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Digital printing in Minnesota has been a door opener for many businesses. Because printers sell the same thing as everyone else, everyone tries to claim that their service, quality and price are better than others. For this reason, every printer has to find something that would separate them from everyone else. And some business owners find that they have increased productivity after using digital technology and short run processes. Somehow, these gains can be credited to a combination of better pricing and more efficient press performance. Let’s say you have greeting cards that need to be printed. Obsolete inventory through the use of short run digital press can be eliminated.
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This is because with this technology you can print only the needed cards, thus, resulting to orders printed in the exact quantity required. But just the same this kind of printing system is not for everyone. There are risks and changes that need to be dealt with. Nevertheless, the printing industry will continue to change and improve in the years to come. Thus, all business owners and companies have to do is to determine whether this certain printing technique is what they need.
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From top to bottom, left to right: cylinder seal of a scene, block used for woodblock printing, Korean movable type, printing press, lithograph press, offset press used for modern lithographic printing, linotype machine for hot metal typesetting, digital printer, 3D printer in action. Printing is a process for reproducing text and images using a master form or template. The earliest examples include Cylinder seals and other objects such as the Cyrus Cylinder and the Cylinders of Nabonidus. The earliest known form of woodblock printing came from China dating to before 220 A.D. Later developments in printing include the movable type, first developed by Bi Sheng in China around 1040 AD. Johannes Gutenberg introduced mechanical movable type printing to Europe in the 15th century. His printing press played a key role in the development of the Renaissance, Reformation, the Age of Enlightenment, and the scientific revolution and laid the material basis for the modern knowledge-based economy and the spread of learning to the masses. Modern large-scale printing is typically done using a printing press, while small-scale printing is done free-form with a digital printer. Though paper is the most common material, it is also frequently done on metals, plastics, cloth, and composite materials. On paper it is often carried out as a large-scale industrial process and is an essential part of publishing and transaction printing. Main article: History of printing Main article: Woodblock printing Woodblock printing is a technique for printing text, images or patterns that was used widely throughout East Asia. It originated in China in antiquity as a method of printing on textiles and later on paper. As a method of printing on cloth, the earliest surviving examples from China date to before 220 A.D. The intricate frontispiece of the Diamond Sutra from Tang-dynasty China, 868 A.D. (British Library) Main article: History of printing in East Asia The earliest surviving woodblock printed fragments are from China. They are of silk printed with flowers in three colours from the Han Dynasty (before 220 A.D.). They are the earliest example of woodblock printing on paper appeared in the mid-seventh century in China. By the ninth century, printing on paper had taken off, and the first extant complete printed book containing its date is the Diamond Sutra (British Library) of 868. By the tenth century, 400,000 copies of some sutras and pictures were printed, and the Confucian classics were in print. A skilled printer could print up to 2,000 double-page sheets per day. Printing spread early to Korea and Japan, which also used Chinese logograms, but the technique was also used in Turpan and Vietnam using a number of other scripts. This technique then spread to Persia and Russia. This technique was transmitted to Europe via the Islamic world, and by around 1400 was being used on paper for old master prints and playing cards. However, Arabs never used this to print the Quran because of the limits imposed by Islamic doctrine. Block printing, called tarsh in Arabic, developed in Arabic Egypt during the ninth and tenth centuries, mostly for prayers and amulets. There is some evidence to suggest that these print blocks made from non-wood materials, possibly tin, lead, or clay. The techniques employed are uncertain, however, and they appear to have had very little influence outside of the Muslim world. Though Europe adopted woodblock printing from the Muslim world, initially for fabric, the technique of metal block printing remained unknown in Europe. Block printing later went out of use in Islamic Central Asia after movable type printing was introduced from China. The earliest known woodcut, 1423, Buxheim, with hand-colouring Block printing first came to Europe as a method for printing on cloth, where it was common by 1300. Images printed on cloth for religious purposes could be quite large and elaborate. When paper became relatively easily available, around 1400, the medium transferred very quickly to small woodcut religious images and playing cards printed on paper. These prints produced in very large numbers from about 1425 onward. Around the mid-fifteenth-century, block-books, woodcut books with both text and images, usually carved in the same block, emerged as a cheaper alternative to manuscripts and books printed with movable type. These were all short heavily illustrated works, the bestsellers of the day, repeated in many different block-book versions: the Ars moriendi and the Biblia pauperum were the most common. There is still some controversy among scholars as to whether their introduction preceded or, the majority view, followed the introduction of movable type, with the range of estimated dates being between about 1440 and 1460. Copperplate of 1215–1216 5000 cash paper money with ten bronze movable types Jikji, "Selected Teachings of Buddhist Sages and Son Masters" from Korea, the earliest known book printed with movable metal type, 1377. Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Paris Main article: Movable type See also: History of Western typography Movable type is the system of printing and typography using movable pieces of metal type, made by casting from matrices struck by letterpunches. Movable type allowed for much more flexible processes than hand copying or block printing. Around 1040, the first known movable type system was created in China by Bi Sheng out of porcelain. Bi Sheng used clay type, which broke easily, but Wang Zhen by 1298 had carved a more durable type from wood. He also developed a complex system of revolving tables and number-association with written Chinese characters that made typesetting and printing more efficient. Still, the main method in use there remained woodblock printing (xylography), which "proved to be cheaper and more efficient for printing Chinese, with its thousands of characters". Copper movable type printing originated in China at the beginning of the 12th century. It was used in large-scale printing of paper money issued by the Northern Song dynasty. Movable type spread to Korea during the Goryeo dynasty. Around 1230, Koreans invented a metal type movable printing using bronze. The Jikji, published in 1377, is the earliest known metal printed book. Type-casting was used, adapted from the method of casting coins. The character was cut in beech wood, which was then pressed into a soft clay to form a mould, and bronze poured into the mould, and finally the type was polished. The Korean form of metal movable type was described by the French scholar Henri-Jean Martin as "extremely similar to Gutenberg's". Cast metal movable type was spread to Europe between the late 14th century and the early 15th century. A case of cast metal type pieces and typeset matter in a composing stick Main article: Printing press Around 1450, Johannes Gutenberg introduced the first movable type printing system in Europe. He advanced innovations in casting type based on a matrix and hand mould, adaptations to the screw-press, the use of an oil-based ink, and the creation of a softer and more absorbent paper. Gutenberg was the first to create his type pieces from an alloy of lead, tin, antimony, copper and bismuth – the same components still used today. Johannes Gutenberg started work on his printing press around 1436, in partnership with Andreas Dritzehen – whom he had previously instructed in gem-cutting – and Andreas Heilmann, the owner of a paper mill. Compared to woodblock printing, movable type page setting and printing using a press was faster and more durable. Also, the metal type pieces were sturdier and the lettering more uniform, leading to typography and fonts. The high quality and relatively low price of the Gutenberg Bible (1455) established the superiority of movable type for Western languages. The printing press rapidly spread across Europe, leading up to the Renaissance, and later all around the world. Page-setting room - c. 1920 Gutenberg's innovations in movable type printing have been called the most important invention of the second millennium. Main article: Rotary printing press The rotary printing press was invented by Richard March Hoe in 1843. It uses impressions curved around a cylinder to print on long continuous rolls of paper or other substrates. Rotary drum printing was later significantly improved by William Bullock. The table lists the maximum number of pages which various press designs could print per hour. All printing process are concerned with two kinds of areas on the final output: Image Area (printing areas) Non-image Area (non-printing areas) After the information has been prepared for production (the prepress step), each printing process has definitive means of separating the image from the non-image areas. Conventional printing has four types of process: Planographics, in which the printing and non-printing areas are on the same plane surface and the difference between them is maintained chemically or by physical properties, the examples are: offset lithography, collotype, and screenless printing. Relief, in which the printing areas are on a plane surface and the non printing areas are below the surface, examples: flexography and letterpress. Intaglio, in which the non-printing areas are on a plane surface and the printing area are etched or engraved below the surface, examples: steel die engraving, gravure Porous, in which the printing areas are on fine mesh screens through which ink can penetrate, and the non-printing areas are a stencil over the screen to block the flow of ink in those areas, examples: screen printing, stencil duplicator. Miehle press printing Le Samedi journal. Montreal, 1939. Main article: Letterpress printing Letterpress printing is a technique of relief printing. A worker composes and locks movable type into the bed of a press, inks it, and presses paper against it to transfer the ink from the type which creates an impression on the paper. Letterpress printing was the normal