Foil printing using gravure technology


A gravure press, also known as a rotogravure press, is a type of printing press used for high-quality, high-volume printing of images and designs. Gravure printing is a process that involves engraving an image onto a cylinder, which is then used to transfer ink onto the printing substrate.

Advantages and Features

1. Cylinder Engraving

Gravure printing involves engraving the image or design onto a cylinder, typically made of copper or chrome-plated steel. The engraving process creates cells of varying depths on the cylinder surface.

2. Ink Application

The cylinder is partially submerged in an ink fountain, and a doctor blade is used to remove excess ink from the surface. The remaining ink is held in the engraved cells on the cylinder.

3. Printing Process

As the cylinder rotates, it comes into contact with the printing substrate, such as paper or plastic. Under pressure, the ink from the cells is transferred to the substrate, creating the printed image.

4. High Volume Printing

Gravure presses are known for their efficiency in handling large print runs. They are commonly used for printing newspapers, magazines, catalogs, packaging materials, and decorative laminates.

5. Image Quality

Gravure printing offers excellent image reproduction with sharp details and vibrant colors. The consistent and precise ink distribution from the engraved cells ensures consistent print quality throughout the print run.

6. Substrate Compatibility

Gravure presses can print on a wide range of substrates, including paper, plastic films, foils, and synthetic materials. The press configuration and ink formulation can be customized to suit specific substrate requirements.

7. Drying and Curing

After printing, the ink on the substrate needs to be dried or cured. This can be achieved through various methods such as hot air drying, infrared drying, or UV curing, depending on the ink formulation and substrate.

Working Principle

1. Engraving

The first step in gravure printing is the creation of a printing plate. A cylinder, usually made of copper or chrome-plated steel, is engraved with tiny cells or recesses. The depth and size of these cells determine the amount of ink transferred during printing.

2. Ink Application

Ink is applied to the engraved cylinder, and a doctor blade removes excess ink from the cylinder’s surface. Ink remains only in the engraved cells.

3. Ink Transfer

The substrate, whether paper, plastic, or other materials, passes between the engraved cylinder and a pressure roller. The pressure roller presses the substrate against the cylinder, transferring ink from the cells to the substrate. The combination of pressure and rotation ensures uniform ink transfer.

4. Drying

After ink transfer, the printed substrate goes through a drying process to fix the ink onto the surface. Various drying methods like hot air, infrared, or UV curing can be used based on the ink and substrate.


1. Flexible Packaging

Gravure printing is extensively used for printing on flexible packaging materials such as plastic films, laminates, and foils. It offers excellent print quality, vibrant colors, and good ink adhesion, making it suitable for food packaging, labels, pouches, and wrappers.

2. Publication Printing

Gravure printing is employed for high-volume publication printing, including magazines, catalogs, and newspapers. It can handle large print runs efficiently and produces sharp images and text.

3. Decorative Printing

Gravure printing is used for decorative purposes, such as printing on wallpaper, gift wrap, and decorative laminates. It enables precise replication of intricate patterns and designs.

4. Security Printing

Gravure printing is utilized for printing security features on banknotes, passports, stamps, and other secure documents. Its ability to reproduce fine details and complex designs makes it suitable for anti-counterfeiting measures.

5. Industrial Printing

Gravure printing finds application in industrial settings, such as printing patterns on fabrics, wallpapers, laminates, and vinyl flooring.

Selection Criteria

1. Printing Volume
2. Substrate Compatibility
3. Print Quality Requirements
4. Press Size and Configuration
5. Automation and Control Systems
6. Maintenance and Service
7. Energy Efficiency
8. Budget Considerations
9. Future Expansion and Upgrades
10. References and Reviews


1. Plate Selection: Choose the appropriate type of gravure plate based on specific printing requirements, including substrate type, image resolution, ink compatibility, and print run length.
2. Cylinder Maintenance: Regularly inspect and clean the printing cylinder to ensure optimal print quality. Remove any ink residue or debris that may affect the ink transfer process.
3. Ink Management: Proper ink management is crucial for consistent printing results. Monitor ink viscosity, temperature, and color consistency throughout the printing process. Adjust ink formulations as needed to achieve desired print characteristics.
4. Substrate Compatibility: Consider the characteristics of the substrate being printed, such as porosity, surface tension, and dimensional stability. Optimize ink formulations and drying parameters to ensure good adhesion and minimize issues like ink smearing or drying problems.
5. Registration Control: Implement robust registration systems to ensure accurate alignment of colors and images. Precise registration is particularly important for multi-color printing to avoid color shifts or misalignment.
6. Drying and Curing: Use appropriate drying or curing methods based on ink type and substrate. Ensure adequate drying time to prevent ink smudging or offsetting during subsequent processes.

Installation and Maintenance


1. Site Preparation: Ensure proper site preparation, including a leveled floor, adequate space, and necessary utilities like electricity, water, and compressed air.
2. Foundation and Anchoring: Install the press on a stable foundation to minimize vibrations. Securely anchor the press to the floor to prevent movement during operation.
3. Mechanical Assembly: Follow manufacturer’s instructions for mechanical assembly, including printing units, impression cylinders, doctor blade systems, drying systems, and web handling mechanisms.
4. Electrical and Control Integration: Connect electrical cables and wiring following provided schematics. Integrate control panels and ensure proper communication with press components. Test electrical systems for functionality and safety.
5. Testing and Calibration: Conduct thorough testing to ensure all press functionalities work