Flexo vs Gravure Printing

Flexo Printing vs Gravure Printing

There are scores of modern techniques for commercial printing. Flexographic printing and Gravure printing (Rotogravure) are the two printing methods that are on top of the list of modern printing presses. A person would be in a shadow of doubts when choosing between Flexo printing and gravure printing.

Different parameters define the feasibility of the printing technique. However, before comparing, let’s briefly understand these printing methods.

What is Flexo Printing?

Flexographic printing, commonly referred to as Flexo printing, is a technique that uses a polymer or elastomer as an image carrier. The image carrier of a Flexo printer curates a raised impression. After taking it from the inkwell, the anilox roller provides the ink to the image carrier. This printing technique is similar to letterpress. The raised printing plate of Flexo print ensures a fast-printing process.

What Is Gravure Printing?

Rotogravure printing is an intaglio printing process. The copper-plated or chrome-plated cylinders of this printing mechanism come with the engravings of the design. The engravings are also called cells, and they carry the ink for the printing process. Thereby, the rotary mechanism of this printing technique will print the design by laser etching.

Comparing Flexo Printing and Gravure Printing

Several vital factors assist in laying down a comparison between Flexo printing and gravure printing. Let us compare these two printing methods per the decisive factors.

Initial Cost and Long-Term Cost

Flexo printing is less costly in the short-term printing processes. On the other hand, gravure printing has a copper-plated cylinder, which is very expensive at the initial stage. Therefore, flexo printing is more costly for long-term printing purposes. At the same time, the gravure printing method is cheaper for long-term usage.

Lead Time

Lead time is an essential aspect of the printing process. It is the time that a printing order takes to complete. Indirectly, you can also refer lead time as the printing speed. Since the gravure printing technique uses layer etching technology, it is very fast. Generally, the lead time of gravure printing is 3 to 4 times more than Flexo printing.

Continuous Tone Printing

Continuous printing is a significant requirement in commercial printing. The converter in this process aims to ensure uniform color intensity in this continuous printing. Therefore, gravure printing is preferable to continuous printing as this technique will not lose color or print intensity.

On the other hand, the Flexo print does not provide high-quality results in continuous printing mode. This printing method will lose the intensity factor with every next duplicate print.

Ink

Ink is an essential component of printing techniques. The Flexo printing method takes the lead in this regard as it allows compatibility with a wide range of ink sets. On the contrary, the gravure printing method only allows a set of specific inks with lesser color variation.

Substrate

The substrate is the material surface on which the design is imprinted. The gravure printing technique is compatible with porous substrates such as the magazine cover. In contrast, the Flexo printing mechanism is compatible with porous and non-porous substrates. Therefore, Flexo printing has the upper hand in terms of substrate compatibility.

Which One Is Better; Flexo Printing or Gravure Printing?

By far, flexo printing has undergone different technological changes. Therefore, this printing method has the upper hand in many aspects over gravure printing. Flexo printing is compatible with every type of substrate. Furthermore, it has a huge set of ink options, which otherwise is very limited in gravure printing. The cost of components of flexo printing is also less. Thereby, it is a better choice for commercial printing with a significant print load.

For any flexographic printing requirements, you can head over to Anyflexo. You can have top-of-the-line flexo components. Furthermore, you can also customize your flexo printing with customizable options. You will have the option to choose the colors from a huge variant of inks.

Final Thoughts

Flexo and gravure printing are the most modern and widely adopted printing methods. However, both of these printing techniques have their pros and cons. Therefore, it is a very narrow competition to decide which one is better for commercial printing. Considering the above factors, one can quickly determine what type of printing technique will be better for them.

Read next about Typical Flexographic Printing Identification Features

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