Sheet Fed Offset Presses

Sheet fed offset printing is a method that printing companies use to print a variety of products including brochures, business cards, books or even cardboard boxes. This method of printing works by feeding individual pieces of paper into the printing press and is ideal for small to medium size jobs. One can do high quality printing on different lightweight and heavy paper stocks including types of cardboard. While sometimes color variation can be an issue, the overall image quality is superior to other printing processes like web printing and digital. Modern sheet fed presses have electronic controls to give easy control of the color quality, which means less waste and shortens printing time. Some sheet fed presses have a perfector cylinder that allows both sides of the paper to print in one pass, whereas older machines require you to run the paper through twice to get each side printed.

Are There Different Sizes of Sheet Fed Offset Presses?

You can group these presses into three different sizes.

  • Small offset: This type of press prints on paper up to 14 by 17 inches. Their function is mostly for small local printers to produce business cards, business forms, flyers, and stationery. Often they can only print one or two ink colors.
  • Medium offset: Medium offset presses print on paper up to 25 by 38 inches and can print two or more colors. These machines do printing color work in runs of 5, 000 to 20, 000 and are generally for medium to large print companies.
  • Large offset: The largest offset press is able to print on paper up to 49 by 74 inches and can print large runs of color work. They can handle jobs of up to 100, 000 pieces.

Can I Buy Spare Parts for My Sheet Fed Offset Press?

Like with all machines, sometimes you will need to replace the parts on a sheet fed offset press due to damage or general wear and tear. The types of parts you can find include:

  • Press rollers: These are the parts which are responsible for transporting dampening fluid and ink to the printing plate. You will need to replace these about every two years on a machine that has frequent use.
  • Vacuum pump: Vacuum pumps suck air from the engine to reduce air pressure build up.
  • Delivery grippers: These are the parts that help guide paper through the machine to the plates, so one should keep it in good condition for hassle-free printing.

What is the Difference Between Sheet Fed Printing and Web Printing?

Sheet fed printing uses individual sheets of paper, whereas web printing uses a continuous roll of paper which is then cut down to size.