print-On-Demand Service. Digital printing on variety of materials uses different types of Technology Embed Printers. In a simple way, we can understand it is a Computer-Aided Printing Technology.
Digital Printing process, content (digital image & text) is directly sent to the printer using supporting ripping software to manage ink, size and & data transfer cable/wireless to the printer that makes prints on a variety of the substrate (Roll To Roll Fabric, Paper, Plastic & Sheet .
Digital printing eliminates various steps of the Traditional Printing Process (making negative/positive, plate making/printing block/color sampling, etc. before print production.
There are 4 main types of technology digital printer works based on.
- 3D Technology
- Sublimation Printing
In this printing technology a tiny drop of ink is sprayed on the printing object. Technology used inkjet printer called Piezoelecrtic. This process is done different sizes printer (Desktop Printer, Roll to Roll Inkjet Digital Printer and Flat Bed Inkjet Printer etc.)
Some Inkjet printer inbuild special mechanism to dry ink faster known as UV Ink & LED UV Light.
Laser jet technology printers consumes toners based ink that melted on the substrate using heat and laser beam ultimately create intended mark on the substrate the way you created design. Laser jet printers are very fast production compare to inkjet printers. There are different sizes printer available in the marker.
Desktop Laser Printer
Commercial Laser Printers
3D printing technology is a process of creating 3 dimensional design to created a products layer by layer, Creating a 3D products used materials are plastic, metal, powder etc. To dry out materials used different types of mechanism as well as UV light etc.
Heat Transfer Technology (Sublimation Printing)
Digital heat transfer printing technology need to create a digital file (image & text) with the help of a design tool (CorelDraw, Cad & Photoshop) & then with the help printing software that manages to feed media into a roller or print head move over the media, and produces ink in precise & controlled amounts.
Products we can print using digital printing technology
Today digital printing can be applied to almost all types of printing media (paper, wood, glass, fabric, etc) using a specialized print head digital printer and ink (SOLID INK, POWDER, and LIQUID INK) to produce images and text digitally onto the substrate.
Commonly sheet-feed digital printers are used as domestic printers in low-volume businesses and roll-to-roll printers as commercial digital printers.
Digital Printing Advantages
- Digital printing eliminates various step of traditional printing steps like plate-making, color proofing, and film-making (photo-polymer film processes).
- Instant print production.
- No required basic print set-up cost.
- Best printing option for low-volume printing.
- Variable data printing.
- Enable to print variety of stuffs.
Types of Digital Printer
We can segregate digital printer into two main categories
- Compact Digital Printing
- Non-Compact Digital Printing
Compact Digital Printing
Compact printers are digital printing machines, in that the head directly touches the print head to the substrate and performs very slowly. and also make a high noise during the print process. The compact printer used solid ink (ribbons) or a special type of coated paper that ink fused on the stuff or burn the surface that makes an impression. A perfect example is 1. Dotmatrics Printer. 2. Thermal ID Card Printers. Digital Travel Ticketing Machines.
Non-Compact Digital Printing
Non Compact digital printers work faster and smoother. Non-compact printers work with 2 different types of technology. Non-compact digital printing used Toner (laser Technology) and Liquid Ink (piezoelectric technology). Fusing a design on the substrate uses different types of print head mechanisms.
- Laser Technology
- Inkjet Technology
1. Laser Technology
Laser technology-based printer speed comes to around 3000-4000 per hour. Printing on paper Digital Press and Desktop Laser Printers are the best examples of laser technology. Through laser, a toner particle charged and attract with the drum and inbuilt heater fused the ink on the substrate. Due to the inbuilt heater, there are limitations to the printing substrate. Canon, Konoka, and HP are the top most player in the market.
Laser Printing (Sheet Feed)
When it comes to printing on thin and flexible sheets (up to 400 gsm) use a LASER PRINTING TECHNOLOGY that requires dry ink. A LASER PRINTER needs a toner cartridge and a high-speed laser printer can produce 4500 to 5000 copies per hour. Today laser printers are available in the market with maximum sizes of up to 13″ wide and 52″ in length that can produce the print. Market leader laser printer brand names are XEROX, HP, KONIKA MINOLTA, and CANON. These printers are designed for printing on paper and a few specific types of plastic and vinyl materials.
Digital Printing Press
Desktop Laser Printer
Commercial Laser Printer
In laser printing technology the substrate passes through laser printing on a wheel and out after the print is finished. This printing technology can be applied only on materials vendable and up to 300 gsm thickness. printing technology involves toner, lense, heating elements, and electrodes.
2. Inkjet Technology
A micro-size ink droplet (liquid ink) is sprayed onto paper using piezoelectric technology. There is a wide range of inkjet printer lists for specific types of ink quality. Inkjet printer speed is comparatively slow to the laser printer. Inkjet printers need liquid ink to print digitally on the substrate. All inkjet printers are not fit for printing on all types of media (paper, plastic, metal, fabric, stone, etc. Some printers have special mechanisms to dry ink and some printer inbuild technology of led light to cure the ink.
