These days, meeting the customer’s printing needs is easier than ever before. That’s mainly because there are so many options from which to choose. Two of the most popular options are flexographic printing and lithographic printing.
Depending upon the needs of your unique project, either of these processes might be the right one for you. Making the decision can be tricky until you’re more familiar with lithographic printing vs flexographic printing. Once you understand more about each process, you’ll be able to identify the one that will most benefit your project.
This printing style can be used for a wide array of projects. Here are just a few of the finished items that can be made with this process:
-Food service paper
Flexography is remarkably versatile. This is mainly because of the process itself, which involves flexible printing plates that are made of a photopolymer. These plates are wrapped around a rotating cylinder that is affixed to a web press. Capable of rotating at high speeds, these cylinders apply the inked image onto a varied assortment of materials.
Generally, the material, or substrate, on which flexography is done comes on a roll. This enables incredibly fast production with a minimum of interruptions.
If you need a large print job in a hurry, then flexography may be the answer for you. However, it’s helpful to be aware that creating the plates may be an expensive process. When properly cared for, these plates can last an incredibly long time, so you’ll definitely get your money’s worth.
Lithography was first developed in the late 18th century. Many famous artists made use of it, perhaps the most well-known being Currier and Ives.
Lithography as it is most frequently practiced today also may be called offset printing. Patented in 1853, the process has undergone some important updates since that era. These improvements mean that many books, magazines, labels, packaging and newspapers are printed via this process.
Nonetheless, many of the underlying principles remain unchanged from the 18th century. It’s all based upon the fact that oil and water don’t mix. The image was treated with grease to which ink was applied. The ink sticks to the areas treated by grease, but does not adhere to the other parts of the plate that hold moisture. These areas actually repel the ink so that a crisp image can be produced on paper or another print medium.
Modern lithography involves transferring an ink image from a plate to what is essentially a rubber blanket. From the rubber blanket, the image is transferred to the paper or other media upon which the finished design will appear. This is actually where the alternative name “offset” printing comes from because the ink image does not actually touch the print medium.
For many customers, lithography is an economical choice. It may be especially beneficial for customers who need finished items such as:
Lithographic Printing vs Flexographic Printing
Both of these printing processes offer numerous advantages to the customer. If you need a big job in a hurry or need a large quantity of a repeating pattern, then flexography may be the right choice for you.
However, if you’re looking for a more economical choice and your project involves a great deal of written text, then lithography is the traditional method that may work best for you.
If you’re still on the fence, then it can’t hurt to ask a professional for more information. With a bit of guidance, you’ll be able to make an informed and sensible decision that meets all of your needs.