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Heidelberg Crosses the Digital Divide: an Interview with Jason Oliver

Now a committed developer of digital printing systems, Heidelberg knows where it wants to go in the digital equipment market and what it can do to get there.

By Patrick Henry
Published: January 12, 2016


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By Henry Freedman on Jan 13, 2016

Very interesting to see how "resolution" is defined. We have "native resolution","perceived resolution" etc..

This article is thought provoking to see how Heidelberg defines their printed resolution now. As an icon of the industry it now steps out into the digital press world which is very
new compared to the traditional offset world and often you must use new measurements since same older methods to measure many times
does not work.

What about "actual resolution" - what actually can be measured as the end result on the printed substrate. Imagine if you bought a car with "perceived gas mileage"

A simple question is how many line pairs (a thin black line followed by a thin white line") can the press print on paper. Vendors are blurring up the definitions on digital systems that very often do not pan out on the press sheet.

A good question here for a press buyer should be "what is the "actual printed resolution" of the press, and then measure verify this. Sing the same measurement tool the rips and press manufacturers use to measure resolution.

The future of the industry depends on being able to measure what we have and if
the industry allows imagination and marketing materials to determine the "facts" then a danger exists.

Some systems are honest and some are not. Some
presses are capable of a true printed resolution of X but the DFE/RIP caps it at Y and so you get below what the press can do.
This widely varies by rip and vendor press combinations. This is key to your $$ paid for image quality so if you are going top pay for the press be sure you get best image from it.

Patrick's article here and Heidelberg most recently show this important issue.


By Chris Lynn on Jan 15, 2016

Henry, you are right to highlight the slipperiness of the concept of resolution in digital printing. I explored it in this article in the SGIA Journal a couple of years ago:

In Heidelberg's defence, Jason Oliver does highlight the impact of drop size in addition to addressability, even though he (or the author) should have made clear that it is the number of grey levels and not the drop size that justifies the claimed 'visual resolution'. But in the end, image quality is in the eye of the beholder and not on a spec sheet.


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