Litho printing remains the best quality for putting ink on paper. As a litho printer in London, we’re proud to operate Heidelberg printing presses up to B1 size and at over 13,000 sheets per hour. When it comes to Lithoprinting services nearby, it’s hard to beat our speed and efficiency.
But we’re not all about size and volume – it’s flexibility that counts too. And that’s why we have a range of presses that cater for every custom lithograph print job needed, from business cards to books, and corporate brochures to printed catalogues.
When PrintHouse was founded in 1990 commercial lithographic printing ran at a slower pace. But nowadays we thrive on answering your challenge, where can I find fast “litho printers near me”? We are ready and waiting to turn your lithographic printing around in record time. Because we are a litho printer in London – ready and willing to serve!
Litho versus digital printing
Nowadays there are really two principle methods of printing – litho (or lithographic) and digital printing. Although the final printed product may look very similar, being almost impossible for the average person to separate, they do in fact use completely different technology to place the ink on paper.
You can go here to find out about how digital printing works, but first, let’s explore offset litho printing in a little more detail.
Offset lithography printing
The great advantage of offset litho printing is that the quality is hard to beat. It has been around since the late 1700s (although the actual print equipment bears little resemblance nowadays) and the print output is superb. That quality output means that offset lithography is favoured for producing fine art printing of all types. Plus, litho benefits from being more cost-effective for higher quantity printing too.
The offset lithography process
The clue to how offset litho printing works lies in part of the name – ‘offset’. The actual offsetting print process involves plates being made with the required image etched onto the plate. Nowadays this is achieved through a CTP (or Computer-to-Plate) system. Each plate is itself consists of a metal, usually aluminium, sheet. With full colour (also known as process colour or CMYK) printing, there will be four plates made – one dedicated to each colour required.
Offset litho printing
A sheet-fed commercial offset litho printing company will use printing presses of varying sizes – typically in the A3 to B1 range – to print whatever is required. Often produced in what is known as Section Printing.
Difference between litho and digital printing
Having looked at how litho printing works, let’s turn our attention to digital print. Surprisingly, the two print methods actually have relatively little in common – other than the fact that they both place ink on paper.
You can think of digital printing presses as being rather like oversized office laser printers. Naturally they produce printed pages as a faster rate, but they also use toner which is essentially very fine powder. This comes in a variety of colours and their are variations in the way digital printing works. But a fairly standard setup is to once again use CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black), just as with a litho printing press.
Which is better litho or digital?
There are numerous pros and cons to using each print technology. These are related to speed versus cost and to a lesser extent nowadays, quality too. It’s worth reviewing our article on Litho vs Digital Printing to learn more about which printing method is suitable for your needs.
Large Format Litho Printers
A lot of lithographic printers operate at B2 size. This is just a little larger than two A3 sheets of paper put together. This standard format allows for booklets and brochures to be printed, but is somewhat limited when it comes to longer print runs.
Of course, the larger print format isn’t just about making longer print runs more efficient. Printing on a big sheet of paper also opens the way to litho posters being printed too. A B2 size (520 x 720mm) press means litho is ideal for exhibitions, conferences, seminars, shop front displays or other retail poster needs. When either a larger poster size is required or the poster quantity needed is smaller, then digital poster printing becomes a better option
Lithographic Printing Process
Having studied the lithographic print process it is easy to see why this mainstay printing technique has survived the test of time. The maturity of the process means that consistent printing results are achieved every time, whilst modern Computer to Plate (CTP) technology and digitally controlled printing presses ensure that the same image can be replicated time and again. Even when your item is printed months apart.
Advantages of lithographic printing
To sum up, the advantages of litho printing are:
- Fast printing rates in excess of 13,000 sheets per hour, ensuring rapid print turnaround, once an item reaches the press.
- Efficient cost per sheet run on costs. The only elements are the price of a piece of paper, a spot of ink and time.
- High quality printing. People still view lithographic printing as being of the highest quality. Think of it as the go-to fine art printing method.