Heatset printing is the process by which print passes through an oven causing solvents in the ink to evaporate. What's left over are waxes, resins, and pigment. The print then passes over chilling rollers where the waxes and resins cool down and solidify, or set the inks. This process of printing yields a cleaner more upscale product. Coated (Glossy) paper, commonly used in magazines and catalogs, must be set prior to binding in order to avoid smudging, smearing, offsetting, marking, and scuffing during the finishing process. Heatset printing has become increasingly popular as advertisers turn to higher-end supplemental inserts and direct mail campaigns that use coated paper.
UV printing is the method by which inks dry through a photomechanical process. The inks are exposed to ultra-violet lights as they exit the printing units, immediately turning inks from a liquid to a solid with very little evaporation of solvents and almost no absorption of the ink into the paper stock. So you can print on virtually whatever you want when using UV inks! Since they dry immediately on the surface and release no VOC's into the environment, UV printing is considered a green technology, safe for the environment and leaving an almost zero carbon footprint. Because UV inks dry on contact, they never smudge, smear, offset, mark, or scuff.
Coldset offset printing is a process by which the ink dries gradually through evaporation and absorption into the paper. Coldset printing, also referred to as open web printing, is most commonly used on newsprint and other uncoated paper stocks. Since the ink is not set immediately, there is always a little bit of residue that remains on the paper. This is what you sometimes get on your hands if you have been holding a newspaper. Coldset is one of the more economical forms of printing that allows multiple webs to run concurrently while using less expensive uncoated paper and energy to produce the finished product.
Sheetfed printing is a method in which individual cut sheets of paper are fed into the offset press, unlike web offset printing, which utilizes a continuous roll fed stream of paper that prints both sides of the substrate simultaneously, sheetfed presses typically print one side of the cut sheet at a time that must be left to dry before turning over to print the back side. Sheetfed presses come in many configurations and perfecting sheetfed presses are designed to print both sides in a single pass. The advantage of Sheetfed presses is evident in the ability to run low waste when compared to roll-fed web offset presses. Sheet-fed is the most common form of printing used today.
Digital printing is the process of printing digital-based images directly onto a variety of media substrates. There is no need for a printing plate, unlike with offset printing. Digital files such as PDFs or desktop publishing files can be sent directly to the digital printing press to print on paper, photo paper, canvas, fabric, synthetics, cardstock and other substrates. .If you’re looking to print in the hundreds or even a couple thousand, the setup cost of offset printing might not seem justified. With digital printing, you can print in multiple small batches and not worry about big setup costs. Plateless digital printing makes possible multi-product, low-volume printing, faster and less expensive than traditional offset printing.