Overview of the History and Development of Offset Printing Machines

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news Admin 2023-01-13 09:00:13 1144

1、 The Development History of Printing

 

Movable type printing was developed from woodblock printing; It is also the main method of modern printing. The principle of movable type printing is to make individual characters in advance, select the type and layout according to the manuscript to be printed, and then directly print or reproduce them into a whole page for printing. After printing, the characters can also be disassembled and reused.

 

The invention of movable type printing was around the early Song Dynasty in the 11th century AD. This is also a period of social stability, economic development, and increased cultural demand. At this time, the printing quantity and variety of books greatly increased, and the labor required for woodblock printing was enormous, which was no longer sufficient and urgently needed improvement. Between 1041 and 1048 AD (during the Qingli reign of Emperor Renzong of Song Dynasty), Bi Sheng invented movable type printing. Shen Kuo, a famous scientist of the same era as Bi Sheng, has detailed records in his book "Mengxi Bi Tan".

 

Shen Kuo's record is proof of Bi Sheng's invention of movable type printing; And Bi Sheng's invention is a complete invention, with clear methods for typesetting, typesetting, and printing. Due to limitations at the time, Bi Sheng's invention was inevitably rough, but its basic principles were very similar to modern printing techniques; Compared with woodblock printing, movable type printing is both economical and convenient, with obvious advantages, gradually replacing the position of woodblock printing and becoming the mainstream of modern printing.

 

However, the superiority of movable type printing can only be demonstrated when a large number of books are continuously printed. When Bi Sheng invented movable type, the demand for books was not too high, and in addition, the rulers at that time never valued the invention and promotion of technology. Therefore, the movable type invented by Bi Sheng and the printed materials he printed using movable type printing did not receive widespread dissemination; Its development is quite slow.

 

After Bi Sheng, the development of movable type printing in China was mainly manifested in two aspects: changes in movable type materials and improvements in printing technology. These two aspects are often closely related.

 

The movable type material used by Bi Sheng is clay, which is called "clay movable type". The use of clay movable type continued until the Qing Dynasty in the 18th century, when people still used clay movable type to print books. However, clay type is prone to damage and cannot be durable, which is also the technical reason why Bi Sheng's method did not become popular at that time.

 

After using wood instead of glue to make movable type, movable type printing technology further developed. The first person to use wooden movable type printing for books was Wang Zhen in the early 13th century. Wang Zhen made great contributions to the development of movable type printing.

 

The application of copper movable type is a major event in the history of movable type printing. The copper movable type in China was first created by Hua Sui in the late 15th century (during the reign of Emperor Xiaozong Hongzhi of the Ming Dynasty). The "Qin Yi" (1490, the third year of the Ming Hongzhi reign) and "Rongzhai Wubi" (1495, the eighth year of the Ming Hongzhi reign) published by him are the earliest surviving copper movable script versions. After Hua Sui, copper movable type was once popular. Hua Sui invented copper movable type slightly later than the invention of lead alloy movable type in Gutenberg, Germany. But the invention of Hua Sui was independently completed on the basis of movable type printing in China, and is not related to the invention of Gutenberg. After the Ming Dynasty, the application of copper movable type gradually decreased, and neither the tin movable type invented earlier than Wang Zhen nor the lead movable type invented later than Hua Sui became popular. After the introduction of Western lead movable type printing into China, movable type printing has become the mainstream of modern printing again.

 

In short, movable type printing was a great invention in the mid-19th century in China, which had a direct impact on the emergence of modern printing. After the invention of movable type printing, it also had a certain application and development in China, but due to the limitations of social conditions, the development was relatively slow.

 

The woodblock printing technique invented in China has not made significant progress abroad, but the movable type printing technique invented in China has been further developed and improved abroad due to its applicability to large-scale printing, becoming the mainstream of modern printing. Korea and Europe have made outstanding improvements and significant developments in the movable type printing technique of ancient China. Especially in Gutenberg, Germany, the lead alloy movable type printing technique he created was widely used in various countries around the world and remains one of the main contemporary printing methods until now.

 

Gutenberg began researching movable type printing in 1436. By 1440, it was made into a spiral type hand wrench wooden printing machine. Starting from 1445, a factory was established to print books, including the 42nd line Bible and the Gatelian, which were exquisitely printed. In 1462, the factory in Gutenberg was destroyed by a big fire, and its employees scattered. The printing method, which had been kept as a secret, only gained the opportunity to spread.

 

There is not much difference in principle between the movable type printing technique created by Gutenberg and the movable type printing technique invented by Bi Sheng. However, Gutenberg achieved great success in the improvement of movable type materials, the application of fatty inks, and the creation of printing machines, laying the foundation of modern printing. The material used by Gutenberg for movable type is an alloy of lead, zinc, and antimony, which is much easier to form and suitable for printing than the wooden and copper movable types used in the past. Even today, 500 years later, the composition of this combination has not changed. In the process of casting characters, Gutenberg used a type box and copper type mold, making it easy to control the specifications of movable types and facilitate mass production. This is much more advanced than the sanding method used by China and North Korea to cast movable type at that time. Gutenberg also pioneered fatty ink as a substitute for water-based ink, greatly improving the quality of printing. Fatty ink has also been used in modern printing techniques since then. The book printing machine invented by Gutenberg improved the printing operation. Although it was relatively simple, it became the basis of later printing machines and remained in use for over 400 years without much change. The above are all the technical reasons why Bi Sheng's movable type printing did not become widely popular when he invented it. The creation of Gutenberg took a great leap forward in printing, and the achievements of Gutenberg are worthy of eternal commemoration.

