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Advances in technology: 6 ways the print industry has changed in the last 60 years

As LG Davis celebrates 6 decades in print we take a look back at how this traditional industry has changed. From technological advancements to changing perceptions, the last 60 years has certainly been a momentous time for the sector.

Owner Liz Smith, who was only a baby when her dad first set up the company in 1962, has experienced first-hand many of these changes. In the first of a six-part series, Liz explores the areas she feels have had the biggest impact on print over the past 6 decades.

1. Advances in technology

Print has come a long way in the last few decades and technology is continually changing the landscape for the traditional printer.

“I remember as a child watching in awe as the typesetters placed individual letters by hand into blocks for the presses. It was a unique skill and very labour intensive.

“We have now just invested in 3 additional Xerox digital printers which can be programmed at the touch of the button. It is a huge leap forward for the industry and has facilitated the ability to have same day turnaround when necessary, and a bespoke print run of just one!”

Lithographic or offset printing replaced the letterpress machines - using printed plates to transfer ink onto paper. The plate making process was initially also very time consuming with the artwork being photographed and negatives made of each colour. These had to be hand spotted out to ensure there were no blemishes from dust on the plate. This has since been replaced by computer to plate machines, which allows up to 30 plates per hour to be produced, depending upon the equipment. This has also improved quality dramatically as the image coming directly from the digital information is sharper, and it eliminates defects caused by scratches in the emulsion or dust on the film, as well as variations in film exposure.

Artwork at the early lithography stages, was initially created using golf ball typewriters or Letraset, which soon moved onto computer typesetting and intricate designs being created.

In the 1990s this was taken a step further with the arrival of the first commercial digital printing press which allowed printers to create designs and to produce a job within hours of receiving the order.

“Technology has certainly played its role in speeding up the process and allowing more and more substrates to be printed on and there is no doubt that advancements will continue to keep us all on our toes.”

Find out how Liz has seen more than just machinery change as we continue our look into the next of our 6 big changes for the industry next week.


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