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Benchmarking gravure cylinders vs. web-offset plates
KTH, School of Computer Science and Communication (CSC), Media Technology and Graphic Arts, Media.
2005 (English)In: ADVANCES IN PRINTING AND MEDIA TECHNOLOGY, VOL 32 - DIGITALISATION AND PRINT MEDIA, Stockholm: KTH , 2005, 71-89 p.Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

This paper deals with an important part of a forthcoming Survey of the European Publication Printing Industry - and highlights the developments in recent years of the processing costs of producing either offset plates or gravure cylinders. In 1985-1986, one of the most comprehensive studies of the publication printing industry was carried out by the European Rotogravure Association in Munich. This study was the first of its kind and a comparable study has, to author's knowledge, never been compiled. The objective of the present paper is to determine what factors are important when the choice of a particular printing method is made, and if this process was fundamentally different in 1985 than to-day. The hypothesis is that there were some determining factors in 1985 such as the economic consequences (processing costs and market prices), the speed (lead-time) and finally the quality of the printing process to be chosen. In order to make the two studies comparable a statistical analysis of various European macro economic indices has been used, and now 20 year later the first follow-up study is now available.

With an abundant number of players marketing and selling CTP-solutions, there is a tremendous competition in the world market. Hence, most industry observers have the opinion (or belief) that producing web-offset plate's to-day is much cheaper and easier than processing gravure cylinders. The gravure cylinder processes are still considered to be very expensive, cumbersome and old fashioned to the great disadvantage of the gravure printing process. What is often forgotten is that the recent web-offset plate technology is in fact emulating the much earlier developed gravure technology, going directly from the digital file to the image carrier. The big difference is that modem PC and networking technology has made the direct digital interfaces very much cheaper for the gravure printing industry than it was 20 years ago for the first pioneers, and the reliability of the engraving process has reached a level where gravure proofs are no longer necessary.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: KTH , 2005. 71-89 p.
Series
Advances in printing and media technology, 32
Keyword [en]
Gravure cylinder processing; Computer to Plate (CTP) Technology; web-offset-plates; Electro-mechanical engraving; Direct digital engraving
National Category
Media and Communications
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-13804ISI: 000267123700008ISBN: 978-953-7292-01-0 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-13804DiVA: diva2:327387
Conference
32nd International Research Conference of the International-Association-of-Research-Organisations-for-the-Information-Media-and-Graphic-Arts-Industries, Porvoo, Finland, Sep 04-07, 2005
Note
QC 20100629Available from: 2010-06-29 Created: 2010-06-29 Last updated: 2011-10-13Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Gravure vs. Web-offset!: a changing world in publication printing 1986-2006
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Gravure vs. Web-offset!: a changing world in publication printing 1986-2006
2007 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other scientific)
Abstract [en]

The European publication printing industry and its markets have undergone profound structural changes between 1986 and 2006. This thesis is an investigation of these changes and of how the publication industry has been affected, as well as of the balance between publication gravure and commercial heat-set web-offset. The publication printing market has grown substantially during 1986-2006, and the increase in volume is about 250%, from 5 million tons to 13 million tons of paper. In 1986, gravure was the dominating publication printing technique. Since 1986, however, web-offset printing has grown substantially, and the process has today a much larger market share of the European publication market. This domination is also reflected in the investments in new printing capacity since 2000, where 70-75% has gone to commercial heat-set web-offset press manufacturers.

This thesis focuses on the reasons why the balance between the two competing publication printing techniques, gravure and web-offset, changed between 1986 and 2006. It also studies the main driving forces determining the developments of these techniques and their related processes as well as their competitive strengths. Is gravure a printing process suitable only for very large runs, for huge volumes and for large markets? The changes in the European media market have affected the two major segments of the publication market; magazine and catalogue printing. In the magazine market, print runs in the segments of medium to large titles have decreased, and catalogues have changed from a single, thick catalogue to thinner; more targeted catalogues.

This thesis is based on two studies. The first, focused on the market requirements and techno-economical comparisons of gravure and web-offset in 1985-1986, was carried out by the author as the Secretary General of the European Rotogravure Association (ERA), and the second, in 2005-2006, has investigated the present situation on the European publication markets. The methodologies used in the investigations have been questionnaires (the originals 1985-86 have also been used in 2005-2006), surveys, literature studies and a substantial number of interviews with representatives of print buyers (publishers and catalogue producers), printers and all the major suppliers to the industry.

Given these changes, how can the competitiveness of publication gravure be improved and what strategies should a publication gravure printer use in order to survive in a very competitive European market? With shorter runs in very fast running gravure presses, the turn-around time in the cylinder-engraving department becomes very critical. A Double Ender gravure press for paginations from 16-64 pages, with an alternative up to 96 pages, where only four cylinders are needed, in combination with high-speed laser engraving of the cylinders, may be the answer.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: KTH, 2007. viii, 134 p.
Series
Trita-CSC-A, ISSN 1653-5723 ; 2007:4
National Category
Media and Communications
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-4394 (URN)978-91-7178-641-8 (ISBN)
Public defence
2007-06-05, Sal F3, KTH, Lindstedtsvägen 26, Stockholm, 10:00
Opponent
Supervisors
Note
QC 20100629Available from: 2007-05-28 Created: 2007-05-28 Last updated: 2012-03-19Bibliographically approved
2. The European publication printin industry: an industry in profound changes
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The European publication printin industry: an industry in profound changes
2005 (English)Licentiate thesis, comprehensive summary (Other scientific)
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: KTH, 2005. x, 56 p.
Series
Trita-NA, ISSN 0348-2952 ; 0542
National Category
Computer Science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-563 (URN)91-7178-227-3 (ISBN)
Presentation
2005-12-20, sal E2, KTH, Lindstedtsvägen 3, Stockholm, 14:00
Opponent
Supervisors
Note
QC 20101124Available from: 2005-12-28 Created: 2005-12-28 Last updated: 2010-11-24Bibliographically approved

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