The trend of modern printing - digital printing

Digitization is the greatest scientific and technological revolution of the 20th century. It has changed the fate of humankind. Every thing in our lives will be upgraded one level after digitization. Digitization means flexibility, high quality, high efficiency, low price, etc. It will become an inevitable trend of modern printing.

I. The concept of digital printing and its origin

There is no final definition of the concept of digital printing so far, there are two main points of view: one is the view of the computer industry, and the other is the view of the printing industry. In the computer industry, the technical process that people use to output data to paper is called digital printing, whether it is black and white or color. Therefore, people also refer to digital printers in this sense as printers. In the printing industry, people image the data directly on a platen roller in the press, and the direct printing technology is called digital printing. Color digital printing, as the name suggests, is a multi-color printing process in a printing process. This kind of technology also has the information transmission without printing plate, namely non-contact printing (Nonimpact-printing), such as ink-jet printing and printing with printing plate.

The printing industry is an information industry whose main task is text and graphic information. Its main task is to obtain and process graphic information and convert it into (color/black and white) hard copies at high speed. If we proceed from this definition, the existence of printing plates will no longer be a disagreement. No version is actually another very important feature of digital printing that distinguishes it from traditional printing. It is because any two adjacent printing products of unprinted digital printing can be different, that is, so-called variable information printing can be realized, which is completely impossible for traditional printing; it is also because of the printed matter produced by digital printing without printing. The cost of plate making is no longer included. The price of the printed matter is basically not related to the number of prints. The unit price for printing one and one hundred sheets, one thousand sheets, and ten thousand sheets is basically the same, while the traditional printing has a plate making The cost, the number of prints and the cost are closely related. Due to these characteristics, digital printing is considered as a kind of personalized printing service that can provide information, that is, what customers need to print, where they are used, where they are printing, and when they need to print. This is the basic concept of on-demand printing that is often said today.

At the 1991 PRINT exhibition in Chicago, USA, Heidelberg introduced GTO-DI, the world's first color digital printer, thus opening the curtain of the era of color digital printing.

At the IPEX93 exhibition in Birmingham, United Kingdom, two years later, Indigo and Agfa Jihua launched two new color digital printers, the E-Print1000 and Chromapress, which are refreshing. However, both machines were delivered to the market in 1994. The maximum print sizes of the above three color digital printers are A3 specifications.

Second, the advantages and problems of digital printing

The advantages of digital printing are reflected in its unrivalled excellent production process flow. From computer to print, it is a downright, 100% digital process that enables the direct conversion of digital pages to printed materials without any intermediate links. Are saved. Some people may ask, is there no printing plate can be counted, because the word "print" in the word "printing" refers to the printing plate. Perhaps this problem can only be solved by defining the printing again.

In the printing process, a large amount of texts are processed. Now, the authors can write directly on the computer. After the articles are written, they can be modified and edited at any time. After the change, you can either submit the article on the floppy disk to the editor-in-chief or send it to the editorial department via the Internet via e-mail. The editorial department arranged the articles with a desktop publishing system and sent them for printing. For the pictures used in the printing and the graphics to be drawn, computer-aided drawing software can now be used efficiently and accurately. For the photos to be used in printing, the scanner can be used to input the photos into the computer. At this time, the color photos become computer data. The image processing software (most famous is Adobe Photoshop software) can After reprocessing, various deficiencies in the photograph, such as underexposure, overexposure, color cast, blemishes, blur, etc., can be improved by reprocessing, and the hue, contrast, and brightness of the photograph can be easily adjusted. The use of image processing software can also make a still image appear motiony. It is possible to spliced ​​different photos into a single image without any flaws.

In order to obtain photos, traditional photography techniques can no longer be used. The digital camera dispenses with the flushing process and the photographer can enter the computer at the moment the shutter button is pressed to continue the next process.

Traditional color separation uses red, green, and blue color filters. When using a computer, the computer first calculates the CMYK color separation data, and then outputs four color films. Therefore, the color separation data can be adjusted according to various factors such as the brand of the ink, the dot enlargement rate, the length of the black tone, and the like, so as to adapt to various needs.

