Issues Facing Offset Printers Today & the Solutions

As technologies have advanced over the past several decades, it had had a direct impact on the offset printer industry. Many printing houses that sprung up on the 1980s and 1990s faced numerous challenges as the internet and digital printing came into being. In the 2000s, problems in the print industry saw several printing houses not able to adapt to the changes and found themselves going out of business or being purchased by another printer.

industrial sized printing machine

Let’s first take a look at specific events that occurred during this time leading up to the state of offset printing today. In the 1980s, printing technologies were starting to change. The costs for printers also started to decline and many printer manufacturers made it easier for businesses to finance their own printing presses.

Another major change that was going on in the 1980s and 1990s was the number of people it took to complete various printing tasks. Printers were able to streamline their staffing, largely in part to the rise of personal computers. Instead of needing a large staff working on prep tasks and numerous people running the presses, companies could now get by with fewer employees.

The presses being manufactured in the 1980s and 1990s only required a minimum of two to three people to run. Additionally, prep work was being completed at a much faster rate on computers, so small- and medium-sized printers only required one to three employees to do prep work. In some companies, the people that did the prep work also ran the presses.

As the costs for printing presses declined, combined with easy financing, competition in the industry exploded. Many displaced workers saw an opportunity to start their own printing businesses, so they did just that. An increase in new competitors entering the market meant prices for offset printing services declined.

blue lit chipset

Also occurring in the later part of the 1990s were advances in color printing technologies. The costs to print in full color became less than printing in spot (partial) color, so many companies switched to having marketing materials printed in full color. For printing houses, this meant an increase in business.

Yet, as with any explosion and growth in an industry, eventually, the bubble is going to burst. As printers continued to decrease costs to remain competitive, their profits became smaller and smaller. Going into the early 2000s, printing technologies changed again. This time, though, it spelled the end of the big offset printing boom of the 1980s and 1990s.

By the early 2000s, the internet had become widely accepted and even those naysayers that said it was just a passing fad quickly changed their minds. Businesses could now have a website with digitalized marketing materials online.

They could also send emails with digital brochures, pamphlets, and so on. Businesses also started moving more of their marketing and digital-based production in-house. It made sense to do so since they were not printing as many hardcopy materials.

Then, something else happened that had a direct effect on printing: “Going Green” movements. These movements were meant to make businesses and offices green by eliminating processes that could be done digitally. At the very top of everyone’s list was printing. Why print something when you can see it on a computer display?

engineer working on computer

The environmental impact of printing for industries also played a significant role that added “fuel” to the fire and further contributed to the bursting of the bubble. Many people thought green movements and digital technologies were going to kill printing for good, but they were mistaken, as people were not yet ready to let go of printed materials.

Is Print Dying?

Today, green movements and digital technologies are concerns that have not gone away and are still a major concern for offset printers. Granted, while the number of printed materials has declined in recent years, the silver lining here is that offset printing services are not going away anytime soon.

Why Won’t Print Die?

Print won’t die even in a digital world because there are numerous products and goods that will need offset printing services. For instance, all those canned goods in grocery stores need printed labels so consumers can distinguish not only between brand names but what is in the cans!

In addition, cardboard boxes, plastics, fabrics, cellophane, metallic films, and other such substrates, along with nonporous materials, do require some amount of printing. As a result, offset printing will continue to be around for the foreseeable future.

pizza box

Furthermore, there are simply just certain types of output, even if they are created digitally, that still need to be printed for various reasons. To illustrate, many businesses participate regularly in tradeshows for their respective industries. These businesses need to have printed materials they can put into the hands of current and prospective customers.

Think about it. If you were given a USB drive with digital files on it, how likely would you be to actually open and view them? Now, on the other hand, if you have a colorful brochure that was put into your hand with eye-popping graphics, you are more likely to flip through it and read it.

To remain competitive today, printing houses will need to adapt to offer more flexibility in the types of materials they can produce. The easiest way to be adaptable and flexible, more so than standard offset and lithography printing, is by upgrading to flexo printing presses.

auto businessmen viewing design

What Is Flexo Printing?

In general, flexo printing is a modernized version of letter-press printing. Different types of plates are used that are made from various materials including rubber and metal. Many printing houses have their own machines to produce the plates they need onsite.

Once the plates are made, they are mounted on the printer at the desired location. Then inks are loaded, based on the amount needed, into specialized rollers. Next, the ink is transferred to the plates and then imprinted onto the desired type of output.