form of printing text from its invention by Johannes Gutenberg in the mid-15th century and remained in wide use for books and other uses until the second half of the 20th century, when offset printing was developed. More recently, letterpress printing has seen a revival in an artisanal form. Main article: Offset press Offset printing is a widely used printing technique. Offset printing is where the inked image is transferred (or "offset") from a plate to a rubber blanket. An offset transfer moves the image to the printing surface. When used in combination with the lithographic process, a process based on the repulsion of oil and water; the offset technique employs a flat (planographic) image carrier. So, the image to be printed obtains ink from ink rollers, while the non-printing area attracts a film of water, keeping the non-printing areas ink-free. Currently, most books and newspapers are printed using the technique of offset lithography. Main article: Rotogravure Gravure printing is an intaglio printing technique, where the image being printed is made up of small depressions in the surface of the printing plate. The cells are filled with ink, and the excess is scraped off the surface with a doctor blade. Then a rubber-covered roller presses paper onto the surface of the plate and into contact with the ink in the cells. The printing cylinders are usually made from copper plated steel, which is subsequently chromed, and may be produced by diamond engraving; etching, or laser ablation. Gravure printing is used for long, high-quality print runs such as magazines, mail-order catalogues, packaging and printing onto fabric and wallpaper. It is also used for printing postage stamps and decorative plastic laminates, such as kitchen worktops. The other significant printing techniques include: European output of books printed by movable type from ca. 1450 to 1800 Main article: History of printing It is estimated that following the innovation of Gutenberg's printing press, the European book output rose from a few million to around one billion copies within a span of less than four centuries. Samuel Hartlib, who was exiled in Britain and enthusiastic about social and cultural reforms, wrote in 1641 that "the art of printing will so spread knowledge that the common people, knowing their own rights and liberties, will not be governed by way of oppression". Replica of the Gutenberg press at the International Printing Museum in Carson, California In the Muslim world, printing, especially in Arabic scripts, was strongly opposed throughout the early modern period, though sometimes printing in Hebrew or Armenian script was permitted. Thus the first movable type printing in the Ottoman Empire was in Hebrew in 1493. According to an imperial ambassador to Istanbul in the middle of the sixteenth century, it was a sin for the Turks to print religious books. In 1515, Sultan Selim I issued a decree under which the practice of printing would be punishable by death. At the end of the sixteenth century, Sultan Murad III permitted the sale of non-religious printed books in Arabic characters, yet the majority were imported from Italy. Ibrahim Muteferrika established the first press for printing in Arabic in the Ottoman Empire, against opposition from the calligraphers and parts of the Ulama. It operated until 1742, producing altogether seventeen works, all of which were concerned with non-religious, utilitarian matters. Printing did not become common in the Islamic world until the 19th century. Jews were banned from German printing guilds; as a result Hebrew printing sprang up in Italy, beginning in 1470 in Rome, then spreading to other cities including Bari, Pisa, Livorno, and Mantua. Local rulers had the authority to grant or revoke licenses to publish Hebrew books, and many of those printed during this period carry the words 'con licenza de superiori' (indicating their printing having been licensed by the censor) on their title pages. It was thought that the introduction of the printing medium 'would strengthen religion and enhance the power of monarchs.' The majority of books were of a religious nature, with the church and crown regulating the content. The consequences of printing 'wrong' material were extreme. Meyrowitz used the example of William Carter who in 1584 printed a pro-Catholic pamphlet in Protestant-dominated England. The consequence of his action was hanging. Print gave a broader range of readers access to knowledge and enabled later generations to build directly on the intellectual achievements of earlier ones without the changes arising within verbal traditions. Print, according to Acton in his lecture On the Study of History (1895), gave "assurance that the work of the Renaissance would last, that what was written would be accessible to all, that such an occultation of knowledge and ideas as had depressed the Middle Ages would never recur, that not an idea would be lost". Bookprinting in the 16th century Print was instrumental in changing the nature of reading within society. Elizabeth Eisenstein identifies two long-term effects of the invention of printing. She claims that print created a sustained and uniform reference for knowledge as well as allowing for comparison between incompatible views. Asa Briggs and Peter Burke identify five kinds of reading that developed in relation to the introduction of print: Critical reading: due to the fact that texts finally became accessible to the general population, critical reading emerged because people were given the option to form their own opinions on texts Dangerous Reading: reading was seen as a dangerous pursuit because it was