 

Gutenberg's casting, typesetting, and printing methods, as well as his pioneering spiral trigger printing machine, have been used in various countries around the world for over 400 years. During this period, the scale of the printing industry was not very large, and printing factories were also of a handicraft nature, with printing technology mainly relying on manual operations. In the early 19th century, there were lower speed circular press and two rotary press, both of which were improvements to the hand press.

 

It was not until 1845 that Germany produced the first rapid printing machine that the mechanization of printing technology began.

 

In 1860, the United States produced the first batch of rotary printers, followed by Germany's production of dual color fast printing machines, newspaper printing rotary machines, and dual color rotary machines. By 1900, six color rotary machines were produced. Since 1845, about a century has passed, and various industrialized countries have successively completed the mechanization of the printing industry. The printing industry has been quite developed, and the printing technology is also relatively advanced. During this period, typesetting mainly relied on casting; Printing is mainly done using relief printing machines; The various processes of binding have also been mechanized.

 

Afterwards, with the rapid development of electronic technology, printing technology entered the stage of automation. In recent years, printing technology has continuously adopted the achievements of emerging scientific technologies such as electronic technology, laser technology, information science, and polymer chemistry. The application of electronic computers has also become increasingly widespread, becoming a symbol of the technological level of the 1970s. In terms of text layout, automatic phototypesetting technology is constantly developing and will gradually replace the casting method; Great progress has been made. Since the successful development of photosensitive resin plates in 1957, more than ten types have been produced in various countries, making them ideal printing plate materials. In terms of binding, countries are striving to achieve automation, high-speed, and linkage. In short, with the rapid development of modern science and technology, printing technology is also rapidly changing its appearance.

 

2、 The Development History of Printing Machines

 

A printing machine is an automatic machine that uses printing pressure to transfer ink applied to the surface of a printing plate and firmly adhere it to the surface of paper or other substrate. It applies the principle of replication to copy the original image and text onto the surface of paper or other substrate through the action of pressure.

 

Since the first vertical spiral hand press invented by the German Gutenberg in 1440, it has been continuously developed and has formed three main categories: relief, lithography, and gravure printing machines. Relief printing has always dominated the printing industry in the 1960s. There are now hundreds of different forms, types, and models of relief printing machines, forming a relatively complete series of relief printing. Flat printing machines have developed rapidly in recent years. Due to the advantages of thin and light plate material, as well as flexibility, offset printing is suitable for high-speed rotary printing machines. In addition, the use of photosensitive imaging principle during plate making eliminates the need for lead alloy casting, eliminating lead pollution. Therefore, not only has offset printing greatly improved in quantity, but also in variety and performance, it is becoming increasingly perfect. At present, the single sheet lithography printing machine mainly focuses on high-speed printing, and recently, a single sheet B-B double-sided monochrome lithography printing machine has been developed. The production of web offset printing machines has formed a series. But their embossing forms are all circular press presses.

 

The gravure printing machine is generally a circular pressing mechanism. Among the three main printing methods, gravure printing is the youngest and was promoted and used around 1910. It uses different depths of mesh holes on copper printing plates to transfer ink to the substrate under pressure. The thickness of the ink layer determines the depth of the imprint, which reflects the level of the image.

 

Gravure printing machines can be divided into photo gravure printing machines and engraving gravure printing machines according to their different plate making methods. At present, there are relatively few domestic manufacturers and output of gravure printing machines, and their proportion in the printing industry is also small. The main reason for the slow development of gravure printing in China is the outdated plate making process, long cycle, lack of advanced plate making and testing equipment, and therefore the quality is not stable enough. Meanwhile, the flammability and toxicity of benzene ink are also one of the factors affecting the development of gravure printing. However, with the development of electronic technology, the widespread application of electronic engraving machines, and the successful development of latex based water-based gravure printing inks, all will promote the development of gravure printing machines.

 

In the past decade, the development trend of the three main printing methods abroad has been: the shrinkage of letterpress printing, the rapid rise of lithography printing, and the balance of gravure printing. In addition, screen printing and a branch of letterpress printing - flexographic printing - have developed to some extent in packaging, decoration, and advertising.

 

3、 Classification of printing machines

 

There are various types of printing machines, and according to different classification methods, they can be:

 

(1) According to the types of impression structures, they can be divided into three types: flat press printing machines; Circular flat printing machines include stop rotary printing machines, one rotary printing machines, two rotary printing machines, and reciprocating rotary printing machines; Circular press printing machine.

 

(2) According to the types of printing plates, they can be divided into four types: relief printing machines, offset printing machines, gravure printing machines, hole printing machines, and special (plate) printing machines.

