What is Offset Lithography?
A term describing the most common form of lithography (a printing process in which the image area and the non-image area co-exist on the same plane, rather than from raised or etched type, as in letterpress and gravureprinting, respectively; see Lithography) in which a printed image is transferred first to a rubber blanket, and the blanket then transfers (or “offsets”) the image to the paper or other surface. Other forms of lithography include [“direct lithography (or di-litho) and waterless lithography. The two basic varieties of offset lithography are sheetfed and web offset lithography. The remainder of this article will deal primarily with sheetfed offset printing. See alsoWeb Offset Lithography.
What is Fountain Solution?
A mixture of water and other chemicals distributed by the dampening system on a printing press used in offset lithography. Lithographic printing operates on the principle that oil and water do not mix to any great extent; offset presses first treat metal printing plates with a fountain solution, which works to desensitize the non-image areas, rendering them ink-repellent. The fountain solution is applied to the plate through a series of rollers in a variety of configurations.
What is Dampening System?
In offset lithographic printing, the system that transfers a water-based fountain solution to the printing plate as a means of making non-image areas ink repellent. Offset lithography is based on the principle that oil and water do not mix readily, thus the water-based fountain solution ensures that the oil-based ink does not collect in undesirable regions of the printing plate.
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