Gravure print refers to a machine printing process that provides designers with the opportunity to achieve a complete, continuous color deposit ranging from 100-percent full tone down to an approximately five percent tone. The printing is accomplished through small cells or ink reservoirs that are engraved into the surface of the print cylinder. The cylinder is washed with ink and then a metal doctor blade removes the excess ink from the non-printing areas, leaving ink only in the cells.
These recessed areas of the rollers then transfer the ink and deposit it onto the material’s surface. During this step, the substrate being printed on is sandwiched between the gravure cylinder and an impression roller. The impression roller applies force to ensure the entire substrate is brought into contact with the cylinder, which in turn provides even and maximum ink coverage. There is a separate roller for each color, and the depth of the engraved cells determines the strength of the color.
Gravure printing is known for its wide density range because of its capabilities to have varying ink film thicknesses and cell sizes on the same cylinder. This allows for very fine detail and reproduction of images with photographic effects. It is a costly manufacturing process because it requires chrome-plated copper cylinders.