A Call For Action
The gravure industry spent years just watching flexo improve and promote itself as the printing process of choice. Now, gravure printers and suppliers are preparing to market their process back into the spotlight.
GRAVURE'S GOT IT all: unsurpassed quality, affordability, and a committed and passionate industry. So, why is it such an unsung process?
There are several theories, but flexo leads the list of culprits. For the past few decades, flexo has successfully worked to upgrade its quality and reliability, and the industry hasn't kept its advances secret.
Flexo suppliers dominate the advertising in trade magazines, some of which focus solely on flexo. In addition, there are more associations based on supporting and promoting flexo than there are organizations for any other kind of printing process.
Most importantly, however, the flexo industry gets its message across to consumer goods companies (CGCs) louder and clearer than any other printing method. CGCs hear all about how flexo is an economical printing process with high-quality results that are getting better all the time.
What do print buyers hear about gravure? For the most part, only what the flexo industry tells them—it produces excellent results, but it's costly. The gravure industry has yet to rebut that claim on a public platform or vocalize any message meant for potential consumers. Slowly but surely, however, necessity is waking gravure printers and suppliers and calling for them to put gravure back on the map.
Gravure means quality
Gravure can do everything flexo can, but better. Its image reproduction quality is unmatched, as is its consistency from run-to-run. Technology advancements have also helped gravure compete in the growing realm of short runs, with faster changeover and makeready times, as well as decreased the time it takes to engrave gravure cylinders.
"There's a whole new chapter of engraving technology today, as well as short runs, smaller cylinders, sleeves, shaftless cylinders—there's a lot of work being done and it's ongoing," said Dick Chesnut, founder/owner/president of Chesnut Engineering, a press manufacturer. "Flexo dominates the media and industry meetings, but gravure has very interesting possibilities. It's by no means a dead technology at all. It's very vital."