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Modern high-volume lithography

is used to produce posters, books, newspapers, and packaging —just about any smooth, mass-produced item with print on it.

In this form of lithography, which depends on photographic processes, flexible aluminum or plastic printing plates are used in place of stone tablets. Modern printing plates have a brushed or roughened texture and are covered with a photosensitive emulsion. A photographic negative of the desired image is placed in contact with the emulsion and the plate is exposed to light. After development, the emulsion shows a reverse of the negative image, which is thus a duplicate of the original (positive) image. The image on the plate emulsion can also be created through direct laser imaging in a CTP (Computer-To-Plate) device called a platesetter. The positive image is the emulsion that remains after imaging. For many years, chemicals have been used to remove the non-image emulsion, but now plates are available that do not require chemical processing.

 

 

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Alphabetical Listings

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A J Printing & Graphics
1350 Central Ave # 1, Santa Rosa, CA 707 525-8600

Anderson Lithograph Co
Sausalito, CA 415 331-1746

Berry Lithography
241 N 10th St, Sacramento, CA 916-448-1129

Benchmark Lithography
2875 Bardy Rd, Santa Rosa, CA 707 523-2838

Descalso Lithograph
±
2145 Francisco Blvd E, San Rafael, CA 415 454-4290

Expressions Lithography
135 10th St, San Francisco, CA 415 255-9600

Gibson Publications
544 Curtola Pkwy, Vallejo, CA 707 643-2552

O'Dell Printing Co
5460 State Farm Dr # 11, Rohnert Park, CA 707 585-2718

Performance Printing Ctr
65 Lovell Ave, San Rafael, CA 415 485-5878

Printing Shop
125 E A St, Dixon, CA 707 678-1000

San Anselmo Printing Ink
44 Greenfield Ave, San Anselmo, CA 415 453-3200
 
 
 
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The plate is affixed to a drum on a printing press. Rollers apply water, which covers the blank portions of the plate but is repelled by the emulsion of the image area. Ink, applied by other rollers, is repelled by the water and only adheres to the emulsion of the image area--such as the type and photographs on a newspaper page.

If this image were directly transferred to paper, it would create a positive image, but the paper would become too wet. Instead, the plate rolls against a drum covered with a rubber blanket, which squeezes away the water and picks up the ink. The paper rolls across the blanket drum and the image is transferred to the paper. Because the image is first transferred, or offset to the rubber drum, this reproduction method is known as offset lithography or offset printing.

Many innovations and technical refinements have been made in printing processes and presses over the years, including the development of presses with multiple units (each containing one printing plate) that can print multi-color images in one pass on both sides of the sheet, and presses that accommodate continuous rolls (webs) of paper, known as web presses. Another innovation was the continuous dampening system first introduced by Dahlgren. This increased control over the water flow to the plate and allowed for better ink and water balance. Current dampening systems include a "delta effect" which slows the roller in contact with the plate, thus creating a sweeping movement over the ink image to clean impurities known as "hickies".

The advent of desktop publishing made it possible for type and images to be manipulated easily on personal computers for eventual printing on desktop or commercial presses. The development of digital imagesetters enabled print shops to produce negatives for platemaking directly from digital input, skipping the intermediate step of photographing an actual page layout. The development of the digital platesetter in the late twentieth century eliminated film negatives altogether by exposing printing plates directly from digital input, a process known as computer to plate printing.
 
 
 
 

 

 
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