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Break-even analyses gravure vs. web-offset: a new approach!
KTH, School of Computer Science and Communication (CSC), Media Technology and Graphic Arts, Media.
2007 (English)In: Advances in printing and media technology, xxxiii / [ed] Enlund N; Lovrecek M, Stockholm: KTH , 2007, 55-73 p.Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

The objective of this paper is to determine what factors are important when a particular printing method is chosen. In 1985-86, a study of the European publication printing industry was carried out by the European Rotogravure Association (ERA) in Munich, and contemporary industry leaders considered that Study to be one of the most comprehensive ever made in the publication printing industry. This paper deals with an important part of an ongoing survey of the European Publication Printing Industry - and highlights the development in recent years of the break-even level between gravure and commercial web-offset printing. These studies were the first of their kind and comparable studies have, to the author's knowledge, never been reported.

In 1996, the Summary showed that commercial web-offset printing was very competitive when printing signatures with 16 or 32 pages, and that gravure printing was very competitive from 48 pages signatures upwards, even though the manufacturing costs in the bindery for gathering together a number of smaller signatures in web-offset were not included. Further, the data collected also showed that for those gravure printers who were engraving cylinders directly from digital data Without having to proof the cylinders, the break-even level even for a 32 page signature became very competitive.

About 15 years ago, some commercial web-offset press manufacturers were redesigning the commercial web-offset press, and the Sunday press concept was launched by Harris (later taken over by Heidelberg, now Goss) in 1993/94. Within a few years, a completely new breed of commercial presses was presented for the publication printing markets; not only the traditional 16-32 pages (in short grain), but also larger and wider presses capable of printing 48 to 64 pages oil a single web. There was not only ail increase in the signature pagination but also a significant leap in web speed. Automation of plate processing (CTP-technology), plate Mounting and other press variables led to a sharp increase in productivity and print quality. Web-speed and productivity in web-offset became close to or in sonic instances even higher than in gravure printing. Recently, some indicators have shown that during the last decade gravure has lost its previous market dominance to web-offset printing, and recent investments in new printing capacity in commercial web-offset have outnumbered gravure by 4:1.

These recent developments made it clear that a new survey comparing printing costs, lead-time and quality for printing was needed. During 2005/2006, interviews have been conducted with a Substantial number of printers - both gravure and web-offset printers - using the same kind of Questionnaire as in 1985-86. Data from internationally renowned printers using gravure and/or commercial web-offset have been collected and analyzed in order to determine the relevant break-even level. A similar non-disclosure agreement as in 1985 has been used to ensure that confidential data will not be disclosed, and that it will not be possible to identify any single printer. For the first time, a scientific methodology has been used to compare the printing costs of a few well-defined signatures.

In 1986, the following hypotheses were formulated concerning the important and decisive factors of a customer's choice:

the economy (printing costs and market pricing),

the required lead-time (process speed and productivity),

the market requirements of the product (format and print quality).

In 2006, the hypotheses have been adapted to the present market situation (chapter 3).

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: KTH , 2007. 55-73 p.
Series
Trita-CSC-A, ISSN 1653-5723
Keyword [en]
Automatic make-ready; break-even; commercial web-offset printing; long grain printing; publication gravure printing; short grain printing; short runs in gravure
National Category
Media and Communications
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-13807ISI: 000267935100007ISBN: 978-953-7292-03-4 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-13807DiVA: diva2:327404
Conference
33rd International Research Conference of Iarigai/International-Association-of-Research-Organization-for-the-Information-Media-and-Graphic-Arts-Industries Leipzig, Germany, Sep, 2006
Note
QC 20100629Available from: 2010-06-29 Created: 2010-06-29 Last updated: 2011-03-14Bibliographically 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

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