Previously, the lab used optical printers that projected onto paper in the traditional fashion. The digital method produces better prints quicker with less waste. Personally, I still shoot with film, but I often print with an inkjet printer, rather than getting out the chemicals. I spent 25 years printing color in a commercial lab, using color enlargers, so I do know what a good print looks like! ---john.
Yes, it is the optical printer that I'm talking about. I figure I'm still outdated by now.