Printing Companies
  1. About Printing Industry
  2. Printing Services
  3. Print Buyers
  4. Printing Resources
  5. Classified Ads
  6. Printing Glossary
  7. Printing Newsletters
  8. Contact Print Industry
Who We Are

Printing Industry Exchange ( is pleased to have Steven Waxman writing and managing the Printing Industry Blog. As a printing consultant, Steven teaches corporations how to save money buying printing, brokers printing services, and teaches prepress techniques. Steven has been in the printing industry for thirty-three years working as a writer, editor, print buyer, photographer, graphic designer, art director, and production manager.

Need a Printing Quote from multiple printers? click here.

Are you a Printing Company interested in joining our service? click here.

The Printing Industry Exchange (PIE) staff are experienced individuals within the printing industry that are dedicated to helping and maintaining a high standard of ethics in this business. We are a privately owned company with principals in the business having a combined total of 103 years experience in the printing industry.

PIE's staff is here to help the print buyer find competitive pricing and the right printer to do their job, and also to help the printing companies increase their revenues by providing numerous leads they can quote on and potentially get new business.

This is a free service to the print buyer. All you do is find the appropriate bid request form, fill it out, and it is emailed out to the printing companies who do that type of printing work. The printers best qualified to do your job, will email you pricing and if you decide to print your job through one of these print vendors, you contact them directly.

We have kept the PIE system simple -- we get a monthly fee from the commercial printers who belong to our service. Once the bid request is submitted, all interactions are between the print buyers and the printers.

We are here to help, you can contact us by email at

Custom Printing: Hybrid Presses Mix Offset and Inkjet Technology

I learned a new word today: “bespoke.” It means “to a buyer’s specification” (Wikipedia), and in the most recent era of print production it means that presses are being manufactured to exactly fit the print supplier’s needs. Think of it as “mass customization” for printing professionals (hardware, that is, rather than printed products).

“Combining the Best of Both Worlds with Hybrid Inkjet Presses,” an article by Jo Francis in the November 15, 2012, issue of Print Week, addresses not only the benefits of combining offset and digital elements on the same printing press but also the trend toward users’ designing their own hybrid presses on the fly, as the situation warrants. This is exciting.

Examples of Hybrid Technology

Here are some examples noted in the Print Week article:

  1. Anton Group in Essex, Komatsu in Japan, and Axel Springer in Germany have incorporated Kodak Prosper inkjet printheads into their Heidelberg, Ryobi, and Manroland presses.
  2. Focus Label Machinery in Nottingham has incorporated Konica Minolta Colourprint heads into their label press. When they’re not using the inkjet heads, they can be moved out of the way.
  3. Press manufacturer KBA has incorporated inkjet technology into its RotaJet 76 inkjet web press using Kyocera printheads.
  4. Timsons has created a continuous inkjet book printing press, the T-Print, using Kodak printheads.

Implications for Hybrid Printing

This movement within the inkjet arena has several implications for custom printing:

  1. It means the quality and speed of inkjet technology have reached a level that now competes with the quality of offset lithography.
  2. It reflects the ingenuity within the community of commercial printing providers. For example, instead of merely buying a Kodak Prosper press, many printers are attaching Prosper printheads to existing offset sheetfed equipment. When the press is operating at full speed, the offset printing and variable data inkjetting can proceed at approximately 10,000 sheets per hour rather than the 3,000 to 5,000 sheet-per-hour rate of typical personalization equipment.
  3. It reflects the flexibility of these custom printing solutions. For instance, one printer referenced in Francis’ article, Anton Group, has both an 18,000 sheet-per-hour Speedmaster with four inkjet heads and six more inkjet printheads attached to an offline system to be used for shorter runs, thicker paper stocks, and as a back-up option when needed.

The Bottom Line: Higher Quality, Lower Cost, Faster Turn-Around

Here are some benefits these hybrid offset/inkjet presses offer:

  1. Commercial printing suppliers are saving energy, reducing waste, providing only the amount of printed material the client needs, and saving time by marrying static data and variable data on one press instead of producing separate offset and inkjet press runs.
  2. Drying technology is in place for continuous stream inkjet, allowing custom printing vendors to use both coated and uncoated paper stocks.
  3. Personalization significantly increases the response rate of direct mail printing. Hybrid technology reduces the cost of digital printing supplies while increasing the response rates of printed direct mail products.
  4. Due to the comprehensive nature of the technology as well as its speed, efficiency, and low cost, hybrid printing will be ideal not only for personalized address information but also for multiple areas of text and images within a printed product, as well as barcodes, QR codes, and security codes.

Next Steps for Hybrid Printing Technology

  1. The Print Week article notes several print providers that are producing black-only work (primarily books) but that plan to incorporate process color inkjet capabilities in the near future. This is particularly encouraging since color increases response rates in direct mail marketing materials, and variable data color will increase response rates even further.
  2. Printers are moving toward printing duplex (both sides of the press sheet) rather than just simplex (one side of the sheet at a time) jobs with the hybrid offset/inkjet equipment.
  3. A “digital bar” (as opposed to distinct inkjet heads) already exists, according to Francis’ article, that includes inkjet printheads “seamlessly stitched together, so [the] image area covers the whole sheet or web width.” This means that inkjet text or images can be placed anywhere on the substrate (i.e., designs don’t need to be altered to position variable data under specific printheads). At this point, the digital bar is 17”; by next year it will be 30”.

So things are really moving in this arena of custom printing technology.

4 Responses to “Custom Printing: Hybrid Presses Mix Offset and Inkjet Technology”

  1. Thanks for this post. Very detailed and helpful. I hope it will work well for me, too.

  2. Valuable information and excellent design you got here! I would like to thank you for sharing your thoughts and time into the stuff you post!! Thumbs up

    • admin says:

      I appreciate your support. I’m glad you find the information useful. Keep checking back, or set up an RSS feed.


Recent Posts


Read and subscribe to our newsletter!

Printing Services include all print categories listed below & more!
4-color Catalogs
Affordable Brochures: Pricing
Affordable Flyers
Book Binding Types and Printing Services
Book Print Services
Booklet, Catalog, Window Envelopes
Brochures: Promotional, Marketing
Bumper Stickers
Business Cards
Business Stationery and Envelopes
Catalog Printers
Cheap Brochures
Color, B&W Catalogs
Color Brochure Printers
Color Postcards
Commercial Book Printers
Commercial Catalog Printing
Custom Decals
Custom Labels
Custom Posters Printers
Custom Stickers, Product Labels
Custom T-shirt Prices
Decals, Labels, Stickers: Vinyl, Clear
Digital, On-Demand Books Prices
Digital Poster, Large Format Prints
Discount Brochures, Flyers Vendors
Envelope Printers, Manufacturers
Label, Sticker, Decal Companies
Letterhead, Stationary, Stationery
Magazine Publication Quotes
Monthly Newsletter Pricing
Newsletter, Flyer Printers
Newspaper Printing, Tabloid Printers
Online Book Price Quotes
Paperback Book Printers
Postcard Printers
Post Card Mailing Service
Postcards, Rackcards
Postcard Printers & Mailing Services
Post Card Direct Mail Service
Poster, Large Format Projects
Posters (Maps, Events, Conferences)
Print Custom TShirts
Screen Print Cards, Shirts
Shortrun Book Printers
Tabloid, Newsprint, Newspapers
T-shirts: Custom Printed Shirts
Tshirt Screen Printers
Printing Industry Exchange, LLC, P.O. Box 394, Bluffton, SC 29910
©2019 Printing Industry Exchange, LLC - All rights reserved