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Do you know how many printing processes there are?

Louise Manser Louise Manser - 05 June 2019

Printing has been a service of Rotary Printers Ltd, since 1970. There are a variety of printing processes, our specialties being that of litho and digital.

Here we take a look through the 5 main industrial printing processes…


Offset printing, also known as offset lithography works by transferring an image on an aluminium plate onto paper. The plate contains the desired image and is then inked, only the areas with the image then hold the ink as it is transferred on to a rubber blanket and then on to the printing surface. This process was originally designed for flat surface designs however nowadays it is most widely used for products like books, newspapers and stationery.


Flexography printing works very similar to offset printing as the content is printed on a relief of a printing plate and then subsequently transferred on to the surface. This process is used for printing on plastic, metal and cellophane.

Digital Printing-

Within digital printing is two further subcategories which are inkjet and xerography printing.


Inkjet prints work by using small print head nozzles which project ink in small droplets on the desired surface. Inkjet is used a lot for posters and signage and is economical for short-run publications such as photo books. If the inkjet printer is inline then it can be combined with various other types of presses to print variable data such as mailing addresses.


Xerographic printers are much more complicated and work by passing an electrical current through a drum which then attracts toner particles to the material it is being transferred to. Following this, the substrate then passes through a fuser to ensure the particles are stuck properly to the medium. These types of printers are known as laser printers and are used across offices, and also for small book runs, brochures and documents.


This process may also be referred to as rotogravure printing and is a technique where the image is engraved into a printing cylinder and the inked. The cylinder is then rolled over the surface and transferred on to the medium. This process is used for much higher volume jobs such as newspapers, magazines and packaging.

Screen Printing-

This printing process relies on a screen which is a woven piece of fabric, certain areas of this mesh are coated with a non-permeable material and then the remaining open spaces of ink is pushed through the mesh on to the surface. This process is not used for large runs and most commonly used for printing on paper, textiles, ceramics and wood.

For further information on which process is the best for your marketing, get in touch.