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Proceedings Paper

Digital multicolor printing: state of the art and future challenges
Author(s): Helmut Kipphan
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Paper Abstract

During the last 5 years, digital techniques have become extremely important in the graphic arts industry. All sections in the production flow for producing multicolor printed products - prepress, printing and postpress - are influenced by digitalization, in an evolutionary and revolutionary way. New equipment and network techniques bring all the sections closer together. The focus is put on high-quality multicolor printing, together with high productivity. Conventional offset printing technology is compared with the leading nonimpact printing technologies. Computer to press is contrasted with computer to print techniques. The newest available digital multicolor presses are described - the direct imaging offset printing press from HEIDELBERG with new laser imaging technique as well as the INDIGO and XEIKON presses based on electrophotography. Regarding technical specifications, economic calculations and print quality, it is worked out that each technique has its own market segments. An outlook is given for future computer to press techniques and the potential of nonimpact printing technologies for advanced high-speed multicolor computer to print equipment. Synergy effects from the NIP-technologies to the conventional printing technologies and vice versa are possible for building up innovative new products, for example hybrid printing systems. It is also shown that there is potential for improving the print quality, based on special screening algorithms, and a higher number of grey levels per pixel by using NIP-technologies. As an intermediate step in digitalization of the production flow, but also as an economical solution computer to plate equipment is described. By producing printed products totally in a digital way, digital color proofing as well as color management systems are needed. The newest high-tech equipment using NIP-technologies for producing proofs is explained. All in all it is shown that the state of the art in digital multicolor printing has reached a very high level in technology, productivity and quality, but that there is still space for improvements and innovations. Manufacturers of equipment and producers of printed products can take part in a successful evolution-changes, chances and challenges must be recognized and considered for future orientated activities and investments.

Paper Details

Date Published: 27 April 1995
PDF: 25 pages
Proc. SPIE 2413, Color Hard Copy and Graphic Arts IV, (27 April 1995); doi: 10.1117/12.207572
Show Author Affiliations
Helmut Kipphan, Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG (Germany)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 2413:
Color Hard Copy and Graphic Arts IV
Jan Bares, Editor(s)

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