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Researchers of the LGP2 (EFPG, INPG, CNRS, CTP)
(November 2006)
Documents taken from the
"Scientific Report of the Laboratory of Pulp and Paper Science and Graphic Arts - UMR 5518
Grenoble - France
January 2002-November 2005"

IV - Printing processes

IV - 1 - Introduction

It would not be possible to separate this Graphic Arts Science and Technologies team report from its sad context – Gérard BAUDIN, Professor of the INPG, who founded this team and had since coordinated its activity, died quite suddenly in January 2004. His scientific approach to the problems encountered in the field and abilities across the whole of the graphic chain meant that he played a role of coordinator and adviser. In addition, following an internal reorganisation of the laboratory, we have welcomed Anne Blayo, Engineer of the EFPG, into our team. She is an experienced lecturer and researcher allowing our team to evolve in its composition, its competences and its objectives. In September 2005, our research team was reinforced by a full and associate professors, Didier Chaussy and Nadège Reverdy-Bruas. The hired scientist will contribute in developing our team and bring about new complementary competences. Moreover, the recent and decisive development of digital technologies in industrial printing processes involves the team in a reflection on the relevant central themes of research, in relation with the means of the team.

The field of action of the Graphic Arts Science and Technologies team is wide and multidisciplinary. It requires the mastery of all elements of the graphic chain: the materials involved; their implementation in processes ; the control, using sensors, of these processes and finally by the measurement of quality of the print produced.

Without going into too much detail, we can make a few comments about our work. Papers and cardboards are the strong points which link us with the other teams of the laboratory. The study of their structure and their physical properties is an essential element for their application. Knowledge of inks, toners, of their compositions and their behaviours, notably rheologies, is essential in order to master printing. Finally, the analysis of the interactions between inks and media permits a better control of the transfer parameters. In the case of classic printing processes such as offset, flexography or gravure printing, the materials are put in contact by means of a printing block, specific to the process utilised. The preparation of these printing blocks requires the use of software devoted to the manipulation and optimisation of digital flows. Their manufacture relies on chemical and physical-chemical knowledge of the materials. Over the past few years our team has particularly interested itself in the control of the offset process. Several theses have been concerned with the development of new and innovative sensors. One of them permits dynamic control of the wetting of the offset plate on the press : a control loop has been implemented to control the machine. A second sensor allowing an innovative on-line localisation, is briefly described below. Densitometric and colorimetric measurements allow the evaluation of the quality of a printed document, but these controls only have meaning if they are associated with each step of the process. This last point requires the standardisation of the graphic chain and assumes a mastery of production tools and intermediate tests.

Two central themes could be important in the near future:

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