Over the past several years, the number of jobs printed on digital presses versus offset presses have increased significantly. For many years, offset had the overwhelming majority share of the printing market, with digital a distant 2nd place. But by 2012, things have essentially reversed, with digital having top market share. There will always be jobs that are better suited to offset, such as very long runs, but many others are better suited to digital. There are 3 reasons for the giant shift in market share, and they also happen to be why you may want to print your next job on a digital press.
In terms of time to production, nothing is faster than a digital press. With just a few clicks, the press engine is running. There is no need to create a plate or plates, or to install them. Just load the correct paper or other media into the machine and the digital press is ready. A digital press can run 24/7 as long as you keep it properly serviced and full of paper, toner and other consumables. (We actually start some jobs as we leave for the night!) So, if you have the need to get your job started right away, digital is the clear choice. Today’s digital presses can also handle many jobs from start to finish. This means there is no need, for example, to take a job from production to bindery, because everything is handled by one machine. Whether it is folding; saddle stitching; coil and comb binding; perfect binding; trimming or cutting — there is very little human involvement required.
2. High Quality
The quality of jobs that can be created by digital presses has increased considerably in recent years. Advances in toner technology, digital color management and registration capability (the ability to print on each sheet in the identical location as the next) have helped a lot. These days most eyes cannot tell the difference between a high quality digital run and a job run on an offset press.
3. No minimums
Perhaps the top reason digital has become so popular is because it has opened up high-quality printing to small and medium sized businesses that print in lower quantities. You don’t have to order thousands upon thousands of prints. And, if you really needed to, you could print just a few postcards, business cards, flyers, pamphlets, brochures — you name it — on digital. Of course the more you buy the less you pay, so there are decisions to make about quantity. The point is, very small runs are possible on digital. The cost including time and labor of creating a small batch on offset makes it nearly impossible.
So now that you know why digital has become so popular, are you surprised to learn that our shop went 100% digital in 2010?