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Technology review: Digital print and inks

SpecialChem / Apr 20, 2005

As with many terms, 'digital printing' means different things depending on who you talk to. For the purposes of this paper, I will use the terms conventional printing for processes which produce many identical copies and digital printing to refer to equipment which is capable of 'single-impression' printing - that is, it can change part or all of the information it is printing without stopping the print run. Applying this definition, the earliest form of digital printer to achieve any widespread use was the fax machine. (Its principle was demonstrated in a primitive form as early as 1851.) Photocopiers may be analogue or digital - though increasingly they are becoming multi-purpose machines capable of printing from stored images, computer files or faxed messages, and therefore necessarily digital. As the quality, versatility and speed of digital printing systems has improved, they have moved from their specific niche markets to compete with conventional printing whenever short runs are required.

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