Gravure vs flexo

Gravure vs flexo cost comparison

To compare the cost of Gravure vs Flexo printing method, we must understand the process of each.

HOW DOES FLEXO PRINTING WORK?

Flexible printing, often called “Flexo printing”, is a technique for printing documents that provide a high degree of consistency, flexibility, and efficiency. Flexible photopolymer printing plates are used to create high-resolution images on various substrates in flexographic printing.

A raised design is created on the image carrier by engraving the inkwell, wherein ink is then transferred via an anilox roller onto the image carrier. It is then printed onto the substrate.

HOW DOES GRAVURE PRINTING WORK?

Rotogravure printing (commonly known as gravure) is an intaglio printing technique. During gravure printing, ink is applied to a substrate using a metal plate, typically mounted onto a cylinder. Most commonly, copper and chrome are used for the metal plates.

A metal plate is typically laser-etched with the image or text that will be printed, a process that can often deliver high quality and repeatable results.

SIMILARITIES

Here are a few key similarities:

These two technologies involve creating cylinders, plates, and sleeves.

Long-run and high-volume printing can be done by both, though flexo is often more cost-effective for shorter print runs.

They both produce excellent results.

Globally, the two processes are divided as follows:

USA/LATIN AMERICA —–> approximately Flexo 80%, Gravure 20%

EUROPE —–> approximately Flexo 50%, Gravure 50%

ASIA —–> approximately Flexo 20%, Gravure 80% 


Ink and Solvent Consumption

(data sample was drawn from a 1250mm wide -10 colors flexographic press V.S 10 color rotogravure press)

UnitsRotogravureFlexographic
InkConsumption (Kg/10K.m^2)39.0721.27
Unit Price(Kg)32.8850.76
Cost (10.M^2)1284.521079.45
SolventConsumption (Kg/10K.m^2)111.6063.94
Unit Price(Kg)8.139.22
Cost (10.M^2)907.34589.51

*The gravure image carriers are typically much more expensive than the flexo image carriers.

Energy Consumption

(data sample was drawn from a 1250mm wide -10 colors flexographic press V.S 10 color rotogravure press)

UnitsRotogravureFlexographic
SteamConsumption (ton/10K.m^2)0.30.2
Unit Price/ TON230230
Cost (10.M^2)6946
ElectricConsumption (ton/10K.m^2)160140
Unit Price/ton0.80.8
Cost (10.M^2)128112

Each square centimeter of flexographic plate costs about USD0.03 * USD0.045. Rotogravure cylinders cost USD0.022 * USD0.03 per square centimeter on average. Flexographic plates can last between 50M and 100M rotations, while rotogravure cylinders can last more than 100M rotations.

The cost of making Flexo plates is lower than that of Gravure cylinders.

The cost of ink, solvent and utilities may vary significantly in regions. The costs are used mainly for comparison purpose.

The Final Decision, Gravure vs Flexo? 

Flexo printing and gravure printing have many differences, as you can see.

Which is best for you? Several factors, such as the job you are printing and the substrate, will affect its quality. Ensure that you work with a printing expert and your internal team before substituting one printing process for the other. 

Read more about Flexographic Printing – Pros & Cons

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