The launch of electromechanical engraving with HELL’s HelioKlischograph some 50 years ago heralded the era of industrial manufacturing of gravure cylinders – a prerequisite for today’s fully automatic cylinder making lines. Multi-channel engraving makes this method even more cost-efficient. Thanks to high engraving frequencies of 8 and 12 kHz, optimized diamond tools, application-specific engraving heads, integrated test cuts, and intelligent software algorithms, high speeds are now achieved with impressive, uniform results in contone quality across the entire format that can be reproduced at any time. The development of Ohio’s extremely strong and consistent Vision 3 engraving head paves the way for very deep cells with high ink transfer volumes and exceptionally stable engraving.
In the various highly efficient solutions from the Heliograph companies, the process parameters are defined in line with the requirements of the relevant gravure applications. HELL’s XtremeEngraving, for example, combines impressive contour definition with a high printing density in line engraving. Ohio’s Hybrid Engraving – a unique combination of vibration and line engraving – can produce ultra sharp edges together with contone images in a single pass.
Etching mask technology combines digital laser imaging with exceptionally fast spray etching for gravure and embossing cylinders. With the LAMS (Laser Ablation Mask System) method, the parts of the cylinder where the infrared laser has removed the masking layer are etched. As an alternative to LAMS, the Heliograph portfolio also includes laser imaging of UV sensitive photoresist layers. Both imaging technologies offer users the benefit of high speed and low energy consumption together with the digital precision and high resolution of laser imaging.
Contactless direct engraving with no tool wear is the optimum method for the high-resolution transfer of text, linework, and intaglio images to gravure forms. Generally speaking, the depth and edges of the cells and cell walls can be designed extremely favorably for emptying purposes, because this method offers a far greater choice of aspect ratios than electromechanical engraving. Direct laser engraving solutions from HELL and Schepers cover a huge variety of market segments, and it goes without saying that Heliograph provides the corresponding plating and post-processing methods.