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What happens in the printing process?
We’ve met all of the pieces: the plates, the paper, the ink, and the cylinders. The press has been cleaned and calibrated, and the plates have been installed. Now it’s time to see a 4-color sheet-fed offset press in action printing 8 pages of a real project! Each parent sheet zips through and is printed with four colors of ink all in a row, coming out the other end fully printed.
As you can see, this part of the printing process happens very quickly — but don’t worry, quality assurance is still in place during this step. Most printing facilities will have a Quality Assurance department responsible for inspecting all printed parent sheets during the press run, monitoring the final product for defects, and flagging any issues early on in order to deter waste. The quality control team follows the standards set by the printing facility, who ultimately decides the quality the product is required to meet. These Quality Assurance experts will sign off on color, bindery, and press runs by testing your product at random during different steps of the process.
Watch parent sheets go from blank to fully printed in a matter of seconds in the video below:
Digital-Offset Presses require all the same basic components: Plates, Paper, Ink, and Cylinders. The process is where things vary between digital-offset and traditional offset. Our HP Indigo 7K uses lasers with varying levels of positive charges to create images on something called the Printing Imaging Plate. When that Printing Imaging Plate or PIP spins, it comes into contact with negatively charged ink. The ink is then attracted to the PIP. The ink on the PIP is then transferred to a heated blanket and that ink is then applied to transfer paper. The transfer paper applies the ink/image to your printing paper.