The processes happen at lightning speeds. For mass-produced rolls that are later cut down into the desired sizes, high-end modern flexo printing presses can generate an output at a speed of up to 2,000 feet per minute!

worker operating industrial printing machine

Additionally, the costs for the inks used in flexo printing is typically less expensive than other types of offset and lithography printing. For printers, this helps them reduce their printing costs without having to cut into their bottom line. Not to mention, flexo printing presses can work with a wide range of materials, from paper and plastics to cardboard and nonporous materials.

Essential Cleaning Services/Products for Flexo Printing

Many of the parts, plates, rollers, and other components used in flexo printers need to be cleaned at various intervals. Printing companies often invest in flexo cleaning equipment to take care of this routine printer press maintenance in-house. Typical cleaning processes involve washing, draining, rinsing, and drying of parts and components.

The cleaning services and products required to maintain flexo printers will depend on what types of presses are being used by the business. For instance, if the presses have anilox rollers, then you will need an anilox cleaning system.

3d logo design of global shipments

To learn more about anilox cleaning, printing press parts washing, and other cleaning products and services for your printing presses, please feel free to contact Flexo Wash at 888-493-5396 today! We offer a large variety of cleaning equipment to meet every cleaning need within the printing industry, regardless of the size or type of printing press or inks used.

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Flexography Pioneer Joe Trungale’s Influence on Flexo Printing

Joe Trungale is often considered a pioneer in the flexography industry. During his lifetime, Mr. Trungale strived to educate, share information, and advance aniline (flexo) printing. Joe started his career in the printing industry back in 1956 and very quickly became interested in flexo printing processes.

In 1970, he started working for Pamarco Global Graphics and remained with this company until his retirement in 1999. The company manufactures anilox rollers and flexo printing presses. At his retirement, Joe had risen through the ranks and was a member of the executive board and Vice President, General Manager of Parmarco’s Western Division.

newspaper printing

During his time at Pamarco, Joe had become a member of FTA (Flexographic Technical Association) and was FTA’s National Workshop Chairmen for two and a half years. He also served on the FTA Board of Directors for six years and was inducted into the FTA’s Hall of Fame in 1985.

Aside from working for Parmarco, and his contributions to FTA, Mr. Trungale also was a teacher and educator. He taught at Fox Valley Technical College for over 24 years. He also did several technical presentations at the University of Western Michigan and Clemson University.

He was pivotal in helping the corrugated industry in furthering the development of flexo printing on corrugated materials. He became a member of TAPPI in 1973 and worked with their printing committee. Later, he served as Chairman of the printing committee. Eventually, in 1990, he became part of the Division Leadership team, and a National Chairman in 1993.

After retiring from Pamarco, Joe continued to remain active in the flexo printing industry. Due to his knowledge and experience, he was asked to write and publish the only book about anilox rollers—a vital part of the flexo printing processes.

workers in printing shop

A Brief History of Flexo Printing

The aniline or flexography (flexo) printing processes began back in 1890 in the United Kingdom. By the 1920s they had moved to Germany, where the majority of printing presses were being manufactured. The flexographic printing plates used at this time originally resulted in what was called “rubber stamp” printing because the process was poor and of low quality. Most problems stemmed from the ink transferring unevenly from the ink reservoir to the printing plate.

Early Ink Distribution System

The initial system used in flexographic printing machines was crude and consisted of two rubber rollers. One roller was used to pick up ink from a pan located below the rollers. Ink was transferred from one roller to the other. Pressure was applied to squeeze off excess ink. This system had limited controls other than the amount of pressure applied between the two rubber rollers.

There were problems duplicating the same ink thickness and films if print jobs had to be rerun at different times. It was also more noticeable when colored inks were used. The main cause of this issue was due to the amount of pressure applied by individual press operators. It was impossible for one press operator to create the exact same amount of pressure as another.

anilox roller in black and white

Invention of the Anilox Roller

In 1936, Interchemical Corporation’s International Printing Ink (IPI) division had developed an entire line of pigmented inks for the aniline (flexo) printing processes. This would help the packaging industry take a giant step forward, but the problem of ink transfer and its positive controls was a limiting factor.

An IPI employee, Douglas E. Tuttle, visited a client in Europe, and this client was using a coating that was transferred to the substrate using an etched cylinder. He believed this process could possibly be used to transfer inks in the aniline printing process.

Upon returning home to the United States, Mr. Tuttle began working on the improvement of ink transfer. In 1939, he applied to the U.S. Patent Office for a unique and new method of printing with fluid inks. This process allowed for precise control over the volume of inks, which could be achieved with minimal operator adjustment.

