ROTOGRAVURE PRINTING PROCESS
Here at QQSTUDIO, we use a printing process called Rotogravure printing. This technique is what helps us get the look you want for your product.
What is Rotogravure printing?
Rotogravure is a type of intaglio printing process, which involves engraving the image onto an image carrier. Intaglio is the technique in which an image is incised into a surface and the ink sits in the engraved area before being pressed onto the material being printed upon. In gravure printing, the image is engraved onto a cylinder because it uses a rotary printing press.
In the printing process, the cylinder bearing the printing plates is usually arranged so that during its rotary movement it passes through a trough filled with a thin solution of fast-drying ink, or is sprayed with ink instead. A thin steel blade (called the doctor blade) moves across the cylinder and removes the ink from the plate’s surface but not from the tiny depressions in its cells. The plate cylinder then comes in contact with the paper, and the paper draws the ink out of the depressions in the plate. In colour rotogravure printing, a separate cylinder is prepared for each colour.
Because cells of different depths can hold varying amounts of ink, the rotogravure process can print a rich, full range of tonal values, making it ideal for reproducing photographs and other continuous-tone copy in large quantities. Rotogravure is thus widely used to print newspaper supplements (e.g., colour magazine sections), catalogues, illustrated magazines and books, advertising, calendars, and so on. It is also employed for printing labels and wrappers on cellophane and similar materials. A high-speed printing process, rotogravure is best used for printing long runs of material bearing black-and-white or colour illustrations.
What is it primarily used for?
The rotogravure printing process is primarily used for printing on wallpaper or gift wrapping paper. But it can also be used for printing labels, packaging, and other products that want a more unique print on it. We do not work with any manufacturers who use this printing process since it is not that widely used. In general, the printing process is rather adaptive and efficient for high quantity products but due to high start-up costs, it is used for more luxurious products.
The Rotogravure printing process is the most popular printing process used in flexible-packaging manufacturing. It has the ability to print on thin film such as polyester, OPP, nylon, and PE, which come in a wide range of thicknesses.
Other appreciated features include:
- Printing cylinders that can last through large-volume runs without the image degrading
- Good quality image reproduction
- Low per-unit costs running high volume production
Shortcomings of the gravure printing process include:
- High start-up costs: hundreds of thousands of copies needed to make it profitable
- Rasterized lines and texts
- Long lead time for cylinder preparation, which is offsite as the techniques used are so specialized
Do you need a gravure printing process? Contact us today.