1.1 Definition and scope of study
Printing can be defined as the action of reproducing characters or images on a medium.
Above all, it is important to distinguish digital printing from offset printing:
- Digital Printing
Digital printing is a reproduction technique that allows documents to be printed directly from computer data. It was officially created in 1993, although the first Macintosh computers in 1984 were already facilitating and expanding access to desktop publishing (DTP) - the creation of digital documents on a desktop which could be then later printed. Unlike offset printing, there are no intermediate steps. The two best-known digital printing processes are inkjet printing - often for large print runs or formats, and laser printing - for small print runs.
- Offset Printing
Offset printing consists of transferring the print directly onto the substrate thanks to an intermediate surface, called a "blanket" (a soft plastic surface). In the 19th century, offset printing gradually replaced lithography : it is an "industrialized" version of it. Offset printing involves several stages of preparation before printing, which is not directly done on paper. There are two offset printing processes: the first being wet (conventional) and the second dry ("waterless").
Offset is recommended for high-volume printing. It is the most used process in professional printing.
Digital printing, which is less used, is faster and therefore more flexible, and its sector has a promising future thanks to the emergence of new technologies (the most notable being 3D printing).
The printing market is facing an increasingly digital world, but despite the fading of the use of paper by the media, many sectors are still linked to physical printing (mainly for reading, advertising, documents). In Brazil, the situation is similar: the market is expected to experience a small but steady decline until 2023. According to data from IDC Brazil, 633,371 printing machines were sold in the first quarter of 2019, 51,665 being simple printers and the other 581,706 multifunction devices, which represents only 1.5% less than in the same period of 2018.
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