The etched cylinder used in gravure coating operations, at this time, was typically a steel cylinder with a copper plate. The copper plate was etched to the user’s specifications using various chemicals for the image or text to be transferred to the substrate.

In the procedure Mr. Tuttle observed in Europe, the etched cylinder also had different pockets that were filled with ink. The surface was wiped clean, and then, as the cylinder was applied to the substrate, the ink in the pockets released to create the printed image.

industrial size anilox rollers

Mr. Tuttle explored different options for rollers because there was concern about the durability of copper plated and chemically etched rollers over steel rollers that were mechanically etched. He then set about to search for a company to produce these rollers.

After several trials, errors, and advances, finally, the first mechanically etched cylinder was produced. This roller was designed to be used in aniline printing as the transfer roller with ink fed into it by the rubber fountain roller.

Mr. Tuttle called this an “anilox” roller because, at the time, IPI was marketing different lines of inks with brand names ending in “ox.” Since inks used for aniline printing were aniline inks, IPI had started marketing them as anilox inks; hence, the reason Mr. Tuttle named the etched cylinder an anilox roller.

Even though a patent was applied for in 1939, Mr. Tuttle did not have an interest in manufacturing anilox rollers but, rather, primarily in continuing to improve flexo printing processes. He was against a single company having a monopoly on the manufacture of anilox rollers.

IPI also did not pursue the patent because they were in the business to sell ink. As a result, the name “anilox roller” became a generalized term used in the aniline printing industry.

Mr. Tuttle’s invention has been hailed as one the most significant contributions to the aniline printing industry and the flexo printing processes. Due to his contributions, he was aptly named “The Father of Flexography.”

analyzing large format prints

Flexo Printing Today

Flexo printing continues to be a vital printing method used in a wide array of industries. Since the 1990s, one of the primary concerns of printers is being able to provide high-quality printed images, designs, and text for their clients and customers.

Part of maintaining consistent, high-quality printing is ensuring anilox rollers, printing parts, printing plates, and doctor blades are cleaned effectively. Simply wiping them off is not really effective, as there could still be ink residue left from the previous print run.

Today’s anilox printing rollers use very complex cells to hold the ink. In some cases, you would need to use a microscope to see ink contained within the cells on the roller. Wiping down the roller by hand, manually, will not get this ink out of the cells.

This is why printing companies rely upon flexo parts cleaning and washing solutions from Flexo Wash. Our unique cleaning methods and equipment incorporates the latest technologies. We offer the most innovative machines and cleaning solutions on the market to provide a deep, thorough cleaning.

worker managing large format prints

Regular cleaning and washing help prevent potential damage to your printing presses and equipment. We are the only company in the flexo print washing industry to offer a money-back guarantee.

If you are not happy with your Flexo Wash flexo parts cleaning system during the first 90 days of use, we will work with you to ensure your satisfaction. If, at the end of this time, you are still not satisfied, you can return the equipment for a full refund.

To learn more about our printing press parts washing and cleaning solutions for your anilox rollers and other parts and components, please feel free to contact Flexo Wash at 888-493-5396 today!

Sources

  1. http://imisrise.tappi.org/TAPPI/Products/01/R/0101R322.aspx
  2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flexography
  3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anilox
  4. http://www.pamarco.com/invention-of-the-anilox-roll/

Fountain Rollers vs. Anilox Rollers: Important Differences

Fountain Rollers vs. Anilox Rollers: Important Differences

The flexographic printing process is filled with a number of important components, each of which are essential in ensuring that final printed products look exactly the way they’re supposed to. Among these components are fountain rollers and anilox rollers (also known as fountain rolls and anilox rolls respectively). Though different in both form and function, these two components are both vital to the flexographic printing process. In this article, our flexography specialists here at Flexo Wash have created a short guide on the key differences between fountain rollers and anilox rollers and both components’ overall importance and role in the flexographic printing process as a whole. We’ve also included information on why keeping both of these components clean is an absolute must, and how our state-of-the-art automated flexo washing machines can help you optimize the cleaning process for fountain rollers, anilox rollers, and other flexography components. Read on to learn more, and contact our flexography experts directly at 502-592-5797 today!

