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<ul><li>The commercial printing industry is one of the largest in the United States, and it can make over $100 billion dollars each year.
That revenue comes from the business that 35,000 different commercial printing companies conduct. </li></ul>With that many companies you can have your pick of vendors. However, with all of that competition you want to be sure that you make an educated decision when it comes to your companies printing needs.<br />
What is Commercial Printing?<br /><ul><li>It is technically defined as ‘the process of taking art work and transferring that work onto an alternative surface in bulk’.</li></ul>It is designed to complete high volume orders with a short period of time.<br />
How did Commercial Printing start?<br /><ul><li>It was the discovery of the printing press that was discovered an amazing technological advance.
From that point on the need for commercial printing evolved, and today it is commonplace for companies to utilizes commercial print products as a resource for advertising, training materials, and general employee supplies. </li></li></ul><li>Offset Printing and Commercial Lithographic Printing<br /><ul><li>Offset printing can be counted on to produce top quality images consistently as well as being one of the most affordable methods of producing top quality commercial print images.
Commercial Lithographic Printing is used to produce multitudes of products like books, newspapers and posters while being the most cost effective method for very large orders.</li></li></ul><li>Offset Printing<br />When it comes to commercial printing one of the most commonly heard phrases is offset printing.<br />It is a technique that has been developed to take the desired image from the printing plate, to a rubber surface, and finally to the desired surface. Often you will find that offset printing is combined with a lithographic process to use rollers to mass produce images.<br />
Roots of Offset Printing<br /><ul><li>Offset printing was developed in 1875 in England by Robert Barclay.
The original device was a rotary lithographic printing press that utilized the offset technique.
He had taken the printing technology of the day and had combined it with a rotary printing press.
When those two things were combined it resulted in a printing press that utilized a cylinder rather than a traditional flat printing plate or stone.
That cylinder was covered first in cardboard, but as the years passed it was quickly adjusted to a rubber coating, much like a large scale rubber stamp.
Today, rubber is still used as the cylinder covering in offset printing presses.</li></li></ul><li>Advantages and Disadvantages of Offset Printing<br />
Types of Offset Printing Presses<br /> There are different types of printing presses to choose from and understanding these devices is very important so that you can ensure that you are choosing a commercial printing vendor who has the right press available to suit your needs.<br />
Commercial Lithographic Printing<br /><ul><li> Lithography is actually a printing method that was developed in the late 1700's by AloisSenefelder in Bohemia.
It began as a way to create an affordable printing method.
When it was first attempted the lithographic printers would use an image, placed in wax, to apply to a stone. Limestone was traditionally used as the stone which explains where the name lithographic came from.
From there the stone with the image on it was place into a solution of water and gum arabic.
From there the stone was used to transfer the image via ink to the desired surface.</li></li></ul><li>Commercial Lithographic Printing Today<br /><ul><li>Today, instead of wax lithographic printers rely on special polymers to capture the desired image.
Additionally instead of placing that image on a stone it is placed onto an aluminum plate. This plate is really quite flexible which allows you to get the image printed onto the surface of your choice.
Once the image is placed onto the plate it can be directly printed on the surface or it can be placed onto a separate transfer material, which is quite often rubber.
When the image is transferred to an alternative material it is referred to as offset commercial lithographic printing. </li></li></ul><li>Two Chemical Processes in Commercial Lithographic Printing<br />The point of combining these two processes is that when the aluminum plate interacts with the ink and water the appropriate material will be drawn to the appropriate place. More specifically the ink will be drawn to the intended placement of the image and the water will clean off the excess. In the end you are left with a flat ink print that allows for you to have more detail to your image and a longer lasting print job.<br />
Advances in Commercial Lithographic Printing<br /><ul><li>Specialized Lithographic Printers feature multiple unit presses that allow for the device to print several different colors on one image at one time.
Computerized system allowing users to refine their desired image on a computer prior to submitting it to the lithographic printers.
Digital Image setters allows lithographic printers to create negatives for plates to be made of.</li></li></ul><li>Selecting Your Commercial Printing Option<br /> Think specifically about your print jobs details.<br />Give some thought to the quantity that you are looking at having printed.<br />Think about what your printing timeline is and be sure that your prospective vendor is able to accomplish your timing requirements.<br />Give some thought to what size printing press the vendor has available -- The companies that have larger printing presses available will be able to process larger jobs in a faster period of time.<br /> Be sure that you ask a lot of questions prior to booking your job to be sure that you have the right printing press for your particular job.<br />Do a bit of cost comparison between vendors.<br />Pay attention to professional reputations, technical capabilities, projected timelines, and more than anything ensure that you have a written quote that includes a scheduled timeline to ensure that you get your order processed on your timeline.<br />