This process of DVD printing utilises pre-manufactured printable DVDRs. The discs will either have a white or even a silver printable surface that is receptive to an inkjet printer. Printable DVDRs are widely available in high street stores or online and even top quality discs are inexpensive.
A Digital DVD printer works for a passing fancy principle as a desktop inkjet printer. The cyan, magenta, yellow and black ink cartridges are loaded into the printer and a printer head makes a series of passes over the printable disc surface depositing the ink in line with the artwork file. It is possible to print extremely detailed high res images using this printing method nonetheless it comes with a couple of drawbacks:
The digital DVD printing process is slow compared to other printing processes – Commercial digital DVD printers are only effective at printing around 200 DVDs unattended and each print will take up to a minute dependant on the complexity of the artwork.
Each disc needs to be finished with a layer of clear lacquer – this 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 set up cost which makes it ideal for short runs of less than 100 DVDs which is really a service that’s quite definitely in demand with the advance of the digital download.
DVD Screen Printing
Screen printing is really a tried and tested printing method that’s been used in the industry printing industry for decades. DVD screen printing is a variation of this technique, modified to permit printing onto a disc. This technique is great for printing regions of solid colour using vibrantly coloured inks mixed from various proportions of base cyan, magenta, yellow and black ink. Additionally there are fluorescent and metallic inks designed for use with this process.
A display 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 base coat of any colour can be printed on, which allows for no more than 6 different colours in the artwork design.
The printing screen, from which the method gets its name, is really a very fine mesh screen that is initially covered with a thermally reactive emulsion. A different screen is necessary for all the colours featured in the ultimate artwork and a celluloid film can also be designed for each colour. The film is black in the areas where in fact the colour is necessary on the disc, and clear where it’s not required. The film is attached together with a screen and placed into an exposure unit. A hot, bright light is then briefly switched on over the top of the film. Where in actuality the light and heat feel 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 pass through the film and so the emulsion remains unchanged.
The screen is then used in a spray booth where it’s sprayed with a fine water jet. The water washes away the emulsion which has not hardened leaving a screen where ink can pass through the mesh only using areas where that colour is necessary in line with the design. The screen is then fitted to its station on the DVD screen printing machine. One other 4 screens are prepared in the same way and the equipment is then ready to print.
The DVDs are loaded onto the printing machine automatically. They’re presented on spindles and each disc is lifted by a robotic arm with soft rubber vacuum cups. The DVD is placed in to a metal jig which holds the disc securely to stop any movement whilst it will be printed. The metal jigs are arranged around the equipment and the DVDs are loaded, printed and then removed once printing is complete. A DVD that’s been printed and then removed is replaced at the following machine rotation with a new unprinted disc. This technique continues until the production run is complete.
At each station a different coloured ink is applied to the disc whenever a rubber squeegee blade passes over the screen. The screen is pressed down onto the disc surface and the ink is forced through the mesh by the blade. When the ink has been applied the blade returns to its starting position ready for the following disc. The device platen rotates one position and the freshly printed disc passes under a UV lamp. 印咭片 The UV light from the lamp cures the ink instantly and the disc moves to another location station where the following coloured ink can be applied without the chance of smearing of the previously applied ink. The printing and curing process is quickly and a modern DVD screen printer is effective at printing significantly more than 3,500 DVDs in a hour.
The requirement for screens and films for every single different ink colour in the design to be printed onto the DVD, means there are fixed costs associated with this process. These costs can be minimised by limiting the amount of colours involved in the DVD print design. It is perfectly possible to style a stylish disc using merely a single colour print onto a printable silver DVD. The fixed cost, however, does allow it to be a less viable process for really small orders of less than 100 DVDs.
Lithographic DVD Printing (Offset printing)
This technique, much like DVD screen printing, is a favorite printing method for producing high res images written down or card stock and has been adapted to suit DVDs. Lithographic printing is the better process for producing DVDs with a photographic print or artwork involving a simple colour gradient but is not great for printing artwork that’s large regions of solid colour due to potential coverage issues which may create a “patchy” print.
The lithographic DVD printing process involves making a metal printing plate that is curved around a roller. The essential principle at work with this technique is that printing ink and water don’t mix. The printing plate surface is treated in some areas such that it attracts ink, the rest of the areas are treated to attract water and not ink. The effect is a publishing plate which 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 which has a rubber blanket wrapped around it. The rubber blanket roller applies the ink to the DVD that is held firmly in invest a metal jig on the equipment bed.
This technique is quite as fast as the screen printing process and so many tens and thousands of DVDs can be printed every hour that the equipment is running. Yet again, you can find fixed set up costs involved here and so the cost to print orders of less than 100 DVDs is high.
DVD Printing Process Summary
In summary, if your project is only for a tiny run of discs then digital DVD printing is how you can go. There is unquestionably no print quality compromise with digital printing over another 2 processes and though it is the slowest process, this is not really relevant if you’re only having 50 discs printed. There are many companies specialising in 24 to 48 hour turnarounds on short runs of discs who use this printing method exclusively and own it right down to a fine art.
For projects where the quantity of discs required is over 100 and the artwork features bold, solid colours, then your DVD printing process of choice needs to be screen printing. The metallic and fluorescent inks designed for this technique make for some truly eye-catching and distinctive designs. If the artwork for the discs is really a photographic image or includes a subtle colour gradient, then your printing process best suited to this kind of artwork could be Lithographic printing. For screen and lithographic printing, the more units ordered, the cheaper the system cost becomes