The innovation, applied with an engraved gravure cylinder designed by the UK's Keating Specialist Cylinders, prints ink onto a polypropylene film and produces an embossed effect.
"This approach also gives brand owners more flexibility to run short-term promotions or seasonal themes using standard packaging, while saving costs on redesigns and wastage," claimed the US ink firm.
The two companies developed a technology that engraves cells which are “considerably deeper” than those found on traditional gravure cylinders, while maintaining a shallow gradient.
Gravure printing has been a leading printing process in the packaging sector for decades. But according to the two companies, their new technique can allow an image to be applied using a heavier ink weight than could be delivered if using standard gravure cylinders.
As such, the result the printed film has "an embossed effect using the specially formulated inks, without the cost or technological challenges of physical embossing."
"As brand owners and product manufacturers demand more shelf standout for their products, and other printing processes, such as flexo and digital, become more established in the packaging sector, it is necessary to look for new ways in which gravure can add value. Using this breakthrough technology, we are confident printers can offer their customers the ‘X factor’, as well as a cost-effective solution,” commented John Simms, technical sales director at Keating Specialist Cylinders.
The new ink and cylinder can be used with traditional gravure presses.