What is Gravure
Understand the origins and technical aspects of the gravure printing process
The Process of Producing Fine, Detailed Images
To fully appreciate the power of gravure to produce exceptional results, it is helpful to understand the origins and technical aspects of the gravure printing process itself.
Gravure printing is an intaglio process that produces fine, detailed images. It can be used for CMYK printing and is often used for high-volume printing of packaging, wallpaper and gift wrap.
Gravure printing may also be used for printing magazines, greeting cards, brochures, and advertising collateral.
How Gravure Works
The gravure print unit has the simplest mechanical design of all printing processes. This makes gravure an inherently stable process that is easily controlled with minimal variables.
Engraved cells pick up ink from a reservoir. A metal “doctor” blade then wipes the excess ink from the nonengraved “land,” or surface area of the cylinder, and the ink in the cells is then directly transferred to the substrate.
Gravure printing is unique. It is the only commercial process that has the ability to control both the area of ink coverage and ink film thickness from the same print unit. This is achieved with recessed cells of varying area, depth and therefore volume. The varying ink film thickness and cell sizes on the same cylinder improve the image quality and color saturation without reducing image resolution.
Reel-to-reel Gravure presses operate at high speed, guiding the web (reels of substrate) sequentially through the print units and intermediate dryers from unwind units with automatic splicing; accommodating uninterrupted press runs. Everything from packaging and label, floor and wall coverings, magazines and catalogs to security printing depend upon Gravure for consistency, accuracy and vivid graphics.
Precise Color Reproducing
Because gravure printing cylinders are exceedingly precise, and because colors are applied through overlapping methodology, gravure printing excels at delivering full color ranges that faithfully reproduce photography and other detailed images.
The cylinders themselves are strong and made for long runs, typically lasting for millions of impressions before any compromise in quality or detail.