Digital printing is becoming increasingly popular for many printers due to its ability to include shorter runs and variable data. Purchasing a digital printing device requires in-depth evaluation of print quality produced by the device. The process of evaluating digital printing devices is not standardized so the purpose of this paper is to propose an effective test suite for all digital printing devices. By using the proposed test suites, printers could make informed decisions when considering a digital printing device based on their needs. The test suite developed included the following tests: gamut volume, Pantone color matching, Pantone color clipping, Resometer from Technology Watch(tm), fade resistance, rub resistance and fold resistance and matching a reference printing conditions, e.g., GRACoL or SWOP. A total of nine supplier systems (eight digital printing devices and one offset) participated in this study.
After testing all the supplier systems, it was safe to conclude that that the testing suite developed truly showed the abilities of a digital printing device. In addition, it also provided a good outlook on the future of digital printing since the digital printing devices can now provide the quality and performance that is competitive to traditional offset printing. The test suite outlined in this paper is just the beginning in establishing a standard in evaluating digital print production, as further developments in digital printing could suggest more improvements to this suite in the future. Further areas of research for digital printing could include but not limited to: inkjet devices, inline or nearline finishing on digital devices and productivity (processing power, uptime and reliability).