Guide To Digital Printing 101

Your Guide to Digital Printing 101Whether you are starting out in the world of wide format printing or have years of experience, its always beneficial to review a few tips to help maintain optimal quality output. There are many factors that can influence the way printers, ink and media work together. The following can play a role in the final outcome of a digitally printed product.

Environment

The space where the printer(s) is located should be a clean and a controlled environment. Temperature and humidity should be monitored and the space should be well-ventilated. How well the room is ventilated will depend on the type of digital printer that’s being used. Keep shop wipes and lint-free wipes handy as well as abrasive-free gloves for handling prints.

Recommended relative humidity: 40-60%

Recommended temperature: 70-75 degrees (f)

Additional notes:

Dirt and dust control: Using air-filtration systems can help keep airborne particulate to a minimum. Cleanroom Sticky Mats, when placed in the entrance of the print room, can help reduce dirt from foot traffic.

Static Control: Printers, carpets, and rugs generate static. Controlling static is important because it can attract dirt and dust towards the print and interfere with ink lay-down. There are a variety of static control products that can help dissipate static buildup. Anti-static strips, aerosol coatings, and flooring are a few examples.

Digital Print Media Selection

Selecting the correct print media for the intended application, printer, and ink type is key to producing optimal results. Most print media manufacturers provide print media selection guides to help assist with this. Start with the application and be sure to know the intended longevity and durability of the graphic.

The list below is an example of the different types of digital print media available:

  • Wrap Vinyl
    • Inkjet Wrap Vinyl – Cast
    • Inkjet Wrap Vinyl – Calendered
  • Permanent Inkjet Vinyl
    • Air Egress – Permanent Inkjet Vinyl
    • High Tack – Permanent Inkjet Vinyl
    • Economy – Permanent Inkjet Vinyl
  • Removable Inkjet Vinyl
    • Air Egress – Removable Inkjet Vinyl
    • Economy – Removable Inkjet Vinyl
  • Perforated Window Film
    • Adhesive Backed – Perforated Window Films
    • Non-Adhesive – Perforated Window Films
  • Window Film / Cling
    • Adhesive Backed – Window Film
    • Air Egress (Dry Install) – Window Film
    • Cling – Window Film
  • Translucent / Backlit Media
    • Paper-Based
    • Polyester Film
    • Vinyl
  • Wall Graphic Media
    • Type Ii Wallcovering
    • Adhesive Backed Wall Graphic Media
    • Non-Adhesive
  • Floor Graphic Vinyl
    • Adhesive Backed
    • Non-Adhesive
  • Banner Material
    • Polyethylene
    • Polypropylene
    • Single Sided Vinyl
    • Double Sided Vinyl
  • Fabric
  • Paper-Based Media

Media Profiles

Choosing the correct media profiles is another important factor to maintaining optimal print results. Profiles can include heat settings, ink saturation, linearization, iCC profiles, and ink restrictions. Controlling these profiles can help reduce unnecessary ink usage and improve production time and reduce costs. Print media manufacturers should provide profiles available to download and import into your RIP software. Sometimes it may be necessary to create your own profiles. It this is the case, select the profile of a similar media and test the results.

Printer Maintenance

Refer to your printer manual for maintenance procedures. Perform the recommended maintenance tasks such as calibration, print head cleaning and other mechanical parts cleaning.

For additional information or to add your input, leave a comment below.