Archive for November, 2014

If You Print In Bulk, What Printing Inspection Procedures Do You Have In Place?

Many bulk printers use printing processes that involve placing the printing inks onto something that they call a web. The technique is known as web offset printing whereby an inked image is offset (i.e. transferred) from a plate to a rubber blanket before reaching the surface on which it is to be printed.

Quality Control And Assurance For Such Printing Processes

QC & QA procedures are essential in just about all industries and recorded quality manuals are prepared to ensure both repeatability in production processes and an element of traceability that can be useful in the event of something going wrong. It could be easy to believe that, once the origination material has been prepared, checked and a proof or sample has been printed, all other printings will be identical and nothing could possibly go wrong.

This theory is not borne out in reality. In web offset printing the inks have to be correctly placed on a web material that is passing through the printing press at high speed. The producer of the web to be printed on should have checked their material before it was coiled into a large roll to be unrolled as it is fed into the printing press but, mistakes can happen. Maybe only a small tear in the material or possibly a largish blemish on its surface – things like this will ruin the printed output from the press. Another printing problem could occur if the web flow becomes slightly out of line on its path through the press; this will cause the print to be skewed on the output.

Faults and flaws in the web can result in a lot of rejected copies and much wastage of the web material. Therefore, any worthwhile printing inspection system has to be constantly monitoring the condition of the web as it is passing through the printing press. This could even be more important than methods that inspect the printed output itself.

Computers, Cameras And Technology

Currently, state of the art web offset printing inspection relies on an integrated system of computer controlled cameras within the press that will instantly see any problem with the web. The computer software will then make decisions on whether to warn the operators or totally shut down the printing process. If necessary, similar printing inspection technology can be used to ensure the accuracy of what is being printed.

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