Offset Printing Vs. Digital Printing


Offset printing on cans

Traditional technology

Offset printing technology uses plate cylinders, which transfer different coloured images onto a rubber "blanket" cylinder. The complete multi-coloured image is then rolled onto a surface of a can. It's called offset because the ink is not transferred directly onto the target surface.

  • Large quantities can be printed cost effectively
  • The more you print, the cheaper the price per piece
  • It provides the highest possible printing quality, with great detail and color fidelity
  • Long switch-over time between different images, making it very costly for small batch printing
  • The equipment is costly and complex
  • Pre-processing is required to provide a combination of colors

Digital printing on cans

A new way of doing things

Digital printing doesn't use plates as offset printing does, but instead sends precisely positioned drops of liquid ink on a rotating container surface. The ink-jet technology isn't something very new but its application to cylindrical packaging is just arriving to the industry and revolutionizing it.

  • Setup costs are lower for short runs
  • Print only the amount you need, when you need it
  • Lower minimum quantities (as low as 1, 20 or 50 pieces)
  • Variable data capability (names, addresses, codes or numbering can be done easily)
  • Improved technology has made digital quality practically on par with offset printing
Even though offset printing is a great way to produce nice-looking prints, for projects which do not need runs of large batches, the best solution is digital printing.