considered rebellious and unsociable especially in the case of women, because reading could stir up dangerous emotions such as love and that if women could read, they could read love notes Creative reading: printing allowed people to read texts and interpret them creatively, often in very different ways than the author intended Extensive Reading: print allowed for a wide range of texts to become available, thus, previous methods of intensive reading of texts from start to finish, began to change and with texts being readily available, people began reading on particular topics or chapters, allowing for much more extensive reading on a wider range of topics Private reading: became linked to the rise of individualism because before print, reading was often a group event, where one person would read to a group of people and with print, literacy rose as did availability of texts, thus reading became a solitary pursuit The invention of printing also changed the occupational structure of European cities. Printers emerged as a new group of artisans for whom literacy was essential, although the much more labour-intensive occupation of the scribe naturally declined. Proof-correcting arose as a new occupation, while a rise in the amount of booksellers and librarians naturally followed the explosion in the numbers of books. By 2005, Digital printing accounts for approximately 9% of the 45 trillion pages printed annually around the world. Printing at home, an office, or an engineering environment is subdivided into: Some of the more common printing technologies are: Vendors typically stress the total cost to operate the equipment, involving complex calculations that include all cost factors involved in the operation as well as the capital equipment costs, amortization, etc. For the most part, toner systems are more economical than inkjet in the long run, even though inkjets are less expensive in the initial purchase price. Professional digital printing (using toner) primarily uses an electrical charge to transfer toner or liquid ink to the substrate onto which it is printed. Digital print quality has steadily improved from early color and black and white copiers to sophisticated colour digital presses such as the Xerox iGen3, the Kodak Nexpress, the HP Indigo Digital Press series, and the InfoPrint 5000. The iGen3 and Nexpress use toner particles and the Indigo uses liquid ink. The InfoPrint 5000 is a full-color, continuous forms inkjet drop-on-demand printing system. All handle variable data, and rival offset in quality. Digital offset presses are also called direct imaging presses, although these presses can receive computer files and automatically turn them into print-ready plates, they cannot insert variable data. Small press and fanzines generally use digital printing. Prior to the introduction of cheap photocopying the use of machines such as the spirit duplicator, hectograph, and mimeograph was common. 3D printing is a form of manufacturing technology where physical objects are created from three-dimensional digital models using 3D printers. The objects are created by laying down or building up many thin layers of material in succession. The technique is also known as additive manufacturing, rapid prototyping, or fabricating. Gang run printing is a method in which multiple printing projects are placed on a common paper sheet in an effort to reduce printing costs and paper waste. Gang runs are generally used with sheet-fed printing presses and CMYK process color jobs, which require four separate plates that are hung on the plate cylinder of the press. Printers use the term "gang run" or "gang" to describe the practice of placing many print projects on the same oversized sheet. Basically, instead of running one postcard that is 4 x 6 as an individual job the printer would place 15 different postcards on 20 x 18 sheet therefore using the same amount of press time the printer will get 15 jobs done in the roughly the same amount of time as one job. Printed electronics is the manufacturing of electronic devices using standard printing processes. Printed electronics technology can be produced on cheap materials such as paper or flexible film, which makes it an extremely cost-effective method of production. Since early 2010, the printable electronics industry has been gaining momentum and several large companies, including Bemis Company and Illinois Tool Works have made investments in printed electronics and industry associations including OE-A and FlexTech Alliance are contributing heavily to the advancement of the printed electronics industry. Printing terminologies are the specific terms used in printing industry. Following is the list of printing terminologies. On the effects of Gutenberg's printing Early printers manuals The classic manual of early hand-press technology is A somewhat later one, showing 18th century developments is
