Your anilox rolls are a vital component of your flexography printing business. Anilox rolls control just how much ink is distributed onto printing plates, which then transfer the final image to a substrate. When anilox rolls fail to work correctly, it is impossible to get a properly-rendered finished product. Plus, an anilox roll that is not well cared for may need to be replaced, costing your company several hundreds to thousands of dollars. One way to keep your anilox rolls working better for longer is to keep them clean. Cleaning anilox rolls may seem intimidating; after all, they’re expensive, fragile, and vital to your printing process — small mistakes can be costly. To help you out, we’ve compiled this short guide on the dos and don’ts of anilox roll cleaning. Below, you’ll get advice from our experts on anilox roll cleaning frequency, best practices, and other maintenance considerations. We’ll also give you the opportunity to explore our efficient and highly-effective anilox roll cleaning machines, designed and manufactured to clean anilox rolls for both narrow and wide web products. Read on for The Best Techniques for Keeping Your Anilox Rolls Clean, and contact our flexography professionals at (888) 493-5396 today!
Knowing When to Clean
Perhaps the most frequent question we get regarding anilox roll cleaning is “How often should I clean my anilox rolls?” The answer is: it varies. While there’s really no such thing as too much cleaning (provided you’re doing it properly), some companies may need to clean their anilox rolls less frequently than others. Cleaning frequency is highly dependent on the volume of work your anilox rolls take on. An anilox roll that comes into contact with a lower amount of ink per day will need to be cleaned less frequently than an anilox roll that comes into a higher amount of ink per day.
Cleaning frequency also partially comes down to preference. Some businesses prefer to clean their anilox rolls quite frequently, which keeps the cleaning time per session relatively short. Other businesses may wait longer in favor of a more intensive clean with less frequently. Whichever you choose, be sure not to wait too long: excessively dirty rolls will not only damage your finished products — they may also sustain long-term damage themselves.
At Flexo Wash, we recommend cleaning your anilox rolls after every printing session. However, our specially-designed anilox roll cleaning machines are capable of providing thorough cleans to anilox rolls that haven’t been cleaned in much longer time spans. Provided your rolls aren’t dirty enough to affect your product, you may have to clean them weekly or even monthly, especially with automated systems like our anilox roll cleaning machines.
Using the Right Cleaners
At the heart of anilox roll-cleaning best practices are proper cleaning products. When cleaning your anilox rolls, it is important to use safe and non-corrosive cleaners with a pH value between 6.5 and 10.5. Do not use 100% acidic, ammonia, or chlorine as cleaning liquids. Aside from common chemical cleaners, there are several other anilox roll cleaning methods, including baking soda cleaners, plastic (poly) bead systems, and ultrasonic techniques, each with their own unique advantages and drawbacks. At Flexo Wash, we highly recommend using our anilox roll cleaning machines, which use specialized cleaning solutions, powered washing techniques, and directed air drying to effectively and efficiently clean anilox rolls of all kinds. You can learn more about our machines in the final section of this article.
Before moving on to the final section of our article, we’d like to remind you of several general care and maintenance tips that will help your anilox rolls safe and clean. Firstly, proper handling of rolls is essential. Try not to touch the rolls’ ceramic with your hands; instead, handle them by their ends. We recommend using protective sleeves to keep rolls safe at all times. We also recommend storing your rolls in a two-arm rack with a half-inch clearance on each side of the roll. This system allows the majority of the weight to rest on the thicker part of the journal rather than the ends of the journal.
Effectively and Efficiently Clean Your Anilox Rolls With Flexo Wash
At Flexo Wash, we proudly design and manufacture a line of several machines designed to effectively and efficiently clean anilox rolls of all kinds. Used by some of the leading printing companies in the world, our specialized anilox roll cleaning machines clean narrow web products, wide web products, and gravure products. Follow the links for more information on each of our highly-specialized anilox roll cleaning machines and learn how you can have your anilox rolls effortlessly cleaned in under 20 minutes.
Have more questions about anilox roll cleaning? Contact our professionals at (888) 493-5396 today!