Fountain Rollers

We’ll start with fountain rollers, since their job begins earliest in the flexo printing process. In a flexo printing system, the fountain roller is in direct contact with ink from the ink the ink fountain. Ink is transferred onto the fountain roller so that the fountain roller can apply a specific amount to the anilox roller in the next step of the printing process. The amount of ink transferred to the fountain roller is regulated by a device called the fountain blade. The rotational speed of the roller itself also plays a role in how much is transferred to the anilox roll and the flexo plates. A fountain roller that turns through a longer distance will transfer more ink to the surface of the anilox roller, and a longer amount of contact between the anilox and fountain rollers also affects how much ink is sent through the system.

Anilox Rollers

Next are the anilox rollers. Anilox rollers perform a vital step of the flexographic printing process and are in large part what makes flexography unique. After ink is transferred by a fountain roller in a flexo system, the anilox roller meters the ink that will then be transferred onto the flexo plate. Anilox rollers have engraved cells with specific volumes meant for carrying certain ink amounts. These cells determine thickness and can only be seen with a microscope. Ink thickness, in turn, determines several aspects of the final printed product, including color definition and opacity.

Keeping Your Fountain Rollers and Anilox Rollers Clean with Flexo Wash

Both fountain rollers and anilox rollers play vital rolls in flexography. When either of these components is not working correctly, the whole system suffers. One way this can happen is through improper cleaning. If fountain rollers and anilox rollers are not cleaned frequently, dried ink can build up and can cause a number of problems for printing accuracy and quality. If the rollers are not cleaned properly, they can wear down prematurely or break altogether. To ensure that you give your fountain rollers and anilox rollers the best washes possible, we advise investing in machinery to do the job right. When we say right, we mean efficiently, affordably, and properly. At Flexo Wash, we proudly design and manufacture a number of machines designed to clean anilox rolls, fountain rolls, and other parts of the flexographic printing process. We proudly carry products for both narrow-web products and wide-web products. Built with state-of-the-art features including gentle and efficient cleaning hardware, specialized cleaning solutions, open and closed circuit options, powerful microprocessors, and touch-screen interfaces for custom cleaning, our machines are excellent for any printing team looking for time- and money-saving roller washers that really work.

Explore our website to learn more about our many great products, and contact our team directly at 502-592-5797 today!

How Often Should You Clean Your Flexography Plates?

How Often Should You Clean Your Flexography Plates?

Your flexography plates are vital components of your flexography printing process. Made out of a specially-designed photopolymer material, flexo plates are responsible to transferring unique, high-definition images onto a wide variety of substrates. Your flexo plates come into contact with ink every time you print — and while ink is of course necessary for printing, it can also become a problem over time if not dealt with properly. In other words: you need to clean the ink off your flexo plates. It’s a must. In this guide, our flexography cleaning experts here at Flexo Wash have compiled a few tips on flexography plate cleaning frequency and best practices. If you want to know how often you should be cleaning your flexo plates, this is the article for you. If you want helpful information on the right materials and equipment to use for flexo plate cleaning, this article will help you get started. In addition to our helpful tips, we’ve also included information on our latest flexography plate-cleaning products, available now for both narrow-web and wide-web flexography plates. Read on to learn more, and contact our team directly at 502-592-5797 today!

The Short Answer: After Every Press Run

So, you want to know how often you should be cleaning your flexography plates. Well, the short answer is simple: you should clean your flexo plates after every press run. The reasoning behind this has to do the purpose and function of the plates themselves. Flexo plates are made of specialized photopolymer onto which ink is transferred for image printing. They can be thought of as the blueprints for the final printed images in the flexography process. As such, flexo plates come into contact with ink on each and every printing. If this ink is not cleaned regularly, it will begin to dry and cake on to the flexo plates. This can cause a myriad of issues for printing teams. Dried ink will very quickly affect the overall quality of the finished printed products, often requiring you to reprint after cleaning and thus costing you both time and money. Dried ink can also affect the structural integrity of flexo plates themselves, shortening their lifespans and forcing you to pay for costly replacements before you have to. In order to prevent dried ink buildup on your plates, we highly recommend cleaning them thoroughly after each and every press run. That way, you’ll be able to stay on top of any ink mess before it begins to dry — thus keeping your plates clean and always ready for the next print.

Cleaning Your Plates the Right Way

While cleaning your plates after every press run may seem like a simple enough premise, cleaning can often turn out to be a much bigger hassle in practice. That’s because flexography plate-cleaning is a delicate and involved process. You need to use the right chemicals and cleaning tools, and you need to take great care to not damage the plates themselves. For those who opt for the manual route, this can often spell headache and hours of time spent on cleaning each week. For this reason, we recommend looking into automated cleaning solutions for your flexo plates. In the following sections, you’ll learn more about the advantages of cleaning your flexo plates with an automated machine like one of our state-of-the-art products here at Flexo Wash. You’ll also get more information on our narrow-web and wide-web flexography plate washers.