Digital Printing: A Better Avenue For Quality Four Color PrintingHP LaserJet 5 printer The Game Boy Pocket Printer, a thermal printer released as a peripheral for the Nintendo Game Boy This is an example of a wide-carriage dot matrix printer, designed for 14-inch (360 mm) wide paper, shown with 8.5-by-14-inch (220 mm × 360 mm) legal paper. Wide carriage printers were often used in the field of businesses, to print accounting records on 11-by-14-inch (280 mm × 360 mm) tractor-feed paper. They were also called "132-column printers". Play media A video showing an inkjet printer while printing a page. In computing, a printer is a peripheral which makes a persistent human-readable representation of graphics or text on paper or similar physical media. The first computer printer design was a mechanically driven apparatus by Charles Babbage for his difference engine in the 19th century; his mechanical printer design was not built until 2000. The first electronic printer was the EP-101, invented by Japanese company Epson and released in 1968. The first commercial printers generally used mechanisms from electric typewriters and Teletype machines The demand for higher speed led to the development of new systems specifically for computer use. In the 1980s were daisy wheel systems similar to typewriters, line printers that produced similar output but at much higher speed, and dot matrix systems that could mix text and graphics but produced relatively low-quality output. The plotter was used for those requiring high quality line art like blueprints. The introduction of the low-cost laser printer in 1984 with the first HP LaserJet, and the addition of PostScript in next year's Apple LaserWriter, set off a revolution in printing known as desktop publishing. Laser printers using PostScript mixed text and graphics, like dot-matrix printers, but at quality levels formerly available only from commercial typesetting systems. By 1990, most simple printing tasks like fliers and brochures were now created on personal computers and then laser printed; expensive offset printing systems were being dumped as scrap. The HP Deskjet of 1988 offered the same advantages as laser printer in terms of flexibility, but produced somewhat lower quality output (depending on the paper) from much less expensive mechanisms. Inkjet systems rapidly displaced dot matrix and daisy wheel printers from the market. By the 2000s high-quality printers of this sort had fallen under the $100 price point and became commonplace. The rapid update of internet email through the 1990s and into the 2000s has largely displaced the need for printing as a means of moving documents, and a wide variety of reliable storage systems means that a "physical backup" is of little benefit today. Even the desire for printed output for "offline reading" while on mass transit or aircraft has been displaced by e-book readers and tablet computers. Today, traditional printers are being used more for special purposes, like printing photographs or artwork, and are no longer a must-have peripheral. Starting around 2010, 3D printing became an area of intense interest, allowing the creation of physical objects with the same sort of effort as an early laser printer required to produce a brochure. These devices are in their earliest stages of development and have not yet become commonplace. Personal printers are primarily designed to support individual users, and may be connected to only a single computer. These printers are designed for low-volume, short-turnaround print jobs, requiring minimal setup time to produce a hard copy of a given document. However, they are generally slow devices ranging from 6 to around 25 pages per minute (ppm), and the cost per page is relatively high. However, this is offset by the on-demand convenience. Some printers can print documents stored on memory cards or from digital cameras and scanners. Networked or shared printers are "designed for high-volume, high-speed printing." They are usually shared by many users on a network and can print at speeds of 45 to around 100 ppm. The Xerox 9700 could achieve 120 ppm. A virtual printer is a piece of computer software whose user interface and API resembles that of a printer driver, but which is not connected with a physical computer printer. A virtual printer can be used to create a file which is an image of the data which would be printed, for archival purposes or as input to another program, for example to create a PDF or to transmit to another system or user. A 3D printer is a device for making a three-dimensional object from a 3D model or other electronic data source through additive processes in which successive layers of material ( including plastics, metals, food, cement, wood, and other materials) are laid down under computer control. It is called a printer by analogy with an inkjet printer which produces a two-dimensional document by a similar process of depositing a layer of ink on paper. The choice of print technology has a great effect on the cost of the printer and cost of operation, speed, quality and permanence of documents, and noise. Some printer technologies don't work with certain types of physical media, such as carbon paper or transparencies. A second aspect of printer technology that is often forgotten is resistance to alteration: liquid ink, such as from an inkjet head or fabric ribbon, becomes absorbed by the paper fibers, so documents printed with liquid ink are more difficult to alter than documents printed with toner or solid inks, which do not penetrate below the paper surface. Cheques can be printed with liquid ink or on special cheque paper with toner anchorage so that alterations may be detected. The machine-readable lower portion of a cheque must be printed using MICR toner or ink. Banks and other clearing houses employ automation equipment that relies on the magnetic flux from these specially printed characters to function properly. The following printing technologies are routinely found in modern printers: Main article: Laser printer A laser printer rapidly produces high quality text and graphics. As with digital photocopiers and multifunction printers (MFPs), laser printers employ a xerographic printing process but differ from analog photocopiers in that the image is produced by the direct scanning of a laser beam across the printer's photoreceptor. Another toner-based printer is the LED printer