Economic Impact of the Hybrid Screening in the Print Runs of Offset Sheet


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Ignacio Villalba, Manuel Vacas


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In the past two years, it seems offset printing companies have found in hybrid screening (XM) an alternative for the conventional screening as they gather the advantages of the AM screen and the FM screen. XM is characterized by the layout of the screening dots in a staccato way on the highlights and shadows, keeping a high conventional screen ruling in the halftones. Thereby, it combines the FM screening high definition appearing in the most critical area of image with the softness for the conventional screening halftones. Among other advantages, we can highlight the capacity of printing with high-resolution ruling which avoids difficulties related to reproduction, process control, or the platedot maintenance during the printing stage associated to the conventional screen. Apart from these features and in comparison with the AM screen, this study's outcome highlights the reduction of ink for the hybrid screen. The two kinds of screens being compared in the test are: hybrid screen (21 micron for the smaller dot in the light, and 240 lpi for halftones) and AM screen (175 lpi), both of them being printed onto a 115 g/m2 coated paper. In order to come to this result, the starting point was a test of a minute selection of images. The layout has been set up for offering the same visual outcome, two of them being hybrid and the two others conventional. Once the work was printed and dried onto the paper, the next step was to cut it with extreme accuracy and carry out the weight of the test piece. These data were recorded. The outcomes imply an outstanding ink consumption savings which impacts favorably on the economic parameter of the run and involve other advantages such as a reduction in the setoff powder so that this avoids a loss of the ink gloss and makes the subsequent handling of the sheet easier. The risk of ink setoff and ink drying timing decreases so that it allows one to print the other side and handle the job sooner. In this way the process's timing is shorter. In these crisis times, the hybrid screening could be an important ally to the printing companies.

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