By Heinrich Pretorius, OKI Product Specialist at DCC
Printing superior quality documents, promotional materials, banners and transfers for t-shirts, caps, mugs and so on has typically been a job that is outsourced to specialist printing houses. These specialist printers have expensive equipment that enables them to fulfil these tasks, but the cost of outsourcing these jobs can prove prohibitive for many small businesses. However, thanks to advances in technology such as LED printers and white toner, specialist printing can easily and affordably be brought in-house, enabling any business to produce their own marketing and promotional items, and opening up new avenues of business.
LED printers are not new, but have recently gained popularity as a result of the growing use of LEDs in a variety of different applications. Rather than using a laser to imprint the image on the print drum, these printers use a precision LED, which delivers sharp, high definition printing for everyday use, as well as for more niche applications. With the addition of white toner, organisations can now print solid white quickly and cost effectively, enabling printing on any colour of paper, as well as transfers that can be used to create a variety of goods, again on any colour of product.
Prior to the evolution of white toner, printing white involved inks, dye sublimation, foil blocking or transfer film-ready technologies. These are typically expensive to both purchase and maintain, and the production time is lengthy because inks need to dry to prevent smudging. By contrast, LED white toner printers are versatile, easy to use, and as there is no drying time involved, they enable much faster and more cost-effective printing. They also produce superior quality solid print output, comparable to that delivered by more expensive foil blocking techniques. This opens up a wide range of applications for in-house printing, expanding on what has, to date, been a highly specialist, complex, costly and low-volume market.
One of the biggest benefits is that because they use LED technology, they can easily produce print runs of any size, from a few sheets to thousands of sheets. In comparison to other print technologies such as screen printing, which have high setup costs and only become cost effective at large volumes, white toner LED printers offer the same cost per page no matter what the size of the print run.
These white toner LED printers are also capable of handling a wide variety of media, including glossy photographic paper, layout proofs, film, packaging, window graphics, clear film and transfers for clothing and other promotional goods, and can print small banners as well. This means that they can easily be used for everyday print jobs, as well as many more specialist applications. While they are typically more expensive than a desktop laser printer, because of their many applications they offer excellent value.
Some of the more obvious applications including printing of t-shirt transfers, including white, for application and clear imaging on any fabric colour. Other fabric goods such as shopping bags, flags, pennants and caps can also easily be created. Transfers can also be used to customise a variety of other goods, including glasses, mugs, pens, cellphone covers, laptop skins and more. These printers can also be used to produce high quality packaging and innovative point of sale media.
White toner LED printers offer a number of advantages over other white printing devices, making them affordable for the first time to large and small businesses or organisations looking to expand their in-house printing capability. They offer fast printing, ease of use and the ability to product print runs of any volume, with consistent high quality and robust performance. They are versatile in their ability to handle a broad range of media, and on top of this offer low running costs and lower overall cost of printing, making them accessible to just about any market.
Printing as a whole has not changed much over the years, but the availability of white toner LED devices is a revolution and a game changer for the printer industry. Specialist printing can now be brought in-house, for affordability, cost effectiveness and high quality in a broad range of applications.