Gravure quality in the short run
If you're looking for a U.S.-based folding carton converter offering the benefits of sheetfed gravure package printing, you should look no further than Shorewood Packaging's plant in Englewood, NJ. As a matter of fact, you would be wasting your time looking according to Shorewood Packaging's Account Executive Bill Martin, who says that the Englewood plant is the only U.S. facility that offers sheetfed gravure package printing.
More than likely though, a consumer products manufacturer is not looking specifically for sheetfed gravure printing. However, if it is looking for color consistency from run to run, with relatively short production runs, then sheetfed gravure printing should definitely be a consideration. "The chief benefit of our sheetfed gravure operation," says Duncan Watson, vice president of marketing and creative services, "Is its superb color consistency, especially in solid colors. It offers a vibrancy of colors due to its thicker ink layers relative to offset printing." In addition to color consistency, gravure printing offers lustrous metallic and pearlescent inks, says Duncan.
Although the vast majority of gravure printing is done on rotary presses, sheetfed printing brings gravure's benefits to short-run production needs. These short runs fall in a category under 100,000 units, and a typical run is more likely in the 30,000 to 50,000 run size, says Ron Botticchio, vice president of manufacturing.
The market for sheetfed gravure carton printing is a niche market for high-margin products in which color is critical admits Watson. The relatively high up-front cylinder costs involved with gravure printing requires the right job to justify the expense. Key markets include hair care and cosmetics. In these markets, consumers rely on the fact that the color shown on the package is a true representation of the color resulting from use of the product. And the package color has to be consistent every time the consumer purchases the product, week in and week out. Martin says that the Englewood plant is the only hair-color packaging supplier to be certified by Clairol (a business recently purchased by Proctor & Gamble) in the last five to six years. Along with cosmetics, Watson also adds high-end confectionary and golf ball packaging to the list of customers. The selling point for a contract for Pinnacle golf ball packaging was the consistency of color, combined with holographic capabilities.