Gravure AIMCAL Alliance names “Best of the Best” in 2021 Golden Cylinder Awards

Three gravure printers were recognized recently with “Best of the Best” designations for their entries in the 2021 Golden Cylinder Awards. Organized by the Gravure AIMCAL Alliance (GAA) and co-sponsored by ACIMGA (Italian Manufacturers Assn. of Machinery for the Graphic, Converting and Paper Industry), the competition was, of course, impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The 2020 awards program was cancelled, and this year’s deadline was extended, but ultimately the winners were announced at the 2021 AIMCAL R2R USA Conference in Orlando, FL.

More than two dozen entries in Packaging & Label, Product, and Technical Innovation categories were received, covering 12 of the possible sub-categories. Category winners with the highest score became the “Best of the Best” winners. Despite the trials of entrants and the organizers, the GAA Board felt it was important to give members who wanted to participate a way to show that gravure printing and innovation continues through the pandemic, says GAA board member Tony Donato.

Judging was held at Daetwyler Industries (Huntersville, NC) with local area judges and industry professionals Al Ferrell, Bill Poulson, Chris Kerscher, Dan Comerford, Johnny Stamey, Phil Pimlott and Tony Donato.

“The GAA Board and Gravure AIMCAL Alliance Steering Committee want to thank everyone who submitted their outstanding work that was produced during a very testing time for all,” says Donato. “Printing is an integral part of our essential economy that kept producing products that benefit all of society. Thanks to the judges for all their time, support and wisdom. Thank you to Daetwyler for their hospitality in providing the judging venue and for ACIMGA for their joint sponsorship of the awards and adding an international component that we anticipate will continue for years.”

The three “Best of the Best” winners and judges’ comments follow:

Packaging & Label: Target Good & Gather™ 12-oz coffee pouches for Farmer Brothers Co. by Fres-co System USA, Inc. (see above). This package family was produced under unusual circumstances, using the gravure-printing process to highlight the subtle textures from the watercolor artwork and delivering great text. The pouches also won the Film/Film Lamination sub-category.

Product: “Jorgia Midnight” pattern by Omnova Solutions, Inc., a Synthomer Business. Dramatic use of realistic design and registered embossing resulted in a knockout submission. The gravure process is fully used in delivering both a subtle and dynamic tonal range and the EIR embossing process adds the tactile element. The product also took first-place in the Decorative Laminates sub-category.

Technical Innovation: B&H Mirrortech silver ink (hot-foil replacement) by Amcor Specialty Cartons (Chester, VA). This entry uses a more sustainable alternative to hot-foil stamping, delivering impressive results. By using EB primer and reflective metallic ink, the entrants have developed a brilliant solution. The product won the Inks/Substrates sub-category.

Other sub-category winners include:

Pressure-Sensitive Film: Bud Light® variable graphic NFL/college promotion by Multi-Color Corp. (Batavia, IL). Crisp text and good ink laydown are apparent on this multi-lane printing challenge. Along with representing 32 NFL and college teams, adherence to the PMS colors stipulated, and complex quantities, the tight production timeline was the greatest challenge.

Packaging: John Frieda Hair Care AFS / KAO cap-stand pouch by Fres-co System USA, Inc. This submission delivers a completely new solution that is superior and uses 50% less plastic than the traditional cap-stand plastic-laminate tubes. An efficient and practical form is enhanced with some first-rate gravure printing.

Decorative Coverings: “Seaglass” with gold luminescence by O’Sullivan Films, Inc., Continental Surface Solutions.A great example of design and function coming together, this Product winner met all the criteria for performance and delivered a shimmering effect. This highly pigmented piece uses pearlescent and metallic inks, gravure-printed on a highly elastic substrate, to great effect.

Image Preparation: Walmart Great Value / Eight O’Clock coffee pouches by Fres-co System USA, Inc. In this Technical Innovation, gravure is used to embed Digimarc Barcoding into the design. Not obvious to the consumer, this coding is used throughout the value chain without taking up any of the available packaging real-estate. The impressive technology aside, the winner of this sub-category also produced some impressive printing.

Image Carrier: Vacuum nozzle by AIR-AID Syntek Co., Ltd. This device enhances the performance of the vacuum removal of burrs from the cylinder-engraving machine with an elegantly designed solution. Yet another example of continuous improvement in gravure technology.

Press: INKSPEC MIIS-V3 viscometer by PAD INKSPEC (Canada). By enhancing consistency, economy, and efficiency, while controlling ink viscosity and lessening environmental impact as print defects are reduced, this Technical Innovation winner hit all the marks.

The Golden Cylinder Awards are an annual recognition of the most creative and highest quality gravure-print projects produced by various gravure operators throughout the Americas. The aim of the Golden Cylinder is to inspire other operators, as well as salespeople and end-users to consider the outstanding results that gravure methods make possible.

CALL FOR ENTRIES: The 2022 Golden Cylinder Awards competition is now open. Entry deadline is May 7, 2022. Download the entry application at

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