This process of DVD printing utilises pre-manufactured printable DVDRs. The discs will either have a bright or even a silver printable surface which is receptive to an inkjet printer. Printable DVDRs are widely available in high street stores or online and even high quality discs are inexpensive.
A Digital DVD printer works on the same principle as a computer inkjet printer. The cyan, magenta, yellow and black ink cartridges are loaded in to the printer and a printer head makes a series of 咭片設計 passes on the printable disc surface depositing the ink based on the artwork file. It’s possible to print extremely detailed high resolution images by using this printing method but it has a couple of drawbacks:
The digital DVD printing process is slow compared to other printing processes – Commercial digital DVD printers are just capable of printing as much as 200 DVDs unattended and each print may take up to a minute depending upon the complexity of the artwork.
Each disc must be finished with a level of clear lacquer – that is to protect the printed surface from potential moisture damage when handled. This adds more delay to the process.
However, this DVD printing process does have no fixed create cost which makes it ideal for brief runs of significantly less than 100 DVDs which is really a service that is greatly in demand with the advance of the digital download.
DVD Screen Printing
Screen printing is just a tried and tested printing method that has been used in the industry printing industry for decades. DVD screen printing is a variation of this process, modified allowing printing onto a disc. This technique is great for printing aspects of solid colour using vibrantly coloured inks mixed from various proportions of base cyan, magenta, yellow and black ink. There’s also fluorescent and metallic inks designed for use with this process.
A screen printing machine includes a large rotating platform. The platform is split into 5 printing stations with a UV lamp between each station and the next. DVDs with a foundation coat of any colour could be printed on, which allows for a maximum of 6 different colours in the artwork design.
The printing screen, where the procedure gets its name, is just a very fine mesh screen which is initially covered with a thermally reactive emulsion. A different screen is required for all the colours featured in the final artwork and a celluloid film is also made for each colour. The film is black in the areas where the colour is required on the disc, and clear where it is not required. The film is attached along with a display and placed into an exposure unit. A warm, bright light is then briefly started up on the the surface of the film. Where in actuality the light and heat have the clear portions of the film to the screen beneath, the thermal emulsion on the screen is hardened. Where in actuality the film is black, heat and light don’t move across the film and so the emulsion remains unchanged.
The screen is then transferred to a spray booth where it is sprayed with a superb water jet. The water washes away the emulsion which includes not hardened leaving a display where ink can move across the mesh only in certain areas where that colour is required based on the design. The screen is then fitted to its station on the DVD screen printing machine. Another 4 screens are prepared in the exact same way and the machine is then willing to print.
The DVDs are loaded onto the printing machine automatically. They are presented on spindles and each disc is lifted by an automatic arm with soft rubber vacuum cups. The DVD is positioned right into a metal jig which holds the disc securely to avoid any movement whilst it is being printed. The metal jigs are arranged around the machine and the DVDs are loaded, printed and then removed once printing is complete. A DVD that has been printed and then removed is replaced at the next machine rotation with a new unprinted disc. This technique continues before the production run is complete.
At each station an alternative coloured ink is applied to the disc each time a rubber squeegee blade passes on the screen. The screen is pressed down onto the disc surface and the ink is forced through the mesh by the blade. After the ink has been applied the blade returns to its starting position ready for the next disc. The equipment platen rotates one position and the freshly printed disc passes under a UV lamp. The UV light from the lamp cures the ink instantly and the disc moves to another location station where the next coloured ink could be applied without any likelihood of smearing of the previously applied ink. The printing and curing process is quickly and a modern DVD screen printer is capable of printing more than 3,500 DVDs within an hour.
The requirement for screens and films for every different ink colour in the design to be printed onto the DVD, means there are fixed costs associated with this process. These costs could be minimised by limiting how many colours mixed up in DVD print design. It’s perfectly possible to design an attractive disc using merely a single colour print onto a printable silver DVD. The fixed cost, however, does ensure it is a less viable process for tiny orders of significantly less than 100 DVDs.
Lithographic DVD Printing (Offset printing)
This technique, as with DVD screen printing, is a well known printing method for producing high resolution images in some recoverable format or card stock and has been adapted to suit DVDs. Lithographic printing is the best process for producing DVDs with a photographic print or artwork involving a simple colour gradient but is not great for printing artwork that has large aspects of solid colour because of potential coverage issues which may cause a “patchy” print.
The lithographic DVD printing process involves making a metal printing plate which is curved around a roller. The basic principle at use this process is that printing ink and water don’t mix. The printing plate surface is treated in some areas such that it attracts ink, the residual areas are treated to attract water and not ink. The effect is a publishing plate that can be introduced to ink which only adheres to it where required. The ink on the printing plate is transferred or “offset” to a different roller that includes a rubber blanket wrapped around it. The rubber blanket roller applies the ink to the DVD which is held firmly in invest a steel jig on the machine bed.
This technique is equally as fast whilst the screen printing process and so many a large number of DVDs could be printed every hour that the machine is running. Yet again, you can find fixed create costs involved here and so the price to print orders of significantly less than 100 DVDs is high.
DVD Printing Process Summary
In summary, if your project is limited to a tiny run of discs then digital DVD printing is how you can go. There is obviously no print quality compromise with digital printing over one other 2 processes and although it may be the slowest process, this is simply not really relevant if you’re only having 50 discs printed. There are lots of companies specialising in 24 to 48 hour turnarounds on short runs of discs who utilize this printing method exclusively and have it right down to a superb art.
For projects where the total amount of discs required is over 100 and the artwork features bold, solid colours, then the DVD printing process of preference needs to be screen printing. The metallic and fluorescent inks designed for this process make for some truly eye-catching and distinctive designs. If the artwork for the discs is just a photographic image or includes a subtle colour gradient, then the printing process best worthy of this sort of artwork could be Lithographic printing. For screen and lithographic printing, the more units ordered, the cheaper the machine cost becomes