which uses an array of LEDs instead of a laser to cause toner adhesion to the print drum. Liquid ink cartridge from Hewlett-Packard HP 845C inkjet printer Inkjet printers operate by propelling variably sized droplets of liquid ink onto almost any sized page. They are the most common type of computer printer used by consumers. Main article: Solid ink Solid ink printers, also known as phase-change printers, are a type of thermal transfer printer. They use solid sticks of CMYK-coloured ink, similar in consistency to candle wax, which are melted and fed into a piezo crystal operated print-head. The printhead sprays the ink on a rotating, oil coated drum. The paper then passes over the print drum, at which time the image is immediately transferred, or transfixed, to the page. Solid ink printers are most commonly used as colour office printers, and are excellent at printing on transparencies and other non-porous media. Solid ink printers can produce excellent results. Acquisition and operating costs are similar to laser printers. Drawbacks of the technology include high energy consumption and long warm-up times from a cold state. Also, some users complain that the resulting prints are difficult to write on, as the wax tends to repel inks from pens, and are difficult to feed through automatic document feeders, but these traits have been significantly reduced in later models. In addition, this type of printer is only available from one manufacturer, Xerox, manufactured as part of their Xerox Phaser office printer line. Previously, solid ink printers were manufactured by Tektronix, but Tek sold the printing business to Xerox in 2001. Main article: Dye-sublimation printer A disassembled dye sublimation cartridge A dye-sublimation printer (or dye-sub printer) is a printer which employs a printing process that uses heat to transfer dye to a medium such as a plastic card, paper or canvas. The process is usually to lay one colour at a time using a ribbon that has colour panels. Dye-sub printers are intended primarily for high-quality colour applications, including colour photography; and are less well-suited for text. While once the province of high-end print shops, dye-sublimation printers are now increasingly used as dedicated consumer photo printers. Receipt printer printing a Twitter timeline Thermal printers work by selectively heating regions of special heat-sensitive paper. Monochrome thermal printers are used in cash registers, ATMs, gasoline dispensers and some older inexpensive fax machines. Colours can be achieved with special papers and different temperatures and heating rates for different colours; these coloured sheets are not required in black-and-white output. One example is Zink (a portmanteau of "zero ink"). Epson MX-80, a popular model of dot-matrix printer in use for many years The following technologies are either obsolete, or limited to special applications though most were, at one time, in widespread use. Impact printers rely on a forcible impact to transfer ink to the media. The impact printer uses a print head that either hits the surface of the ink ribbon, pressing the ink ribbon against the paper (similar to the action of a typewriter), or, less commonly, hits the back of the paper, pressing the paper against the ink ribbon (the IBM 1403 for example). All but the dot matrix printer rely on the use of fully formed characters, letterforms that represent each of the characters that the printer was capable of printing. In addition, most of these printers were limited to monochrome, or sometimes two-color, printing in a single typeface at one time, although bolding and underlining of text could be done by "overstriking", that is, printing two or more impressions either in the same character position or slightly offset. Impact printers varieties include typewriter-derived printers, teletypewriter-derived printers, daisywheel printers, dot matrix printers and line printers. Dot matrix printers remain in common use in businesses where multi-part forms are printed. An overview of impact printing contains a detailed description of many of the technologies used. typeball print element from IBM Selectric-type printer Main articles: Friden Flexowriter and IBM Selectric typewriter Several different computer printers were simply computer-controllable versions of existing electric typewriters. The Friden Flexowriter and IBM Selectric-based printers were the most-common examples. The Flexowriter printed with a conventional typebar mechanism while the Selectric used IBM's well-known "golf ball" printing mechanism. In either case, the letter form then struck a ribbon which was pressed against the paper, printing one character at a time. The maximum speed of the Selectric printer (the faster of the two) was 15.5 characters per second. Main article: Teleprinter The common teleprinter could easily be interfaced to the computer and became very popular except for those computers manufactured by IBM. Some models used a "typebox" that was positioned, in the X- and Y-axes, by a mechanism and the selected letter form was struck by a hammer. Others used a type cylinder in a similar way as the Selectric typewriters used their type ball. In either case, the letter form then struck a ribbon to print the letterform. Most teleprinters operated at ten characters per second although a few achieved 15 CPS. "daisy wheel" print element Main article: Daisy wheel printer Daisy wheel printers operate in much the same fashion as a typewriter. A hammer strikes a wheel with petals, the "daisy wheel", each petal containing a letter form at its tip. The letter form strikes a ribbon of ink, depositing the