The Best Printing Press For You

The answer to the question of which printing press is an important one, as the wrong one can increase your price, as well as potentially diminish the quality of your full color printing. If pricing is your most important goal, then the correct   size and type of becomes important for you. What are these types and sizes? Let’s take a look.

Using The Wrong One

When the wrong presses are used it is like trying to squeak a size 12 foot, into a size 8 shoe. The wrong one can either not run the job properly, depending on bindery or other requirements, but these same incorrect presses from the wrong printing press company can cost you more money to run your work on, than the appropriate ones.

The Docutech

This is built for short run manuals or booklets of many pages. It prints from your disk directly onto the paper, using toner and not ink. It has a relatively high line screen and the end result will have a dry look (due to the toner) unlike ink, which has a wet look. It prices better than ink printing for runs up to a couple of thousand books. It is the industry standard for book printing under 1,000 books.

The Docucolor

The Docucolor is the sister to the Docutech from Xerox and built for color printing, Whereas the Docutech is only for black. When you require full color that has many pages and is a short run quantity, this offers the same benefits as the Docutech: better per unit pricing for short run full color printing.

The IGen

While similar to the Docucolor it is built for high quality color printing. When you require full color that has is equal to sheet fed printing but is a short run quantity, you will receive better per unit pricing, than on a sheet fed press for short run full color printing, while still maintaining the sheet fed quality.

Sheet Fed:

The sheet fed printing press provides you with a better quality (but not overly noticeable beyond the dry look of the Docucolor) full color printing product and its benefits lie within the varying printing machine sizes. The smallest sized ink full color machine is the Heidelberg "GTO", which runs an average 13.5 x 19 printing form and thereby not beneficial for more than a four page document. For short run color printing this is ideal, as you get the best quality printing at short run print prices.

Following the small "GTO" press, the next step up in press sizing is the 28" and this usually comes with a five plate configuration; allowing you to print in full color plus one pantone or spot varnish in addition to the process full color printing.

The big boy of the sheet fed machines is the 40" with six colors. While the 28" is configured to print up to a 12 page booklet, the 40"is built to print 16 pages signatures (a sixteen page booklet of a standard letter sized page). The bottom line: the larger the page count, the bigger the machine required for optimal print efficiency: Efficiency equals price and quality. This printing press is also the one generally used for the "gang run" process. For example, it can run eight different flyers for eight different customers on one sheet and thereby saving each of the eight from having to pay for a custom run of only a few thousand flyers. There are of course the "packaging presses" which can run up to 80" or more. However these are not typically used for publications or other standard print items.

The Web Printing Press

  • Web printing is a rotary process, which utilizes roll paper rather than large, or small, "parent" sheets of paper which are pulled through one at a time. The rolls shoot through the web printing presses at very high speeds, with the newest versions running so fast it is mind numbing. Sometimes, should you be at a run check, you will see the pressman actually running between stations on these ultra high speed machines, making adjustments. This is because on these machines the paper consumption is so fast, that any errors cause great waste of paper. Paper is usually about half the cost of the job, so waste is crucial.
  • There are two basic types of the web printing presses:

    The Heat-set and Cold-set. The main difference is that the Heat-set web has heaters which dry the ink, thus allowing it to run coated stocks (gloss book, dull book, etc.) The Cold-set webs can only run offset-un coated stocks and newsprint. The secondary consideration between using a Heat-set or a Cold-set web is the line-screen. The Heat-set webs tend to be newer and therefore having a higher line-screen (133-175) and the Cold-set, having anywhere from 85-150 line-screen, with larger dots and less detail.

  • Printing Samples - Click To Expand

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  • The next difference in the web style is size. Here, once again, size matters. The smallest rotary machine is the label web and these are only several inches wide. Forms presses and the "Didde" is the next step up as both generally run a 4 page configuration. These are also referred to as "quarter webs". Then there is the "Half Web ", which somehow manages to not only run the 1/2 form of the 8 page signature, but also is built to run a 12 page signature. This then brings us to the "Full Web", which is built to run a 16 page signature, as well as the newer full webs that can run "double sixteen's", thereby running 32 page signatures.

  • May our printing press company be of service to you? We welcome hearing from you.
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