OFFSET PRINTING OF PACKAGING: 4 KEY TRENDS FOR THE DEVELOPMENT OF TECHNOLOGY FROM THE LAST YEAR
Offset printing is the most widely used method for printing cardboard packaging. It is popular because of the savings it offers, its speed and its excellent print quality. It is characterized by bright colours and extremely clear and detailed images. The technology has established itself as particularly preferred in the last few years. Offset printing is the best choice in cases where bigger quantities are needed and price optimization is sought. The resulting images are spectacular, with a high speed of print run and with minimal costs, which makes the technology extremely popular. In order to become an effective means of attracting attention among consumers, offset printing had no choice but to comply with the current changes in their demand and mood. Here we will summarize four of the key offset printing trends that have become dominant over the past two years.
Variety is increasingly valued
The modern consumer pays more and more importance to the packaging – the more non-standard and colourful it is, the more attractive it is to them. Customers are looking for customized packaging printing solutions for each of their promotional campaigns, seasons and more. This also fully applies to all other printed products.
Printing speed is key
Offset printing is becoming more and more popular precisely because of the short response time that characterizes the technology. In order for the products to reach the store as quickly as possible, respectively the end customer, offset printing can offer the ideal solution. More and more often we have to fulfil small and medium orders in limited time.
Quality requirements are also increasing
Until some time ago, many of those wishing to obtain high quality when printing the final product had to limit themselves in the choice of technology. Offset printing has managed to reach a high technological level that doesn’t compromise on quality at the expense of speed. Modern offset presses use aluminium plates instead of films. They are characterized by significantly higher quality and speed of the printing.
Sustainability and nature conservation are becoming a leading factor
Offset printing technology and its consumables have significant environmental benefits. As environmental stewardship becomes increasingly important, it is a factor of leading importance for many vendors and consumers today. UV printing and coating achieves a thick layer that is bright and durable, while also being more environmentally friendly.
What else is distinctive about offset printing?
As a type of printing, offset is not a direct printing method and refers to the surface printing method. With it, the ink is applied to the surface of media such as paper, cardboard, etc. In this way, it differs from rotogravure, because during the latter the ink is placed in an engraved image of the corresponding medium. The transferring of the image to the paper goes through the following stages:
1. Application on a printing form
The transfer of the image is done first on a cylinder wrapped in a rubber canvas. The printing forms are made of an aluminium-zinc alloy, which has a light-sensitive surface layer. The design to be printed is placed on a plate. It transforms a combination of the four primary ink colours (CMYK) – that is, cyan, magenta, yellow and black ink, onto the printed paper. In addition, Pantone colours can also be used. Offset printing uses a plate for each of the four colours. The object to be printed is pressed against the plate and then exposed to ultraviolet light. After development, the non-printable elements are removed from the plate and it is ready.
2. Transfer on a rubber cylinder
Next, the plate is placed on the cylinder of the printing press, and it interacts with the inking and moistening rollers.
3. Printing on the paper
After the ink is transferred on the rubber cylinder, it prints the image on the paper by pressure. The process makes it possible to print on different materials such as paper and cardboard, which have different absorbency, parameters and surface microgeometry. The technology is based on inks that use the different surface tension in the individual areas of the plate. Some of them attract the ink and then a colour is printed, while the rest do not. In more modern offset printing the image is transferred directly from an electronic file. The way the paper is fed into the printing machine depends on whether the offset printing will be sheet-fed or web.
Distinctive features of the sheet-fed and web offset printing
Sheet-fed offset printing
This type of printing provides extremely detailed print quality. The paper can be pre-cut into sheets or this can be done afterwards. Sheet-fed offset printing machines are divided into full format, halves and quarters.
Web offset printing
The paper here goes in on rolls. It allows both gold and silver colour or metallic effect colour images, as well as holographic elements, to be printed. The machines are equipped with high turnover and automated finishing processes such as folding, setting and packaging. Right Pack Printing House has full-format six-colour machines and a 50/70 cm format machine. This allows it to meet all customer needs. Offset printing at Right Pack is used not only for cardboard packages, but also for flexible packaging, corrugated cardboard packages, luxury boxes and ECO packaging. With the help of technology such as offset printing, the printing house creates innovative and quality packaging to serve the specific needs of industries such as cosmetics, food industry, pharmaceutical industry, cigarette industry, etc.