Picking sides in this case won’t be easy and straight forward. Printers on the cutting edge of the business are always interested in finding ways to print faster at lower costs, but this is not so easy to achieve. Success doesn’t simply depend on deciding between flexo or gravure, it’s about finding the best printing method in an ever-evolving industry.
For a convertor to choose between rotogravure and flexographic printing process is dependent on several parameters like quality of print; cost efficiency w.r.t short/long run; cylinder/plate (origination) costs; maintenance costs among others but the switch is taking place. The current generation of printers & converters are getting more inclined to flexography over other printing processes. To site you an example, Amcor’s new plant is 100 percent flexo, gravure press has become a technology of past for them. Another European Press manufacturer,Comexi has stopped manufacturing gravure presses and shifted its focus on manufacturing only flexo and offset combination presses.
Flexographic printing scores an edge over on so many grounds. It is ideal for short run jobs, the printing press cost works out to be considerably low, the operating costs (utilities & overhead) are lower and it offers versatility in terms of printing substrates.
In the current scenario with SKU’s becoming smaller, companies are having more interest in the mid to narrow web presses in the band width of 500mm-800mm or a max. of 1 mts wide In-line flexo presses which can handle all the materials which are being handled by the wide range presses starting from film micron and BOPP ranging from 600gm or 400 micron thick films, boards or specialty boards and are able to economically produce short to medium runs which range from as low as 100kgs to 1000kgs of material.
If the job profile of the current gravure printer is to be explored, we may find that their job works entails 30-40 percent of work under the material category of less than 1000 kgs which can be easily done by using a narrow or mid web flexo presses in more economical way than gravure presses. Flexo press offers faster turnaround times with lower origination costs in terms of plates and inks providing the quality of prints which are equally good, if not superior.
While flexo continues to grow in volumes as print technology taking away volumes from offset and gravure, there is also a sea change occurring in the substrate handling process. While CI Flexo presses take on the wide web gravures and offer eco-friendly advantages over Solvent based Gravure .The In-line presses have been quietly growing in width up to 850 mm or more and new servo technologies have allowed even 12 microns or lower materials to be printed as well as extensible material like LDPE to be handled at decent speeds.
The comparative study of Central Impression and In-line Flexo presses have shown that over the years, central impression flexo presses have enjoyed many advantages over the In-line flexo presses such as the ability to print on thin substrates e.g. 12-micron films, cost-effective printing for medium to long-run print jobs, easy changeovers, better register control which is overall cheaper & better than solvent based gravure presses.
- Flexible to print on the wide gamma of materials. The modern Inline flexo presses are capable to print on substrate ranging from 12micron films to 600gsm boards.
- Have wider width range from 330mm up to 830MM width which makes them competitive for long-run jobs as well.
- Include high press automation for auto change, job storage, pre-register and auto register etc.
- Are cost-effective in terms of machine prices & its consumables such as inks, plates etc.
- Provide quicker change over with ease of access to units.
- Have better substrate handling with new servo technologies available for stretchable materials.
- Posses’ flexibility to add finishing stations such as hot stamping, die-cutting, hot/cold foiling, turn-bar etc.
- Provide modularity to add/remove printing/finishing stations and the incorporation of color digital printing techniques make these presses hybrid thus offering variable data personalization.
If you have ever came across a situation where youneed to compare the results generated by your gravure press with the flexo press, you can share that art work with us, VINSAK will gladly offer you a free test run. To connect with us, please write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org or you can visit our website: www.vinsak.com for know more about our product range.