The wide variety of automated machinery used in the printing industry presents innumerable application points for rotary encoders.  Commercial printing technologies such as offset web, sheet fed, direct to plate, inkjet, binding and finishing involve rapid feed speeds, precise alignment and coordination of multiple axes of motion.  Rotary encoders excel in providing motion control feedback for all of these operations.

Printing equipment generally measures and generates images with resolutions measured in dots per inch (DPI) or pixels per inch (PPI). When specifying rotary encoders for certain printing applications, the disk resolution is usually correlated to print resolution.  For example, many industrial ink jet printing systems employ a rotary encoder to track the motion of the object to be printed. This enables the print head to apply the image to a precisely controlled location on the object.

The Printing industry typically uses encoders for the following functions: