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What Is a Web Press?

A web press is a printing press that uses a continuous roll of paper. This method of printing is typically used to produce magazine and newspaper publications. Keep reading to learn more about the different types of web presses, how they differ from other presses, and why it is even called a web press in the first place. 

How Does a Web Press Work?

A web press works by feeding a large continuous roll of paper through several drums creating a large web of printed material that is then cut into sections. The material is held tight by rollers as it is woven through the press, which is why it is called a web press. 

In some cases, the ink is transferred onto uncoated paper in a cold application process, which is used for smaller runs. Larger runs require a heated transfer of ink onto coated paper. 

What Type of Publications Do Web Presses Print?

Web presses are used for high volume runs of printed material. Usually magazines or newspapers are printed on web presses. Books and calendars are also printed on web presses if they have large enough quantities to make the runs cost effective. 

Types of Web Presses

There are two types of web presses, those being coldset and heatset. Coldset web presses run lower volumes at a slower speed allowing the ink to dry onto non-coated paper. Heatset presses use heat lamps to set the ink and it is then transferred onto coated paper at a high rate of speed. 

Difference Between Coldset and Heatset

The difference between coldset and heatset presses are the manner in which the ink is applied to the paper. A coldset press applies the ink to the paper where it dries, whereas the heatset method uses lamps to set the impression and transfer it to glossy paper at a much faster rate of speed. 


Coldset printing is a process in which the ink is transferred from the plate to the paper and then evaporates, leaving the printed impression. 


Heatset printing is a process in which the ink is heated by lamps, drying the ink as it is transferred to a glossy paper. 

Advantages of Web Presses

There are many advantages to using a web press over a digital press, such as cost effectiveness, high quality, and speedy production. 


Web presses use the latest technologies and advanced color matching systems to create the highest quality, most consistent prints possible. 


Today’s web presses allow you to program various details, such as specific color hues, the selection of specific inks, paper sizes, and thickness, which all allow for extremely detail-oriented prints. 


The cost of a roll of paper is cheaper than its sheet fed equivalent. Also, once the web press is running, the cost of overhead begins to diminish. Lastly, the device handles folding and creasing which can yield a finished product, quickly. 

Fast Delivery 

Many web presses can produce 3,000 sheets per minute, which allows newspaper and magazine publishers to deliver their products on time, daily, which is critical in the ever-changing news cycle of the modern world. 

High Volume 

High volume refers to web press runs of 10,000 to 50,000 prints, which is common for books, catalogs, directories, manuals, magazines, and newspapers. The web press can produce high volumes in a short amount of time. 

Disadvantages of Web Presses

There are also disadvantages to using a web press, such as operational overhead. 

Expensive Equipment

Web presses are costly which creates a high overhead as an upfront cost. 

Larger Equipment

Web presses are massive devices that require space and power to operate.

Require Multiple Operators

Devices of this magnitude often require two expert operators to run, which is more overhead.

Higher Prep Costs 

Web presses cost more time and materials to set up for the runs than a sheet fed press. 

Web Press vs Sheet Press

The difference between Web Press and Sheet Press is how the paper is fed into the press. The web press uses a roll whereas the sheet press uses individual sheets of paper. 

There are cost advantages and disadvantages to both methods, which is why the length of the run is important to consider when choosing which method to use. The other difference is the quality. Sheet fed presses have a slightly higher quality that is sacrificed with the speed of a web press. 

Web Presses make efficient, low-cost, fast delivery possible

You now have a clearer understanding of what a web press is, how it differs from a sheet fed press, and what the advantages and disadvantages are to both. Continue reading in our Learning Center at Print Bind Ship today to learn more about the print industry, our products, benefits of using a web press, and our worldwide shipping services. 


When Would You Use Offset Printing?

You would use offset printing for large quantity runs of 1000 or more, substrates other than paper and/or sizes of 11” x 13” or larger.

Why Is Offset Printing Better Than Digital?

Offset printing is better than digital because it uses individual plates that do not transfer ink directly to the substrate, allowing efficient, large quantity runs and exact color matching for higher quality results.

How Many Feet per Minute Does a Web Press Run?

A web press can run from 300 feet per minute to 3000 feet per minute.