A blanket is any material or fabric used to cover or wrap something; in printing terms, it refers to an extra thick sheet of paper or fabric placed atop the printed document, which transfers ink from plate to paper in an efficient and uniform printing process.
There are various kinds of blankets used for printing. Wool or cotton blankets are often the go-to material for offset printing; felted versions make these thicker and more robust than standard versions.
Another type of blanket made from synthetic materials like polyester or nylon can provide a smooth surface for digital printing to move along more freely. Such blankets often serve digital presses better, allowing their print head more control when operating across them.
Blankets can also be coated with different materials to produce different printing results, including UV-curable material to resist sunlight or water-repellent agents that protect printed images against moisture damage.
No matter what printing you engage in, a blanket can help improve the results. If your prints have been sub-par lately, speak with your printer about using one, as it could increase print quality and save the day!
A blanket is integral to printing, creating an even surface for the print head. This results in sharp prints without smudging or smearing, protecting it against wear and tear and prolonging its lifespan. Therefore, it is vitally important that a high-quality blanket be explicitly designed for your printer model.