ECG printing

Will package gravure suffer the same fate as publication gravure?

Will package gravure suffer the same fate as publication gravure?
To address the market's demands for short delivery times and short print runs, topics such as printing in extended colour gamut (ECG) cannot be ignored (Source: Björn Kammertöns)

The answer to this question is probably definitely no. Because in contrast to publication gravure, there is no digital substitution in packaging gravure. This is because packaging cannot be digitised.

In publication gravure, for example, the large catalogues that were a matter of course in most households for many decades disappeared in the course of digitisation. Packaging, and thus also packaging printing, still have a high status and will maintain this in the future.


Printing in extended colour gammut

But the challenge remains to address the market’s demands for fast delivery times and short print runs. In this context, topics such as printing in extended colour gamut (ECG) cannot simply be ignored, but gravure printers should dedicate themselves to this project and seriously evaluate whether and how ECG printing can be implemented. Flexo printers are much more open to this topic and offset printers are also promoting the possibility and advantages of ECG printing.

Should it perhaps prove impossible to implement standardised ECG printing, it may well make sense to look at the colour sequences of the existing job portfolio and harmonise them if necessary. For, although technically not absolutely necessary, when creating the separation and sequence of colours, the rule still often applies that the colours to be printed together should, if possible, be applied directly one after the other. It is critical to note in this context that in prepress it is often not taken into account whether this significantly increases the make-ready times of the press.

Increasing standardisation in gravure printing

Increasing standardisation can also be of interest to brand owners. We are talking here about gravure standards such as GraCol in the USA. Even if this is by no means an easy path, there are certainly possibilities to combine ink series and substrates and establish a corresponding standard. However, in order to use this in a meaningful way in the end, corresponding cylinder and print parameters would also have to be defined for each standard. These generic colour profiles could then be used in the central repros – and ultimately independently of the printer.

However, it will not be easy to get the industry to take such an initiative on its own, because the idea of competition is still all too powerful for that. Although the issue is not really about competition among gravure printers, but rather competition with other printing processes.