If you’ve been looking into printing options lately for a large project, you may have heard
about offset lithography. Offset lithography is one of the most commonly used printing processes today and has a wide variety of uses. But what exactly is offset lithography and what is it most commonly used for?
How does Offset Lithography Work?
The process is pretty simple. First, digital files are broken down by colour separation. Each file is then edged onto an aluminium plate, which is usually done through laser. Each plate is then loaded onto what is called a plate cylinder. The plate cylinder acts as a roller that will dampen the non-image area of each file with water. A vegetable oil based paint solution will then be added successively to the plate to imprint the colour. The plate cylinder will transfer the colour to another cylinder which is equipped with a rubber blanket that will capture the colour and print it directly onto the printing material.
If you’re using paper, each sheet is loaded on a conveyor which passes between the blanket and impression cylinder. Each sheet is separated by a jet of air to make sure that every page gets printed individually. At the end of the line, each sheet will be covered by a thin layer of powder that will allow each page to dry without sticking to each other.
Why do People Use Offset Lithography?
Offset lithography is the method of choice for larger print jobs. A 100,000 copy job won’t cost much more than a 10,000 copy job. Also, offset lithography is said to be much clearer than other methods. As a matter of fact, even if other methods are catching up due to technological advances, offset lithography is still said to offer the clearer results. Offset lithography is also the most versatile of all and allows to print on a larger variety of materials. You can use offset lithography on wood, paper, plastic or even metal. In addition, offset lithography works on different paper weights and sizes as well.
Another advantage of offset lithography is the amount of detail that is given to each step of the printing process. This ensures a much higher colour consistency than other methods.
What is Offset Lithography Used For?
Offset lithography is usually used by people who are looking for highly detailed pictures and rich colours. Offset lithography is often used to print high-quality promotional materials such as branded coasters, mouse mats and product advertisers. It can also be used to print hotel over door hangers, plastic menus and tent cards among other things.
Is Offset Lithography for you?
If you need large quantities to be printed but have a limited budget, offset lithography is definitely the way to go. In addition, the end result is much better and offer much richer colours. So, if you’re looking to have promotional materials written, or even large runs of magazines and books, offset lithography should definitely be at the top of your list.