Due to our unique operational efficiency Chilliprinting is able to offer quality offset poster printing at an incredibly competitive price. Our repeat customers know and trust the great value. We are able to offer at amazingly affordable rates, but new customers often contact us and ask us just how we are able to sustain these prices for our offset printed posters. Some even suspect we are selling posters of a lower grade quality when in fact we are not. Because our Chilliprinting posters are such a successful product and our customers continue to be curious about just how we can achieve such competitiveness. We have decided to explain the printing process in this blog post. There is no magic and no great secret: we simply focus our efforts on what we do best. Delivering high-quality prints at an affordable price.
To explain how we can be so cost-effective at printing posters and other products, let us begin with a brief overview of how offset printing works in general. Offset printers are traditionally four-color machines using the CMYK colorspace. Each of the four colors Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black has an oil-based ink in the machine. The ink is applied with a roller to the printing plate, from where it is transferred onto paper with a rubber mat or roller. The four colors are applied consecutively, each requiring its own printing plate and roller. It is also possible to use different inks for special colors or even effects.
As you can imagine, this process is time-consuming to set up. In contrast to digital printing, where setup and color correction for a print job can be a matter of minutes (see also our blog post about the differences between digital and offset print), it can take a good half hour to ready an offset printer for an individual print run. The important necessary tasks include changing the printing plates. Then washing the machine (an absolute must when you use different colors). Also changing the transfer rubber, changing and setting up the paper. And setting up the speed of the machine to fit the need of the print job.
Then, you have to make a couple of test runs. For roughly the first hundred printed sheets, the colors can still change, so they have to be measured in order to guarantee an exact color match. In layman’s terms, you could say the machine has to “warm up”. Only when the print result is stable and the colors match will the machine run at full speed for the entire print run. In effect, for a print job of a couple of hundred posters, for example, the set up time is usually longer than the actual printing time, which can be a couple of minutes for only a few hundred sheets.
As printing specialists, we looked at the process for printing posters and other products and identified a few key areas for optimization. As you will see, our approach was not to reduce quality in order to reduce costs. We set the goal to maintain our high standard of printing quality and made the setup for print jobs much more efficient at the same time.
Chilliprinting uses highly specialized offset printing machines which offer a particular advantage for short print runs. These printers reach operational conditions much faster, meaning their “warm up time” is much shorter. In addition, we have dedicated machines for certain print products, which reduces setup time because raw materials will be identical or alike, such as paper, for example. We optimized the process of preparing each machine for print runs, leading to a drastic reduction in print times. Instead of taking half an hour, we can run a print job of 100 sheets in roughly 7 minutes, 4-5 out of which are necessary for preparation.
Does that mean we leave out steps during quality assurance? No, not at all. We have simply standardized our color workflow. We frequently calibrate the colors to ensure an exact color match. But we eliminated the need for individual color measurements before each print job.
We print all posters in CMYK space on our specialized poster machine. Therefore there is no need for color washing the machine between jobs since the inks in use remain the same. The colors fit from the beginning. In other words, you could say the machine literally “stays warm”. While this does not allow for individual color treatment, any print jobs requiring special treatment. Are simply routed to a different printer so as not to disrupt the existing workflow on our poster printing machine.
This optimization enables us to print 5 times as many sheets per hour. Compared to an offset printer without our efficient workflow. Effectively, our production costs are 5 times lower using this highly optimized and efficient process.
Because we use dedicated printing machines for key products, the processing after the poster printing is optimized as well. We standardized the trimming and packaging of our posters and other products so that we move quickly and effectively from receiving your data for printing to a finished product ready to ship.
As you can see, we have eliminated the inefficient gaps in the workflow. And we are working with a highly professional process. The quality of the prints, the paper, packaging and our handling and processing of your printing data is same as for all high-quality print products. In fact, lower grade material would not work with our model as we would not be able to process low quality paper or ink at the same speed.
When we’re not printing, we’re not making money. So we have successfully achieved a dedicated workflow where the downtime for each of our offset poster printing machines goes towards zero. Our output per hour has risen 5-fold, resulting in production costs that are five times lower as well. But instead of keeping the difference, we pass these savings onto you. That is the secret behind why our Chilliprinting posters and print products are so damn cheap and of such high quality. Because we’re constantly improving our efficiency.
For us this is offset printing at its best. Thanks to our professional approach and workflow optimization, we have effectively reduced production cost and time. And are able to offer you a high quality print product at a very competitive price. Try our Chilliprinting cheap posters and convince yourself of the great quality of our print products!
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