ink on the page and thus printing a character. By rotating the daisy wheel, different characters are selected for printing. These printers were also referred to as letter-quality printers because they could produce text which was as clear and crisp as a typewriter. The fastest letter-quality printers printed at 30 characters per second. Main article: Dot matrix printer Sample output from 9-pin dot matrix printer (one character expanded to show detail) The term dot matrix printer is used for impact printers that use a matrix of small pins to transfer ink to the page. The advantage of dot matrix over other impact printers is that they can produce graphical images in addition to text; however the text is generally of poorer quality than impact printers that use letterforms (type). Dot-matrix printers can be broadly divided into two major classes: Dot matrix printers can either be character-based or line-based (that is, a single horizontal series of pixels across the page), referring to the configuration of the print head. In the 1970s & 80s, dot matrix printers were one of the more common types of printers used for general use, such as for home and small office use. Such printers normally had either 9 or 24 pins on the print head (early 7 pin printers also existed, which did not print descenders). There was a period during the early home computer era when a range of printers were manufactured under many brands such as the Commodore VIC-1525 using the Seikosha Uni-Hammer system. This used a single solenoid with an oblique striker that would be actuated 7 times for each column of 7 vertical pixels while the head was moving at a constant speed. The angle of the striker would align the dots vertically even though the head had moved one dot spacing in the time. The vertical dot position was controlled by a synchronised longitudinally ribbed platen behind the paper that rotated rapidly with a rib moving vertically seven dot spacings in the time it took to print one pixel column. 24-pin print heads were able to print at a higher quality and started to offer additional type styles and were marketed as Near Letter Quality by some vendors. Once the price of inkjet printers dropped to the point where they were competitive with dot matrix printers, dot matrix printers began to fall out of favour for general use. Some dot matrix printers, such as the NEC P6300, can be upgraded to print in colour. This is achieved through the use of a four-colour ribbon mounted on a mechanism (provided in an upgrade kit that replaces the standard black ribbon mechanism after installation) that raises and lowers the ribbons as needed. Colour graphics are generally printed in four passes at standard resolution, thus slowing down printing considerably. As a result, colour graphics can take up to four times longer to print than standard monochrome graphics, or up to 8-16 times as long at high resolution mode. Dot matrix printers are still commonly used in low-cost, low-quality applications such as cash registers, or in demanding, very high volume applications like invoice printing. Impact printing, unlike laser printing, allows the pressure of the print head to be applied to a stack of two or more forms to print multi-part documents such as sales invoices and credit card receipts using continuous stationery with carbonless copy paper. Dot-matrix printers were being superseded even as receipt printers after the end of the twentieth century. Main article: Line printer Line printers print an entire line of text at a time. Four principal designs exist. Print drum from drum printer IBM 1403 line printer In each case, to print a line, precisely timed hammers strike against the back of the paper at the exact moment that the correct character to be printed is passing in front of the paper. The paper presses forward against a ribbon which then presses against the character form and the impression of the character form is printed onto the paper. Line printers are the fastest of all impact printers and are used for bulk printing in large computer centres. A line printer can print at 1100 lines per minute or faster, frequently printing pages more rapidly than many current laser printers. On the other hand, the mechanical components of line printers operat with tight tolerances and require regular preventive maintenance (PM) to produce top quality print. They are virtually never used with personal computers and have now been replaced by high-speed laser printers. The legacy of line printers lives on in many computer operating systems, which use the abbreviations "lp", "lpr", or "LPT" to refer to printers. Liquid ink electrostatic printers use a chemical coated paper, which is charged by the print head according to the image of the document. The paper is passed near a pool of liquid ink with the opposite charge. The charged areas of the paper attract the ink and thus form the image. This process was developed from the process of electrostatic copying. Color reproduction is very accurate, and because there is no heating the scale distortion is less than ±0.1%. (All laser printers have an accuracy of ±1%.) Worldwide, most survey offices used this printer before color inkjet plotters become popular. Liquid ink electrostatic printers were mostly available in 36 to 54 inches (910 to 1,370 mm) width and also 6 color printing. These were also used to print large billboards. It was first introduced by Versatec, which was later bought by Xerox. 