Waterless printing is a type of offset lithographic printing that don't require water or dampening systems used in traditional printing. This technology uses a special silicone rubber coated printing plate, special ink, and means of temperature control on press. It is less environmentally damaging than conventional lithographic printing. The use of such technologies in current printers should be encouraged
Traditional printing technologies consume vast amount of resources, such as water, chemicals and energy. Almost all the big presses need thousands liters of water annually as part of their printing requirements. Using the technological advancement, waterless printing is able to reduce these environmental impacts. This printing technology uses Computer to plate (CtP) technology and silicon plates to eliminate chemicals and water altogether. Some of the waterless printers also use vegetable-based inks and Direct Ink (DI) technology exclusively to further reduce resource use, pollution and VOCs emissions.
The traditional waterless printing use dampening solutions that contain alcohols or petroleum-based solvents. These solutions constitutes of volatile organic compounds that contribute to smog. But a waterless press don't need 100,000 liters of water and 10,000 liters of alcohol annually that is consumed by a typical mid-size printer. In that way it wouldn't contribute to environmental problems.
At present waterless presses are running in the minority but they are rapidly gaining popularity. The waterless presses are also being praised for the reduced paper set-up waste and the high quality color reproduction.
Benefits of Waterless Printing
Strong alkaline solutions are not used at all
Complete elimination of dampening solution containing IPA and other pollutants
Major reduction in waste paper
Added value in printed materials