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Why Rotogravure

2011-12-17

GRAVURE VERSUS HIGH QUALITY TONE FLEXO There are many misconceptions about the relative costs of rotogravure vs. flexography. For instance: Rotogravure many years ago obtained a reputation for being a high cost process from the publication industry. The process was first used in publication and the nature of that business was usually a one-shot run. Therefore, rotogravure printing with its higher first-time cost had to be justified over a longer run, hence the adage: "Rotogravure is a process for long runs" Unlike publication printing, packaging normally consists of multiple production runs. (A very small volume of packaging work today is a one-run situation).
This is a very significant point, when comparing pre-press costs. In the case of flexo, there are pre-press costs associated with each run, as the following examples will show. In the case of rotogravure there is a pre-press cost for the first run, and then no cost associated with each successive re-run. The length of each run is relatively immaterial in the comparison, but the fact that after a relatively few successive re-runs rotogravure pre-press actually becomes lower in cost than flexo when considering this amortized over the life of the job.
Another factor concerning rotogravure, because of it’s digital nature and the fact that almost all roto cylinders today are made using the electro-mechanical system, where a diamond stylus produces each cell; the scale of cost increase from very basic line work, or text, up to fine process tone work; is minimal. The cost of a roto engraving is essentially based on size and area, more so than difficulty. This is not so true with flexo, where there is a much broader range of difficulty and hence costs involved, going from basic print, to high quality process work. The scale in plate cost alone can range five-times considering a rubber plate up to a high-end photo polymer.


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