3M also used to make these printers. Main article: Plotter A Calcomp 565 drum plotter Pen-based plotters were an alternate printing technology once common in engineering and architectural firms. Pen-based plotters rely on contact with the paper (but not impact, per se) and special purpose pens that are mechanically run over the paper to create text and images. Since the pens output continuous lines, they were able to produce technical drawings of higher resolution than was achievable with dot-matrix technology. Some plotters used roll-fed paper, and therefore had minimal restriction on the size of the output in one dimension. These plotters were capable of producing quite sizable drawings. A number of other sorts of printers are important for historical reasons, or for special purpose uses: Most printers other than line printers accept control characters or unique character sequences to control various printer functions. These may range from shifting from lower to upper case or from black to red ribbon on typewriter printers to switching fonts and changing character sizes and colors on raster printers. Early printer controls were not standardized, with each manufacturer's equipment having its own set. The IBM Personal Printer Data Stream (PPDS) became a commonly used command set for dot-matrix printers. Today, most printers accept one or more page description languages (PDLs). Laser printers with greater processing power frequently offer support for variants of Hewlett-Packard's Printer Command Language (PCL), PostScript or XML Paper Specification. Most inkjet devices support manufacturer proprietary PDLs such as ESC/P. The diversity in mobile platforms have led to various standardization efforts around device PDLs such as the Printer Working Group (PWG's) PWG Raster. The speed of early printers was measured in units of characters per minute (cpm) for character printers, or lines per minute (lpm) for line printers. Modern printers are measured in pages per minute (ppm). These measures are used primarily as a marketing tool, and are not as well standardised as toner yields. Usually pages per minute refers to sparse monochrome office documents, rather than dense pictures which usually print much more slowly, especially colour images. PPM are most of the time referring to A4 paper in Europe and letter paper in the United States, resulting in a 5-10% difference. The data received by a printer may be: Some printers can process all four types of data, others not. Today it is possible to print everything (even plain text) by sending ready bitmapped images to the printer. This allows better control over formatting, especially among machines from different vendors. Many printer drivers do not use the text mode at all, even if the printer is capable of it. A monochrome printer can only produce an image consisting of one colour, usually black. A monochrome printer may also be able to produce various tones of that color, such as a grey-scale. A colour printer can produce images of multiple colours. A photo printer is a colour printer that can produce images that mimic the colour range (gamut) and resolution of prints made from photographic film. Many can be used on a standalone basis without a computer, using a memory card or USB connector. The page yield is number of pages that can be printed from a toner cartridge or ink cartridge—before the cartridge needs to be refilled or replaced. The actual number of pages yielded by a specific cartridge depends on a number of factors. For a fair comparison, many laser printer manufacturers use the ISO/IEC 19752 process to measure the toner cartridge yield. In order to fairly compare operating expenses of printers with a relatively small ink cartridge to printers with a larger, more expensive toner cartridge that typically holds more toner and so prints more pages before the cartridge needs to be replaced, many people prefer to estimate operating expenses in terms of cost per page (CPP).  Often the "razor and blades" business model is applied. That is, a company may sell a printer at cost, and make profits on the ink cartridge, paper, or some other replacement part. This has caused legal disputes regarding the right of companies other than the printer manufacturer to sell compatible ink cartridges. To protect their business model, several manufacturers invest heavily in developing new cartridge technology and patenting it. Other manufacturers, in reaction to the challenges from using this business model, choose to make more money on printers and less on the ink, promoting the latter through their advertising campaigns. Finally, this generates two clearly different proposals: "cheap printer – expensive ink" or "expensive printer – cheap ink". Ultimately, the consumer decision depends on their reference interest rate or their time preference. From an economics viewpoint, there is a clear trade-off between cost per copy and cost of the printer. An illustration showing small yellow tracking dots on white paper, generated by a color laser printer Main article: Printer steganography Printer steganography is a type of steganography – "hiding data within data" – produced by color printers, including Brother, Canon, Dell, Epson, HP, IBM, Konica Minolta, Kyocera, Lanier, Lexmark, Ricoh, Toshiba and Xerox brand color laser printers, where tiny yellow dots are added to each page. The dots are barely visible and contain encoded printer serial numbers, as well as date and time stamps. Main article: Wireless printer More than half of all printers sold at U.S. retail in 2010 were wireless-capable, but nearly three-quarters of consumers who have access to those printers weren't taking advantage of the increased access to print from multiple devices according to the new Wireless Printing Study.
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