Following the recent introduction of cutting edge technology we can now offset print full colour brochures and flyers including colour photo of the individual recipients, on each one, on the fly.
And you can do all this with offset quality.
You can print a full colour multi-page document one page at a time, in the correct page order, ready for binding.
You can run a live press proof, on the correct stock to see exactly how the finished product will look.
You can print say a small run of annual reports (say 10) at minimal unit cost.
The press is called the Indigo and here’s how it works.
The Indigo is a Digital Offset Press and it’s strength is the ability to print subsequent sheets entirely different from the previous sheet and the following sheet.
It’s primarily used for short run colour work and personalised direct mail documents.
Its printing process is based around the ElectroInk technology, which uses small colour particles suspended in Imaging Oil (Isopar) that can be attracted to the sheet or repelled by means of varying voltage.
The ink forms a very thin and smooth plastic layer on the surface of the paper.
These particles are so small that the printed image does not cover the underlying surface of the paper, as is generally the case with laser printers.
This process brings the Indigo print quality closer in appearance to conventional offset lithography, whereby the ink is actually absorbed into the paper.
The suppliers of the Indigo provide the option for users to mix their own ink colours to match Pantone references. This is common with non-digital offset litho presses, and is one of the primary features that separates them from other digital printing devices.
Users can also order special pre-mixed colours, for example fluorescent colours such as pink, orange, green, yellow, red, etc can be printed with great success.
Some Indigo presses can print up to or seven colours in a single pass.
The name Indigo comes from a company founded by Benny Landa in 1977.
His idea was to manufacture photocopiers, however the development of ElectroInk technology lead him to create a Digital Offset Press by replacing the traditional ink with the new technology.
The E-Print 1000 was the result, released in 1993, a plateless digital offset press.
Hewlett Packard, a long-term research & development partner of Indigo, purchased the company in 2002.
Basically there are two versions of the Indigo Press, which can be broadly grouped by commercial (sheet fed, mainly for paper printing), or Industrial (web fed, mainly for packaging).Operators need to be specially trained to run Indigo’s as they are quite different operationally to conventional offset presses.