The Roto-Hybrid team have recently delivered a technology update at the Gravure Association of the Americas (GAA) Technical Conference in Cincinnati, Ohio.

The European Commission have funded our 24 month, €3m EC grant to bring to market the state-of-the-art Roto-Hybrid Process and we were pleased to give the GAA, future customers and project stakeholders an update as to the progress of the research project.

The innovative Roto-Hybrid process combines two novel pre-press gravure printing cylinder process technologies; namely the Hybrid Cylinder technology to enable a polymer based ‘size variable’ printing cylinder and a Diamond-Like Carbon cylinder coating to replace chrome plating and other electrolytic processes such as copper and nickel plating.

The project has been progressing to schedule and entering into the second phase, a series of technology trials have been undertaken.

Trials Underway

Whilst 2017 was a year of manufacturing development and fine tuning to facilitate both larger cylinders for the Hybrid Cylinder and to bring online the dedicated coating equipment for the HCR chrome replacement cylinder process, the focus of 2018 shifted towards technology trials.

We are pleased to report that 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 Results 

The full findings report is available to members of the GAA but will become public in due course.

However, the trial with Mondi Group in Sep 2018 included a side by side comparison of traditional steel gravure cylinders copper engraved and finished in chrome versus traditional steel gravure cylinders with HCR (Hybrid Chrome Replacement).

To isolate the results to chrome versus HCR, 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 told the audience at the GAA that the HCR delivered wider tonal range and colour gamut, the HCR ability to reproduce Halftone Dots was better with HCR.

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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 technology@rotohybrid.com for more details