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BOBST - Gravure presses

Gravure presses

BOBST has been involved in the design and manufacture of rotogravure printing presses for more than seventy five years. During that time BOBST, and its Rotomec and Kochsiek product lines, have continuously used their thorough knowledge of the process and of the market's specific requirements in order to deliver the most productive and profitable solutions to the flexible material and folding carton industries.
The result is that no equipment manufacturer can rival the range of gravure printing presses available for these applications from BOBST.

RS 6003
A platform for leading-edge solutions
MW 60
Minimized waste & medium web gravure printing
MW 80
Minimized waste & medium web gravure printing
RS 4004X HS
Master of excellence in high speed gravure printing
RS 4004X
Master of excellence in gravure printing
RS 4004Xi
Master of excellence in gravure printing for specific niche markets
RS 500L
Designed for paperboard packaging applications
RS 700-D
Spot-on solution for your decorative printing business
Add gravure to your competitive advantages
LEMANIC RIVIERA ILS® - Production line
Gravure excellence for your product portfolio

Rotogravure printing process

The rotogravure process is a direct transfer method for printing onto wood-pulp fiber based, synthetic, or laminated substrates, including:
  1. Films such as polyester, OPP, nylon, and PE
  2. Papers
  3. Carton board
  4. Aluminum foil
The modern day rotogravure printing press uses a printing cylinder which has been laser engraved with minute cells capable of retaining ink, the size and pattern of which reflect the required image. These cells are forced to transfer their ink directly onto the substrate by a combination of pressure and capillary action, so producing the printed image.
The process, also commonly called gravure printing, is used in the manufacturing of food and non-food packaging, as well as labels, wall coverings, transfer printing, and has a variety of further applications in the security printing, industrial, and tobacco segments of industry.

Rotogravure printing presses

The layout of a gravure printing press follows an in-line arrangement where the required number of printing units is installed along a horizontal plane. In a conventional gravure printing press, each unit comprises of:
  1. Printing cylinder: a seamless tubular sleeve or full cylinder, made from either steel, aluminum, plastic, or composite material, which is engraved with the image to be printed
  2. Doctor blade:  the device that removes ink from the non-engraved portions of the printing cylinder and also removes excess ink from the engraved sections
  3. Impression roller: a rubber covered sleeve that is mounted on a steel mandrel. Its primary purpose is to press the substrate against the printing cylinder
  4. Inking system: consisting of an ink pan, ink holding tank, and ink pump with supply and return ink pipes
  5. Drying system: consisting of a chamber which dries the ink once it is on the substrate and prior to it reaching the next printing unit. Drier capacities are determined based on the required printing speed, ink type (solvent or water based), and ink lay down volume

Process description

During the gravure printing process the printing cylinder rotates in the ink pan where the engraved cells fill with ink. As the cylinder rotates clear of the ink pan, any excess ink is removed by the doctor blade. Further around, the cylinder is brought into contact with the substrate, which is pressed against it by the rubber covered impression roller.
The pressure of the roller, along with the capillary draw of the substrate, results in the direct transfer of ink from the cells in the printing cylinder to the surface of the substrate. As the printing roller rotates back into the ink pan, the printed area of the substrate proceeds through a dryer and onto the next printing unit, which is normally a different color or may be a varnish or coating.
Precise color to color registration is made possible via automatic side and length register control systems.
For a web-fed printing press, after each color has been printed and any coatings applied, the web is 'rewound' into a finished roll.

Process advantages and applications

The process offers the ability to transfer ink consistently, across a wide range of densities, and at high speeds, making it suitable for applications which require high image quality, such as publishing, packaging, labels, security print, and decorative printing.
The durable nature of the printing cylinders used makes gravure printing an ideal process for providing high quality print on very long or regularly repeating runs, delivering cost advantages over other processes.

