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Gravure is an intaglio printing process. The image carrier has the image cut or etched below the surface of the non-image area. On the gravure image carrier (usually a copper cylinder), all the images are screened, creating thousands of tiny cells.
During printing, the image carrier is immersed in fluid ink. As the image carrier rotates, ink fills the tiny cells and covers the surface of the cylinder. The surface of the cylinder is wiped with a doctor blade, leaving the non-image area clean while the ink remains in the recessed cells.
Substrate is brought into contact with the image carrier with the help of an impression roll. At the point of contact, ink is drawn out of the cells onto the substrate by capillary action.
Gravure Trends - PDF presentation from Graph Expo 2002
Gravure is used for publications, catalogs, Sunday newspaper supplements, labels, cartons, packaging, gift-wrap, wall and floor coverings, and a variety of precision coating applications.
For a list of publications that can help you learn more about the gravure process, check the GAAmericas Publications web page.