Gravure printing is similar to offset in that it uses a metal image surface. However, its distinctive feature is the fact that the image elements are engraved into the surface of the cylinder, while the non-image areas are at a constant original level.
Flexography uses a thin rubber flexible plate material and this transfers the ink directly onto the substrate. Historically, flexo has always been found on simple single-colour work, primarily due to the relatively poor image quality it offered. However, advances in imaging technology, specifically computer-to-plate repro systems, have meant that in recent years the image quality it produces has increased exponentially. Nowadays, you can produce good quality four-colour print that is close to the quality of offset, says a spokesperson for converting equipment manufacurer Bobst.
Gravure tops quality stakes
However, nothing as yet comes close to the quality gravure can produce. Its depth of ink and sharp screen dots can produce the effect of continuous tones. The process is often used to produce packaging, such as cigarette boxes, and magazines, which require high quality printing. However, its engraved cylinder makes it impractical for short-run work as engraving and changing the cylinder is a slow and expensive process.
Rather than churning out new launches, manufacturers are focusing on trying to make existing machines in their product portfolio greener and more efficient. This includes developing inking systems that use less ink and presses that produce less waste.
When making an investment, like the rest of the industry, cost and makeready speeds are key factors, together with energy consumption. A lot of packaging companies are keen to promote their green credentials and adopting green practices, such as using less power, also helps to cut cost
WHAT’S NEW IN FLEXO & GRAVURE PRESSES
• Paragon Flexibles was hoping to win business in the flexible films sector with the purchase of a new Miraflex 10-colour sleeve flexo press. The machine, launched at Drupa by Windmöller & Hölscher, is available in eight- or 10-colour, and printing widths from 1,000mm to 1,450mm
• The Flexo4All strategic alliance – 19 of flexo’s most influential global suppliers and manufacturers – were pushing flexo for packaging at Drupa last month with the slogan the best technology to satisfy all printing needs. Flexo4All members include Bobst, DuPont and Gallus
• Hapa, the Zurich-based supplier of on-demand pack print technology, launched new additions to its flexo and digital printer ranges at Interpack earlier in the year. New to the 800 range are the CartonJet and LabelJet. CartonJet handles pre-folded and glued cartons. The LabelJet is available in reel-to-reel or inline executions
• KBA signed an deal transferring all its intellectual property rights relating to rotogravure printing presses to Cerutti for an undisclosed sum
Read the original article at www.printweek.com.
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