Printers, here’s how to get the most life out of your gravure print tool.

  • When the cylinder is new, start a mileage and ink density log.
  • After each press run, ensure the cylinder face and journals are cleaned and inspected for wear.
  • Record press mileage and ending ink density.
  • Review the printed press sheet after each press run and look for areas of concern.
  • If you see something unusual, compare the press sheet to the exact location on the image carrier.
  • Mark areas of concern on the cylinder and press sheet with a permanent marker.
  • Look for anything that may indicate wear. Look for blade wear, fat walls, damage, RZ, etc.
  • Ask for feedback from your ink technician to see if they made significant changes to the ink extension.
  • When your technician sees an ink extension changing by 15-20%, it needs a re-chrome / re-make.
  • Send “marked up” cylinder and press sheet to Engraver for re-chrome, re-make, or repair.
    The goal is to catch the image carrier before the chrome wears down to the copper layer. If you can accomplish this, a re-chroming can bring the image carrier back to a near-new condition.

But if you wait too long before doing a re-chrome, you can wear the cylinder out. The image below shows the face of a worn gravure image carrier under magnification. The zig-zag shapes are cell walls, and the darker area is exposed copper. This cylinder needs re-engraving.