Hybrid Cylinders v Imported New Cylinders and Reduced Time to Press
Simultaneously cutting costs and the time to press in gravure printing is perhaps as elusive as the Holy Grail with the two desired outcomes more often in a trade off relationship. When it comes to new gravure cylinder supply, this trade off is increasingly apparent as generally ‘cheaper’ means that the supplier is further away but with the Hybrid Cylinder technology there is no trade off, making cheaper and quicker to press (i.e. same day) gravure cylinders a real possibility.
Whilst Flexo has been working towards improved quality in order to narrow the gap with Gravure, in turn Gravure has had to focus on lowering its cost in terms of competing with Flexo for market acceptable print and particularly in terms of making short print runs viable. So much so that many printers whom use both formats are now reporting that for short runs the costs of Gravure and Flexo are almost on par with one another. Add to this that reproduction times are similar and the battle for quick turnarounds can be won or lost in cylinder v mandrel/sleeve supply.
Trade Off – Lower Cost v Increased Lead Time
In Gravure, whilst printers and engravers have been sourcing ever cheaper cylinders to lower pre-press costs and in doing so have widened their search to far off countries, the trade off is that whilst new steel can be sourced cheaper from China or Eastern Europe (to the US for example), than can be made domestically, shipping times of 6-8 weeks are common. If new cylinders (bases or rollers) are sourced locally in the US with shipping times of 4-7 days being common it goes to show that there is a considerable impact in the time to press when sourcing cheaper cylinders internationally.
In addition to the time to press impact there are further pre-press and on press delays with ‘cheaper’ gravure cylinders in terms of their varying quality being traded off with lower prices. For example, whilst hot rolled steel sheet is very cheap to source they have balance issues which reduce on press speeds and additional pre-press time with vibration/resonance issues on a CFM or Polishmaster.
Hybrid – Re-sized in minutes / Cheaper than Steel / Multi Use
The Hybrid Cylinder however, with its size variable layer can be re-sized on site at the engraver/printer in minutes thus reducing the time to press dramatically from weeks to hours in removing the 6-8 week shipping lag of importing new ‘cheap’ steel cylinders so much so that it facilitates same day press ready cylinders.
Furthermore, whilst the Hybrid Cylinder is demonstrably quicker to press than sourcing new steel the Hybrid system is also significantly cheaper and with its multi-use aspect, additionally significant savings are made from each size change to deliver a cost effective / time efficient gravure cylinder without the trade off.
The Hybrid Cylinder manufacturing facility is now online we are currently focusing on expanding the product range ahead of launch at the end of 2015.
To learn more about Hybrid Cylinders, and for pricing or to order, please use the form below.