8 NOV, 2023

Rotogravure printing for flexible-packaging

The PrintPack Cerutti rotogravure machine in action.

What is rotogravure?

Rotogravure (often simply referred to as roto, or gravure), is a printing process known for its unrivaled quality, making it the go-to choice for the flexible-packaging industry, especially for food and cosmetic products. As an intaglio printing method, rotogravure employs engraved metal cylinders to transfer ink onto the product through a rotary printing press.

Ultimately, rotogravure printing is able to produce the finest grid patterns, achieve the highest possible colour density, and deliver photographic print quality.

Diagram of a rotogravure printing unit
Diagram of a rotogravure printing unit

Key components of a rotogravure printing unit include:

  • Substrate: The material to be printed on.
  • Engraved (or Gravure) Cylinder: Carries the ink for transfer.
  • Ink Fountain: Holds the desired ink colour.
  • Doctor Blade: Scrapes off excess ink from non-image portions of the cylinder.
  • Impression Roller: A rubber-coated cylinder that applies the design onto the film.

A typical gravure machine houses several printing units, each dedicated to a specific colour. PrintPack's two Cerutti machines carry an eight-colour capacity, with four of which often dedicated to the CMYK schema (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Key/black). If your project demands it, we can even incorporate additional units to cater to Pantone colours or any other specific needs.

PrintPack's Cerutti RB 811 rotogravure printing machine
One of PrintPack’s rotogravure machines, the Cerutti RB 811


  • Quality: Rotogravure delivers image reproduction of the highest quality across all commercial printing methods. Engraved cylinders offer remarkable color density, from the lightest hues to the deepest shadows.
  • Speed: With production as fast as 14 meters per second and a wide range of printable widths (up to 3.66 meters), which can be later slit to expedite production.
  • Consistency: Print quality remains maintained over large print runs, with printing cylinders capable of enduring volumes of up to 1 million linear meters without degrading quality, as in other printing methods such as flexography.
  • Flexibility: Rotogravure embraces a wide array of material types, including polyethylene, polypropylene, polyester, BOPP, and more. It accommodates custom finishes, such as matte lacquer for a luxurious look and feel, as well as special custom inks like metallic and Pantone.
  • Cost-Efficiency: Despite the initial high setup costs, rotogravure shines in high-volume runs, delivering cost efficiency over time.


  • Initial costs: The high start-up cost of cylinder engraving is offset by the exceptional printing quality and consistency, making it cost-effective for large quantities.
  • Cylinder preparation: Cylinder preparation can entail a longer lead time, often conducted offsite due to specialised techniques. At PrintPack, we guarantee the fastest possible set up and modifications, as our cylinder engraving department is housed within our premises.
  • Halftones: Images in rotogravure are printed as halftone 'dots,' which may be visible to the naked eye. Adjusting the ink and substrate combination can help avoid this in solid areas.

Rotogravure printing's unparalleled quality and versatility is the method of choice for flexible packaging. At PrintPack, we specialise in creating packaging solutions that stand out, delivering high-quality products and convenience for our clients.

Interested in our services?

Contact us today to schedule a free consultation