 

The first three types of printing machines have a large number and are widely used, while the latter two have developed in recent years with the rapid development of the packaging and decoration industry and the needs of printing.

 

As is well known, both concave and convex printing use the difference in height between the image and text on the printing plate to distinguish between the image and text on the printing plate and the blank part. When printing, an imprinting mechanism is used to directly transfer the ink applied to the surface of the printing plate image and text onto the substrate (such as paper). On the other hand, a lithography press uses a chemical reaction method based on the principle of mutual repulsion between water and ink. Before inking the printing plate, the white part above the printing plate is first watered by a water roller, and then the image and text part is inked. In the printing process of a lithographic printing machine, the ink on the printing plate image and text is first transferred to a rubber drum, and then the rubber drum and imprinting drum print the image and text onto the substrate during the imprinting process.

 

Hole plate printing machine generally refers to a screen printing machine, which has different shapes of mesh on the printing plate. Under pressure, ink leaks onto the printing material through the mesh and becomes the printed product.

 

(3) According to the feeding method, it can be divided into single sheet printing machine and web printing machine.

 

(4) According to the size of the paper format, it can be divided into: full sheet format A series is 880 × 1230mm, 900 × 1280mm, 1000 for B series × 1400mm, as for 787 × 1092mm is implemented as a standard and can still be used during the transition phase, gradually phased out before 2000.

 

Fold the long edges of the entire sheet of paper in half to form a split; Fold the long side of the folio paper in half to form a four fold, and then fold the long side in half to form an eight fold. Due to the fact that there are two series of sizes for the entire sheet of paper, A and B, there are also corresponding size series for the four open and eight open printing machines.

 

(5) According to the number of printing faces, it can be divided into single sided printing machines and double sided printing machines.

 

(6) According to the different number of printing colors, it can be divided into single color printing machines, dual color printing machines, and multi color printing machines.

 

(7) According to their usage, they can be divided into: newspaper printing machines, book printing machines, color and special printing machines, etc.

 

(8) According to the degree of automation, it can be divided into automatic printing machines and semi-automatic printing machines.

 

4、 Composition and Function of Printing Machine

 

Due to the wide variety and diverse uses of printing machines, their composition also varies. But overall, various printing presses are basically composed of the following major components:

 

(1) Paper feeding system: mainly composed of paper feeding head (commonly known as Feida), paper feeding table, and cardboard feeding.

 

During the paper conveying process in a single paper printing machine, paper positioning is required, therefore, positioning components (regular components) and paper acceleration components (paper feeder mechanism) need to be installed. The paper is continuously (or continuously) separated from the feeding table through the feeding head one by one, passes through the feeding board, is positioned, and quickly delivered to the printing component for printing.

 

For web printing machines, there are paper racks, paper roll brake mechanisms, automatic registration adjustment devices, and automatic paper receiving devices in the paper feeding system to ensure constant tension and accurate printing during the printing process.

 

There are many types of paper conveyors, which have been standardized and have good working performance, and are constantly improving.

 

(2) Printing system: This is the core component of a printing machine. For different types of printing machines, their printing system and composition are different. If there is a platen and an embossing cylinder (or an embossing flat plate) on the platform printing machine; Relief and gravure rotary printing machines have a printing plate cylinder and an embossing cylinder; The lithographic printing machine mainly consists of plate rollers, rubber rollers, and embossing rollers. In addition, there are also pressure release and closing mechanisms of the drum, as well as pressure adjustment mechanisms. The design of this component in printing machinery directly affects printing quality, productivity, overall dimensions, and the lifespan of the machine.

 

(3) Ink conveying system: This system mainly consists of an ink supply section, a uniform ink section, an inking section, and a mechanism for ensuring ink supply and stopping, as well as a clutch and pressure adjustment mechanism. Its function is to evenly apply ink to the printing plate regularly and quantitatively.

 

(4) Wetting system: This system is used on lithographic printing machines. It regularly, quantitatively, and evenly applies water to the non graphic blank areas on the printing plate surface. It mainly consists of water supply, uniform water supply, and water supply parts, as well as separation and closure mechanisms for water supply and shutdown. In recent years, there has been significant development in wetting systems and there are also many structural forms.

 

(5) Paper receiving system: In a single sheet printing machine, it is used to collect and stack printed paper, flattening, or stacking the printed sheets for easy transportation. In a web printing machine, the function of this system is to cut the printed pages into book stickers or newspapers and magazines, and to rewind them into cylindrical shapes. Therefore, its structure is equipped with a page splitting and cutting mechanism or a rewinding mechanism.

 

5、 Model designation of printing machines

 

(1) JB/2106-73 (Trial implementation on July 1, 1973)

 

This standard stipulates that domestic single sheet offset printing machines use the first letter "J" of the Chinese pinyin "Jiao" as the first character of the offset printing machine model. The second character of the model represents the size of the printing format of the machine, and the number "4" represents the "quarto" paper. The third Arabic numeral of the model represents the color number of each printing, and the four or five Arabic numerals of the model represent the size of the printing format

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