BOBST expertise and knowledge

A formidable innovator, focused on creating value for its clients, products from the BOBST Rotomec range have established an unparalleled reputation in gravure printing press technology, setting the standard for state-of-the-art, ultra-productive, and user-friendly rotogravure printing machines.
The high efficiency features and waste reduction performance of Rotomec gravure printing presses are enhanced by electronic line shaft and Registron® print register technology which slash production times and cut material wastage by unprecedented amounts.
As an equally impressive innovator, BOBST, through its LEMANIC® range of gravure printing presses, sets the standard for web-fed gravure printing in demanding segments such as tobacco packaging. Printing on paper or carton board poses specific challenges to the gravure process, but the technological advancement, ease of use, fast make-ready, and waste minimization features of BOBST presses have made them a worldwide reference amongst end users.
Through its specialized rotogravure Kochsiek printing machines, BOBST serves the markets for decorative printing and liquid packaging. Precise design, high manufacturing standards, and state-of-the-art computer based control ensure that BOBST rotogravure printing presses deliver the highest production quality, exceptional reliability, and long-lasting value.


Paper is a fibre-based material produced from wood, rags or organic material. The types of paper used in the packaging and graphic arts industries typically use wood and/or recycled paper and board, which is then chemically or mechanically processed to produce cellulose pulp. This pulp is bleached and processed in a paper making machine to produce reels of paper which may optionally be coated or finished to provide a better surface and/or improved visual appearance.
Paper may be between 0.07 mm and 0.18mm thick, with paper for printing and packaging applications generally being in a range between 60 and 120 gsm. The crossover point between paper and board is normally considered to be around 160 grams per square meter (gsm), as it is only at this level that a fibrous material is likely to be stiff and rigid enough to make a container.
Paper has a wide range of industrial applications including use for the packaging of products as diverse as confectionery and cigarettes, as a component in packaging laminates, and for many commercial print uses.

Carton board

Carton board (also called cardboard, paperboard or solid board) is the name for a range of paper based materials that includes folding box board (FBB, GC or UC), solid bleached board (SBB, SBS, or GZ), solid unbleached board (SUB or SUS), white lined chipboards (WLC, GD, GT, or UD), some unlined chipboards, and certain laminated boards.
To manufacture carton board, fibrous material, either from trees, recycled paper, or a mixture of the two, is turned into pulp. It is then bleached and processed in a board making machine to create a board consisting of one or more layers, which may optionally be coated to provide a better surface and/or improved visual appearance.
The crossover point between paper and board is normally considered to be around 160 grams per square meter (gsm), as it is only at this level that a fibrous material is likely to be stiff and rigid enough to make a container.
Cartonboard is primarily used in the packaging industry to produce all types of folding cartons, but may also be used for graphics applications. For folding cartons the board used will normally be in the range 200 to 600gsm, or 350 to 800 microns.


A film is usually characterized as a thin synthetic resin layer. There are many types of films and their use depends on their physical and chemical properties, which make them especially suitable for a given application.
The most commonly used plastic films are low density polyethylene (LDPE), Polypropylene (PP), bioriented polypropylene (BOPP), and polyester (PET).
Printed film is used for packaging, display materials, stickers, seals, and a wide range of other graphic applications.
Films are generally characterized by their basis weight, expressed in g/m²; and thickness, expressed in microns. For some films it is also useful to know their density, expressed in g/cm3.
The increasing awareness of environmental issues is intensifying research into film substrates derived from renewable sources that are compostable. 

Aluminium foil

Aluminum is produced from bauxite, an ore abundant in nature. From the rolling mill, aluminum foils emerge with a natural shiny finish, almost as bright as a mirror, but also can be produced with an as-rolled, satin-like finish called matte.
Aluminum foil has all of the unique functional characteristics of the aluminum alloy from which it is made.
Because of its exceptional barrier properties, aluminum foil is used across a wide range of flexible and other packaging applications to protect foods, drugs, cosmetics, and a lengthy list of other items, most often in combination with other packaging materials.


A laminate is a material that can be constructed by bringing two or more layers of material together. This can include different material combinations from a wide spectrum of flexible substrates including thin aluminum foil, film, and paper. These materials have different physical properties and varying thicknesses that combine to provide the required barrier performance.
Converted single- or multi-layer webs are used in a number of industries, from the packaging of food and non food products to industrial applications including the photovoltaic industry.

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