Sheetfed offset printing
Sheetfed offset printing presses are the most cost-effective, particularly for large runs. It’s also ideal when you need large quantities and/or flexible colour, paper and sizing options.
With sheetfed offset printing, sheets of paper are fed into the printing press to be printed on. Some sheetfed presses contain what’s called a “perfector cylinder” and this enables the pressman to flip the sheet of paper so both sides can be printed on in one pass.
Sheetfed presses can print from 4,000 to 18,000 sheets per hour. The printed products it produces are enormous and cover most items printed, with the exception of certain types of packaging and long runs of magazine publications.
Presses can be grouped into three size ranges. The first is described as “small offset” and prints on paper up to 14-x-17 inches. Many instant printers and small local printers use these presses, and the products produced consist of business cards, stationery, flyers, and short-run business forms.
The second category includes presses that print on paper up to 25-x-38 inches. Most print two or more colors and are used by medium to large commercial printers for printing brochures and medium runs (5,000-20,000) of general color work.
The last category is the largest sheetfed press and is capable of printing on paper up to 49-x-74 inches or larger. These presses are often used for long runs (up to 100,000) of color work.
Sheetfed offset printing is capable of producing high-quality printed products on a range of light and heavy-weight stocks. Color variation is a common problem and is often caused by fluctuations in the ink and water balance. Sheet-to-sheet registration and overall image quality is usually superior to web offset printing. Modern sheetfed presses have sophisticated electronic controls for adjusting color and register. This technology will often shorten set-up time (makeready) and reduce printed waste, and, in a competitive market, the result is an economical product.