A type of offset printing press in which the image carrier (plate) is imaged directly on the press with built-in laser exposure units. The laser records the image onto the plate according to instructions it receives via digital files stored on a computer. The print quality is excellent with direct imaging presses because the actual process of printing is still based on conventional offset technology. Many of the manual steps of conventional prepress and presswork are eliminated, such as producing films, preparing the films for platemaking, creating plates, and mounting and registering plates on the press. When a new plate is ready to be imaged on a direct imaging press, the plate is automatically fed onto the plate cylinder from a spool. Compared to a conventional offset press without direct imaging capabilities, the preparation time per job is greatly decreased when using a direct imaging press.
The majority of direct imaging presses are capable of producing a minimum resolution of 1270 dpi, which is suitable for producing nearly 90% of all offset print jobs. There are a number of DI presses that are capable of much higher resolutions, which means that these higher resolution DI presses are suitable for printing almost any application that can be printed on a conventional offset press. Direct imaging presses are a good choice for print providers that require the quality of offset printing and the advantages of a digital workflow.