Small-Job Printing

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Small-Job Printing


a type of printing in which the editorial and publishing processes and the printing are combined.

The main characteristics of small-job printing are elimination of the exchange of proofs between the editorial offices and the compositor’s plant, the use of methods that eliminate metal typesetting, and the preparation of a master, which is a prototype of the finished product that corresponds to it in characters, lines, and pages. The equipment used in preparing the master includes typewriters, composing typewriters, automatic units, and photocomposition equipment. Among the products of small-job printing are interoffice and commercial documentation; scientific-technical literature; abstracts; informational, advertising, and reference literature; teaching aids; journals; and author’s abstracts.

The equipment of small-job printing includes machines for producing plates for various printing methods and for binding and stitching processes. The main printing methods used in small-job printing are offset, stenciling, and hectography (spirit duplication). Light-duty small-format machines, such as Rota-print machines, are used for offset printing; they take paper with a format of 30 X 45 cm and can produce up to 6,000 impressions per hour. Automatic mimeograph machines are used for stencil printing; they take 21 X 30 cm paper and can produce up to 4,000 impressions per hour. Since the quality of stenciling is inferior to that of offset printing, stenciling is used for reproduction of official documents and informational publications in cases in which the use of offset printing is economically unfeasible or the requirements for quality of printing are not very high. Hectography is the simplest and least expensive method; the printing equipment consists of a 30 X 42 cm hectograph with an output of up to 3,600 impressions per hour. The quality of printing is inferior to that of the offset and stenciling methods. However, a multicolor impression may be made in one run, and the number of colors is unlimited. Hectography may also be used for selective printing of individual lines, paragraphs, and so on from a common printing plate, while maintaining alignment of lines.

The number of copies that can be produced in one run with various printing methods depends on the number of impressions that can be taken from a printing plate and on the materials used. The average number of copies per run is 5,000 for offset printing, 1,000 for stenciling, and 250 for hectography.

The main advantage of small-job printing is its economic efficiency and the speed of the process (the production cycle is shortened by a factor of 2–3).

Further improvements in small-job printing are being achieved by automated manufacture of offset plates and by the introduction of automatic printing machines and flow lines for binding and stitching processes.


Popriadukhin, P. A. Tekhnologiia pechatnykh protsessov. Moscow, 1968.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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