The Roto-Hybrid team have recently delivered a technology update at the Gravure Association of the Americas (GAA) Conference in Clearwater, Florida.
The project has been progressing to schedule and entering into the second phase, a series of technology trials have been undertaken.
The Roth-Hybrid EU Project
For those not familiar with the project, the European Commission have funded our 24 month, €3m EC grant to bring to market a state-of-the-art innovative gravure printing process that combines two novel pre-press gravure printing cylinder process technologies.
Whilst our two new technologies are game-changing in their own rights, our research project combines the Hybrid Cylinder technology [to enable a polymer based ‘size variable’ printing cylinder] and Diamond-Like Carbon cylinder coating [to replace chrome plating and other electrolytic processes such as copper and nickel plating] to create a new gravure cylinder process that can revolutionise gravure in delivering a process that is quicker, greener and superior to the technologies it can replace.
We have undertaken technology trials with several global leaders in printing and packaging and have been conducting a trial with the GAA for the purpose of gaining independent evaluation of our technology.
Trial 1 Results
Trial 1 was undertaken with Mondi Group and the full report is available to members of the GAA but will become public in due course.
The purpose of the trial was to compare the print performance results of traditional steel gravure cylinders, one with traditional copper and chrome finishing. The other with Hybrid Chrome Replacement (HCR).
To isolate the results of the chrome versus HCR trial, both sets of cylinders were run on the same press, on the same day, using the same substrate (white film) and CMYK inks.
Prof Eller of the Rochester Institute of Technology reported that the HCR delivered wider tonal range and colour gamut with an increased ability to reproduce Halftone Dot.
Trial 2 Results
Trial 2 was undertaken with the Gravure Association of the Americas (GAA) and took place in Western Michigan University in Feb 2019.
The purpose of the trial was to further the results of Trial 1 with a more thorough test that was independently verified.
Trail 2 compared traditional steel gravure cylinders against Hybrid (polymer build-up) Cylinders with the chrome free HCR coating in order to analyse both the print results and ink release but additionally, cylinder wear.
In isolating the cell volume differences the RIT test concluded that the ink release properties (when isolated) directly attributed to a 14% improvement with HCR.
The Ability to Reproduce Halftone Dots and Cylinder Life (Wear Resistance) are both better with HCR.
The full report is available to members of the GAA but will become public in due course.
Why Go Chrome Free?
The Hybrid Chrome replacement coating is a Patent Pending environmentally safe hybrid cylinder coating process with its foundations in diamond-like-carbon. The novel technology offers superior print results, lower print cost with increased cylinder longevity and removes the need for chrome plating and other electrolytic processes like copper or nickel plating so the question then becomes why would you not go chrome free?
The REACH regulation presents uncertainty to the gravure cylinder and anilox roller manufacturers who in turn supply their various markets and whilst temporary reprieves maybe granted and the use of chromium compounds extended, those reprieves still involve increased legislation and additional costs of compliance towards what most people accept will still be an eventual ban of chromium compounds in gravure cylinder and flexo anilox production.
Whilst Hybrid Chrome Replacement removes the headaches associated with this increasing level of compliance and the associated costs, the benefits of adopting the Roto-Hybrid Process are not just from a health, safety and environmental point of view as the process offers significant technical gains and efficiencies such as improved cylinder make-ready times and reduced ink consumption amongst others.
Request a Trial
Although the RotoHybrid are currently conducting a series of technology trials with early adopters of the technology later in Q2 the technology trials programme will be extended to a wider group of parties interested in using the RotoHybrid process.
To participate in a technology trial please email firstname.lastname@example.org for more details