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Inkjet PrintingFebruary 21, 2019

3 Things to Know About Small Format Printing

Inkjet Printing
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small format printing

What is Small Format Printing?

Small format printing is the process of printing images directly to multiple small parts in a single print cycle. Small format printing differs from conventional offset printing as it is most often done using a digital inkjet machine that deposits small droplets of ink directly onto a part rather than the use of ink transferring by pad printing plates. The amount of parts printed in a single cycle varies based on inkjet bed size.

What Type of Projects Work Best With Small Format Printing?

Other printing methods may not be suitable for projects, whereas small format printing can really shine. Some of the projects that small format printing benefit include:

  • Short-run projects – While creating a project that results in smaller quantities, small format printing is often the most cost-effective option. Eliminate the cost of plates, set-up time, and color matching that is required when printing on an offset press.
  • Variable data or personalization – Most small format printers offer a variable data feature in which each print can be different than the next without the need for multiple print cycles. Ideal for projects where personalization or data varies throughout the run such as name, price, serial number, or geographic information.
  • Special effects – Some small format machines provide the opportunity to add print effects other printing methods cannot offer. Some effects include printing in white ink (yes, some solvent-based inkjet printers do not offer a white ink option), spot varnish, and coatings.

What to Know About Small Format Printing

When planning a print project for small format printing, there are items to be aware of. Some considerations include:

1. Print Speed

Often print speed and Bed size coincide with the volume of parts to be printed. It is important to evaluate the need for print speed based upon how many pieces are expected to be printed. In addition, print speed is an important factor in how many projects are done in a day. The slower the printer, the longer a project will take to be completed. Therefore, fewer projects will be completed each shift.

2. Print quality

Consider what quality your finished product must meet. While digital machines have come a long way in terms of quality, it varies greatly by machine. Print quality also affects print speed and price of the equipment. All important factors to keep in mind.

3. Bed Size

The bed size of an inkjet printer is key in identifying the appropriate small format printer. What is the size of your parts? How many do you need to print in a single cycle? Bed size in most small format printers will vary greatly.

By making the above considerations, you will help ensure success with your next small format digital printing project and end up the final piece that you wanted. Whether you are looking at small format to save on costs, to print a smaller run, use variable data, or take advantage of some of the special finishes small format printing may be the answer for your next printing project.

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February 14, 2019

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