Are you thinking of purchasing a printer? There are different types of printers, each with its own unique features. The kind of printer you are buying depends on what you will be using it for and where. The printing technology has come a long way, from traditional woodblock printing to modern-day 3D printing.
Here are eight different types of printers and their uses:
Type #1: Flexographic Printers
Flexographic printers are quite similar to letterpress printers, the only difference being that flexographic printers can print on almost any surface. For example, they can print on metal, plastic, cellophane, foil, paper and packaging materials. Flexographic printers are also known as flexo printers, a name attributed to the fact that they use a flexible photopolymer printing plate, which is engraved using laser in a process known as digital plate-making.
Another unique characteristic of flexographic printers is that they can utilize a wide variety of inks. So, you can use oil- instead of water-based ink. This printer uses inks with low viscosity, meaning they dry quickly to allow faster production at a lower cost. Some of the common uses of flexographic printers are; to print food packages, medical packages, brown corrugated boxes, self-adhesive labels, newspapers, and other types of print media.
Type #2: Laser Printers
Xerox started developing laser printers in the 1960s. Laser printers use a process known as electrostatic digital printing, a process that involves repeatedly using a laser beam back and forth over a negatively charged cylinder known as the drum. The electrically charged powdered ink is selectively collected and transferred into the desired image on a piece of paper. It is then heated to make sure the text or image is permanently fused.
Laser printers have high print speeds. They also have a higher paper capacity than traditional inkjet printers. Over time, these printers have witnessed increased speed and quality as the prices keep falling.
Type #3: Solid Ink Printers
Solid ink printers has a wax-like feel. The ink technology used by solid ink printers is designed to save money and space on packaging. The printing process involves the use of solid ink sticks that are melted into a liquid before being used. Unlike inkjet printers, a solid ink printer transfers ink onto a drum first, then onto paper to allow it to produce vibrant tones since a drum is easier to control than moving paper. Solid ink printers are environment-friendly as the ink sticks are made from non-toxic vegetable oils.
Type #4: LED Printers
LED printers were invented by a manufacturer known as OKI in 1989. These printers share a lot of similarities with laser printers, but the difference is that LED printers utilize light-emitting diodes instead of lasers to produce images on a belt or a photoreceptive drum. LED printers are more reliable and efficient than laser printers since they have fewer moving parts. It is also cheaper to manufacture LED printers than laser printers.
Type #5: Multifunctional Printers
These are also known as all-in-one printers. The reason they are referred to as multifunctional is that they can perform various tasks such as faxing, scanning, photocopying and printing. Multifunctional printers are obviously more efficient in terms of cost since you do not have to buy multiple devices for different tasks. It is one compact device. It consumes less energy compared to a situation where one uses multiple powered devices.
This type of printer can perform various functions at the same time. It is popular with businesses looking to consolidate assets, improve workflow, and reduce costs.
Type #6: 3D Printers
This is undeniably the most intriguing development in the history of printing technology. Besides, 3D printers are increasingly becoming affordable for both domestic and professional users. Modern 3D printers can print out actual 3D objects using a substance known as resin. The most common use of 3D printers is to make prototypes. With a 3D printer, the possibilities in terms of what you can do with it are endless.
Type #7: A3 Printers
As the name suggests, these printers can print on A3 sheets. A3 printers are great for businesses and domestic users who require large prints. The printers come with the option of producing prints in other different sizes. It has several input trays that simplify the process. A3 printers are available in both inkjet and laser technologies.
Type #8: All-in-one Inkjets
This printer combines the inkjet printer technology with the efficiency of multifunctional printers. An all-in-one inkjet printer will save you the cost of having to buy several machines. The machine can serve a busy office environment without compromising on quality. All-in-one inkjet printers are also power efficient.
With the massive advancements in the printing technology, the printing industry will continue to witness the entrance of new highly powerful yet low-cost printers that can print on all manner of surfaces. They type of printer you choose will depend on your specific printing needs. One can only imagine the possibilities the future holds.