Laser as well as Laser Printing, UV Printing, DTF Printing, DTG Printing, 3D Printing, Leser Engraving, and Thermal Digital Printing,
Inkjet Digital Printing Principle
Digital printing technologies perform with compatible specialized print heads, and special ink (liquid)/toner (dry ink), for printing on specific characteristics materials (wood, glass, fabric, etc.) and printed substrate use (indoor, outdoor) in terms of better Ink Adhesion, Print Longevity, Print Abrashion, Cost Perspective, etc.
There are various perspectives when we talk about digital printing products like different types of substrates as well as flexible, rigid, sheet form and roll-to-roll form, etc, and printer compatibilities.
Ink adhesion & print longevity depends on substrate molecule bonding with toner, liquid ink (solvent, eco-solvent, pigment, and dye-based), and ecological printing on fabrics
Before buying a digital printer you need to know the type of printer
- Compact Printer (Print Head Touches Substrate) Thermal Printer, 3D Printer
- Non-Compact Printer (Print Head Untouch Substrate) Laser Printer & Inkjet Printer
Today, digital printing can be applied to almost all types of substrates using compatible printers for specific types of media, paper, wood, glass, metals, and fabrics.
Digital Printing of Fabrics | Digital Printing on Hard Stuff
Digital Printing press is widely known for printing on paper materials
Digital Printing on a Variety of Stuff
It’s a digital printing age, Almost any stuff can be printed by specific types of compatible printers, Here I am going to describe the most common materials printing application. According to media for printing, we can segregate into 3 types. 1. Flexible Sheet Form 2. Rigid & Thick Stuff 3. Flexible & Roll to Roll Form Media.
Inkjet Printer (Flat Bed)
Hard stuff could be wood, plastic sheet, metal sheet or glass, etc. Before digital printing on hard stuff needs to understand printability and how long does print face water, sunlight, heat, etc. Printing ink and printer both are the major factor to consider in the long run. Printing on hard and thick stuff uses INKJET PRINTING TECHNOLOGY. Inkjet printers require a bed size bigger than the substrate to place flat on it
Different types of substrates (metal, wood, plastic) required different types of ink quality.
Roll to Roll Inkjet Printer (Banner Printer)
Digital printing on flexible media likewise advertising banners (flex & vinyl banner), and cloth printing (Satin, Polyester, cotton), uses large format printers compatible with different types of printing ink (solvent ink, eco-solvent ink, latex ink & UV ink). Large format inkjet printer width range starts from 24″ to 120 inches.
DTG Inkjet Printer (Direct to Garment)
Direct-to-garment printer specially prepared with double head with compatible ink tank color print & additional white color printing on dark color fabric powered with anti-clogging print head technology with eco-friendly water-based ink. This printer performs the best result on cotton-made t-shirts and apparel.
DTF Inkjet Printer (Direct to Film)
This is the newer technology developed during the worldwide lockdown in the Year 2020. Especially printing on pet film for transferring on any type of fabric and leather material with full-color printing. People also consider it as a replacement for expensive printing technology DTG printing. As per my experience, DTF printing is not the replacement for DTG, both are different in therm of print quality. But both are used for apparel decorations.
Different types of substrates (cotton, polyester, nylon) required different types of ink quality.
Laser marking, engraving, and laser cutting are digital processes of marking brands’ names on metal, plastic, and non-metal stuff (wood, jeans). All these 3 different terminologies are based on the power of laser technology and laser beam power. The laser produces an accuracy of marking & cutting result of 99.9%, very fast, convenient and permanent. Different types of density stuff required different ranges of laser power supplies. There are mainly two types of laser beam generate 1. Co2 laser and Fiber Laser.
4. 3D Printing Technology
3D printing is also known as additive material printing. 3D printing technology is especially used in making high-quality products as well as in the medical science, aerospace, and automobile industries. it eliminates making a metal dye for manufacturing products for low-volume production.
5. LED UV Printing Technology
LED UV printing is a mechanism or unique type of ink and Today UV printers are the industry’s leader for printing on almost all types of stuff from small-size to big-size products. The uniqueness of a UV printer is its, unique ink-drying system. To dry ink fast other printer has additional power consumption appliance like a run heater during a print that requires huge energy and time. UV printer eliminates all energy consumptions, it uses LED light that dyes ink within a couple of seconds.
6. Sublimation Printing Technology (Sublimation Printer)
Sublimation printers are regular inkjet printers. it consumes a special type of dye ink known as (Dye Sublimation Ink) printing on specialized polyester-coated paper (Sublimation Paper). Later on, printed graphics and text were transferred on a polyester-coated substrate/sublimation blanks using a Heat Press Machine). The ink was used for transferring on a variety of polyester materials or polyester-coated stuff like a coaster, T-shirts, ceramic mugs, sipper bottles, etc. Available sheet feed and roll-to-roll printer.