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Basic question about rotogravure cylinder plating / chemicals

Q. What would you name as the most important qualities of the copper bath for the plating of rotogravure printing cylinders? What do you look for when you are making a purchase of chemicals for the bath? What are some of the variables you typically take into consideration, whether you produce publications, packaging, or specialty products? I realize some of these questions might be a bit broad but any information you might be able offer would be a great help. I am just starting to learn about the rotogravure plating process. Thanks.

Christine Booss
- New Haven, Connecticut

thumbs up signHi Christine. In my own experience the "most important quality" of the copper bath is the skill set of the particular tech service person who will be servicing the region (an obvious fact to most here, but a fact that appears to be contrary to the interests of those who are driving the acquisition process in this industry and trying to secure your business by buying out your other choices).

As far as promotional programs, I'd suggest emphasizing the most important quality of the copper bath :-)

Ted Mooney,
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha - Pine Beach, New Jersey

A. Copper deposits for rotogravure applications have to be much harder and substantially thicker than most conventional electroplated coppers. So, the ability to plate fast and with a high hardness is critical. There is a number of commercial baths developed for rotogravure applications. Enthone-OMI sells a composition called CuPrint, McGean-Rohco's is called, I believe, CuFlex. Hope this is helpful, Good luck from PlaterB

berl stein berl sig
"PlaterB" Berl Stein
NiCoForm, Inc.
supporting advertiser
Rochester, New York

Q. Thanks very much for your replies. I wanted to ask you if you might be able to elaborate on your comment that the service rep is the most important quality, and what qualities he or she must possess to be a "standout"? You are the first person who has said this of those with whom I've spoken, so of course I'm interested to know why.

Thanks again. Any further input would be very much appreciated.

Christine Booss [returning]
- New Haven, Connecticut

A. Basically, we've all heard the old Ford vs. Chevy truck, or Toyota vs. Honda arguments, for so many years that we came to realize that one is not really significantly superior to the other after all. If it was, the other would be out of business, not hanging onto their market share forever.

It's much the same thing in the electroplating chemical business. Enthone-OMI doesn't make inferior processes, and neither does Atotech or Macdermid nor most of the smaller vendors.

Yet knowing this, you'll still hear a plater talk about how they "threw out" BrandA, and BrandB's chemistry "saved" them; the next week you'll hear the same words from another shop in a different region but with the two suppliers' names swapped. Different process chemistry didn't "save them" -- what really happened is that a knowledgable and energetic tech service person fixed some problem (which probably wasn't even in the copper plating bath) :-)

But as for basic generic chemistry, as opposed to suppliers, observe Berl Stein's note that you need a bath that plates fast and hard. This normally means a copper sulphate [on eBay or Amazon affil link]plating bath (as opposed to copper cyanide), and addition agents such as gelatin, napthoquinone, Rochelle salts, and tartaric acid [on eBay or Amazon affil link] (see Plating & Surface Finishing, July 89, p. 10).

Ted Mooney,
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha - Pine Beach, New Jersey

thumbs up signThank you so much for the information. And again, what a great website. I am especially thrilled at the no-bells-and-whistles approach.


Christine Booss
- New Haven, Connecticut

Q. I want information of copper plating of rotogravure cylinders tell me the best chemicals of this system.

Also inform me what type of requirement for base on the cylinder.


Muhammad Sabir
- Lahore, Pakistan

May 16, 2013

A. Hi!

Most Important Part for Copper would be to many as discussed above.

1. Your Technical Staff
2. I would suggest copper chemistry from [name deleted by editor]
3. Hardness additives are lots of available in market. You may go for [name deleted by editor]
4. Very standard rectifiers and bath
5. Even the mounting assembly (Most Important in sub continent) has to be perfect to pass on desired current.
6. Bath and Plating area environment has to be very tidy.
7. Last and first your technical staff must maintain above all.


Parag Patel
- Ahmedabad, India

Ed. note: Pareq is a knowledgeable rotagravure plater whose help is greatly appreciated! But this site is for camaraderie and technical info, no suggestions of specific proprietaries please! Unfortunately, if posting can offer commercial benefit, it turns the site into a spam fest. Plus it is disrespectful to those who have lobbied to get their companies to become supporting advertisers, for their company's money to be spent on suggestions that readers buy their competitors' products instead :-)

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