What is web offset printing
The web press is the granddaddy of printing presses. They are the ones often shown on television grinding out newspapers. When the editors of large metropolitan dailies on old television shows shouted, "Stop the presses!" These are the presses they were talking about. Newspaper web presses can occupy several floors of large press buildings.
Web presses print on large rolls of paper (or some other media, referred to as "webs."). They are designed for large volume printing, usually for newspaper or magazine publication. The web press is usually directly connected to the machines that cut and fold the output, so that a finished publication arrives at the output end. Large-scale web presses have separate sections for each color that are printed sequentially from color separated images, resulting in full color output.
Moveable type and metallic typeface:
The original web presses used movable type. Typesetters would slide rows of typeface made of lead or soft metals into racks that were mounted in the printer. Later typesetting machines replaced hand type racks. The operator would use a keyboard that would create the metallic typeface in real-time as they typed in the copy. Whole pages of metallic type were created at a time.
Web offset printing:
Modern web presses have replaced typeset racks with a computer-to-plate system. The pages of type are created in publication software then reproduced on metallic plates. The inked image is transferred onto a rubberized blanket which is then rolled across the print medium moving past it.
The system is based on the repulsion of oil and water. The chemistry of the original plate is such that the non-printed area attracts a film that repels the ink. Ink will only adhere to the areas to be printed. Modern four-color presses use four color-separated images what run through four different colored inks to make the final image.
Offset web printers are the fastest way of reproducing large volumes and oversized copy.
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