This approach of DVD printing utilises pre-manufactured printable DVDRs. The discs will either have a bright or a silver printable surface that is receptive to an inkjet printer. Printable DVDRs are widely available in high street stores or online and even top quality discs are inexpensive.
A Digital DVD printer works on a single principle as a computer inkjet printer. The cyan, magenta, yellow and black ink cartridges are loaded in to the printer and a printer head makes some passes within the printable disc surface depositing the ink according to the artwork file. It is possible to print extremely detailed high res images using this printing method but it does have a few drawbacks:
The digital DVD printing process is slow in comparison to other printing processes – Commercial digital DVD printers are just effective at printing around 200 DVDs unattended and each print can take up to a minute dependant on the complexity of the artwork.
Each disc needs to be finished with a layer of clear lacquer – that is to guard the printed surface from potential moisture damage when handled. This adds more delay to the process.
However, this DVD printing process does not have any fixed put up cost rendering it ideal for brief runs of less than 100 DVDs which really is a service that is very much in demand with the advance of the digital download.
DVD Screen Printing
Screen printing is just a tried and tested printing method that’s been used in the commercial printing industry for decades. DVD screen printing is a version of this technique, modified to permit printing onto a disc. This process is perfect for printing aspects of solid colour using vibrantly coloured inks mixed from various proportions of base cyan, magenta, yellow and black ink. Additionally, there are fluorescent and metallic inks available for use with this particular process.
A screen printing machine has a large rotating platform. The platform is split into 5 printing stations with a UV lamp between each station and the next. DVDs with a base coat of any colour could be printed on, allowing for a maximum of 6 different colours in the artwork design.
The printing screen, where the procedure gets its name, is just a very fine mesh screen that is initially covered with a thermally reactive emulsion. Another screen is needed for each of the colours featured in the ultimate artwork and a celluloid film is also made for each colour. The film is black in the areas where in fact the colour is needed on the disc, and clear where it’s not required. The film is attached along with a display and placed into an exposure unit. A hot, bright light is then briefly switched on within the top of the film. Where in fact the light and heat go through the clear portions of the film to the screen beneath, the thermal emulsion on the screen is hardened. Where in fact the film is black, heat and light don’t pass through the film and therefore the emulsion remains unchanged.
The screen is then utilized in a spray booth where it’s sprayed with a superb water jet. The water washes away the emulsion that has not hardened leaving a display where ink can pass through the mesh only using areas where that colour is needed according to the design. The screen is then fitted to its station on the DVD screen printing machine. One other 4 screens are prepared in the exact same way and the equipment is then willing to print.
The DVDs are loaded onto the printing machine automatically. They’re presented on spindles and each disc is lifted by an automatic arm with soft rubber vacuum cups. The DVD is placed in to a metal jig which holds the disc securely to prevent any movement whilst it will be printed. The metal jigs are arranged around the equipment and the DVDs are loaded, printed and then removed once printing is complete. A DVD that’s been printed and then removed is replaced at the following machine rotation with a new unprinted disc. This process continues before the production run is complete.
At each station a different coloured ink is placed on the disc when a rubber squeegee blade passes within the screen. The screen is pressed down onto the disc surface and the ink is forced through the mesh by the blade. Once the ink has been applied the blade returns to its starting position ready for the following disc. The equipment platen rotates one position and the freshly printed disc passes under a UV lamp. 印卡片 The UV light from the lamp cures the ink instantly and the disc moves to another station where the following coloured ink could be applied without the probability of smearing of the previously applied ink. The printing and curing process is extremely fast and a contemporary DVD screen printer is effective at printing a lot more than 3,500 DVDs in a hour.
The requirement for screens and films for every single different ink colour in the design to be printed onto the DVD, means that there are fixed costs associated with this particular process. These costs could be minimised by limiting the amount of colours active in the DVD print design. It is perfectly possible to style a stylish disc using just a single colour print onto a printable silver DVD. The fixed cost, however, does ensure it is a less viable process for tiny orders of less than 100 DVDs.
Lithographic DVD Printing (Offset printing)
This process, as with DVD screen printing, is a well known printing method for producing high res images in some recoverable format or card stock and has been adapted to accommodate DVDs. Lithographic printing is the best process for producing DVDs with a photographic print or artwork involving a subtle colour gradient but isn’t perfect for printing artwork that’s large aspects of solid colour because of potential coverage issues which might cause a “patchy” print.
The lithographic DVD printing process involves building a metal printing plate that is curved around a roller. The fundamental principle at work with this technique is that printing ink and water don’t mix. The printing plate surface is treated in a few areas such that it attracts ink, the rest of the areas are treated to attract water and not ink. The effect is a printing plate which can be introduced to ink which only adheres to it where required. The ink on the printing plate is transferred or “offset” to another roller that includes a rubber blanket wrapped around it. The rubber blanket roller applies the ink to the DVD that is held firmly in devote a metal jig on the equipment bed.
This process is just as fast since the screen printing process and so many tens and thousands of DVDs could be printed every hour that the equipment is running. Yet again, there are fixed put up costs involved here and so the cost to print orders of less than 100 DVDs is high.
DVD Printing Process Summary
In a nutshell, if your project is only for a small run of discs then digital DVD printing is the best way to go. There is unquestionably no print quality compromise with digital printing over another 2 processes and although it could be the slowest process, this is simply not really relevant if you’re only having 50 discs printed. There are lots of companies specialising in 24 to 48 hour turnarounds on short runs of discs who make use of this printing method exclusively and contain it down seriously to a superb art.
For projects where the total amount of discs required is over 100 and the artwork features bold, solid colours, then a DVD printing process of choice has to be screen printing. The metallic and fluorescent inks available for this technique make for some truly eye-catching and distinctive designs. If the artwork for the discs is just a photographic image or includes a subtle colour gradient, then a printing process best worthy of this kind of artwork will be Lithographic printing. For screen and lithographic printing, the more units ordered, the cheaper the machine cost becomes