Although digital printing has many advantages, its popularity still has some serious obstacles. Here we quoted Hans Peetz Larsen, president of the Heidelberg USA branch, in a speech last December. In particular, he mentioned the ability of digital presses that people are generally concerned to change images on a page by page basis. He said: "There are no digital printing cutting-edge technologies in the market that allow each page to have different characteristics." He added: "We do not have the necessary bandwidth, storage and processing capabilities at all." Peetz-Larsen said, "Even if we overcome these technical barriers, the personalized printing market has not yet been developed, at least compared with the high-quality color printing requirements of over 250 pages." As far as China's situation is concerned, the core technology of digital presses is digital high-speed color hard copy technology. In this field, we basically have no industrial foundation and are still dominated by foreign manufacturers. In fact, the situation is basically the same in other applications of hard copy technology, such as copiers, fax machines, laser printers, color inkjet printers, and so on. Although it is not impossible for us to start from scratch in this field, it is also a difficult one. Perhaps we can only adopt the development path of introduction, absorption, digestion, and innovation.

Although digital printing still has some flaws, it still has its strong advantages. Shows broad prospects.

Third, digital printing is a kind of printing mode that has just emerged in the early 1990s. It has only 10 years of development history. This technology was considered to be replacing light printing in the early days of its existence, becoming a major printing method for the short-run printing market, with the best number of impressions ranging from one to hundreds (or thousands). This view mainly focuses on the cost advantages of digital printing at low print counts. Undoubtedly, digital printing does have an advantage in this respect. However, if digital printing is only positioned in the short-run printing market, it can be said with certainty that there is a little overkill. The personalized on-demand service of information should be said to be the greatest strength of digital printing, which is beyond the reach of traditional printing. If digital printing technology and network technology are combined, this advantage will be further reflected, opening up a brand new printing market and providing on-demand services for graphic and text information.

Digital printing has developed the fastest in the United States, Europe has been slow for a year or two, and Asia (including Japan) has been slower. Its development in the United States depends mainly on the economic background, social concepts, and habits of the United States. Specifically, the economic development of the United States has been relatively smooth over the past few years, bringing with it the prosperity and prosperity of the printing industry. The Americans' habit of seeking new ideas, seeking beauty, and seeking quickness has stimulated the surge in short-run color printing tasks and has fostered growth. "Demand printing" and "individual printing" requirements, so "digital printing" in this kind of climate, environment and soil thrive.

Digital printing is still only at the initial stage in China, and it needs to be supported and perfected in terms of technology. It needs to be changed in market concepts and habits. If the majority of people in and outside the industry are still stuck in this view: they do not require time or even not to request delivery on a daily basis; they only require no errors in their prints, and there are no major deviations in color; they also count on printing on color prints. The number is appropriate, but there is no requirement for “individualization”; the vision of the printing company has not yet crossed national borders, etc. Digital printing will not have great development for the time being.

The needs of the market and the development of technology complement each other. Demand stimulates technology, and technology promotes demand. Digital printing is no exception. It can be expected that Shanghai should be a fast-growing city for digital printing because she will be a key city for development in China's finance, trade, economy, transportation, and telecommunications, as well as a large number of foreign-funded enterprises and foreign workers (including Overseas students returning from their studies concentrated their overseas concepts and their influence will have an impact on transforming ideas in the printing market. Digital printing in Shanghai, and even major cities like Beijing and Guangzhou are likely to take place within the next three to five years. Busy.

In recent years, the wave of digital printing technology has begun to sweep across the Chinese mainland, and the landing speed of direct plate-making technology has far exceeded our imagination. The advanced nature of these technologies is not limited to these technologies. If they are developed in conjunction with other peripheral technologies, they will be doubled. Similarly, the comprehensive application of these technologies also requires supporting environmental conditions. If there is no supporting environment, it is difficult to imagine that these technologies can fully play their role and advantages. However, it is certain that the potential enormous economic benefits and social benefits of direct plate-making and digital printing will sooner or later promote their comprehensive promotion and application in China, and will open up a huge market.