The Advantages of Automated Plate Washing

Flexo plate cleaning is necessary for successful press runs. When done manually, it can feel mostly like a necessary evil. Flexo plates require great care and delicacy, plus a host of specialized chemicals and cleaning tools. By-hand cleaning thus costs flexography printing teams sizeable chunks of both time and money — and still runs them the risk of potential plate damage. With automated cleaning, plate washing time is minimized, and the process itself is performed with unparalleled precision and effectiveness. You won’t have to worry about supplies since they are all built in. Nor will you have to spend precious time and energy worrying about whether the job was completed satisfactorily. With automated plate washing machines like our cutting-edge products here at Flexo Wash, all aspects of plate washing have been optimized and precisely tailored for immaculate results. Learn more about our machines below.

Narrow-Web Plate Washing Machines

Looking for narrow-web plate washing machines? You’ll the world’s best right here in our inventory. Our narrow-web plate cleaning machines use a horizontal conveyor system to gently move plates under moving brushes saturated with cleaning solution. Once cleaning is completed, plates are rinsed in a short cycle and ready for the next press run. All of our available machines, including our PW 45 and PW 130 models, are controlled by a microprocessor with a user-friendly touch screen for fast and easy adjustments based on the type of plate and amount of ink used. Two types of rinsing systems are available: open and closed circuit. Visit our Narrow-Web Plate Washing Machines page to learn more about our available machines.

Wide-Web Plate Washing Machines

In addition to our narrow-web line, we also design and manufacture a selection of wide-web plate washing machines. Our wide-web plate cleaning machines are available in a wide range of models each designed to specifically service different printer and ink types. Like the narrow-web plate washers, our wide-web washers feature horizontal plate washing systems and state-of-the-art microprocessors with on-board touch screens for easily-customizable cleaning whenever you need it. All models will wash wide-web polymer plates within only a few minutes, and the unique design and function makes it extremely easy-to-use for the operators. Our available models include Plate Washers 82, 92, 115, 130, and 180. Learn more about each of these models by visiting our Wide-Web Plate Washing Machines page.

Learn More: Contact Us!

Interested in learning more about flexo plate washing? Our professionals here at Flexo Wash are happy to help you out. Whether you want more info on our plate washing machines or simply just want to talk shop, we want to hear from you!

Explore our website to learn more about our many great products and contact our team directly at 502-592-5797 today!

Never Skip A Cleaning — Work With Flexo Wash

Never Skip A Cleaning — Work With Flexo Wash for Effective and Efficient Flexography Cleaning

If you work in flexographic printing, you know how important your machines are to the overall success of your business. From anilox rolls and plates, to gravures and other flexography products, each mechanical component of your system needs to be working at its best in order for you to produce high-quality printed materials. When one of these components is not working the way it’s supposed to, it can compromise quality on your production line, costing you precious time and money. In flexography, the most common cause of faulty components and poor production is dirtiness. As an ink-intensive process, flexography printing is perpetually at risk of ink build-up at virtually every step of production — which is why cleaning your plates, rolls, slides, gravures, and other components as frequently as possible is of the utmost importance. At Flexo Wash, we proudly design and produce a selection of machines designed to streamline and optimize the flexography cleaning process for virtually every component imaginable. We’ve put together this short guide to show you why cleaning your flexography products is so important, and why working with us will not only give you the best results possible, but also save you time and money. Read on to learn more, and contact our flexography experts at 502-592-5797 today!

Flexography Cleaning: A Tale of Dedication and Delicacy

As stated above, cleaning the components of your flexography printing system is vital in ensuring optimal quality for your printed products and saving you time, money, and headache in the long run. Since the number one source or dirt and subsequent damage to components such as anilox rolls, screens, plates and gravures is ink — and since ink touches all of these components on every print run — it’s important to clean these components, ideally, after every run. On top of that, it’s also vital to use the correct cleaning equipment and chemicals so as to not damage your flexography components. Since every component is somewhat different in the way should be cleaned — and since all of the aforementioned products require considerable delicacy during washing — it can be quite a time-consuming venture to clean your flexography products on your own. For best results, and to save your yourself considerable time and hassle, it’s a wise choice to consider automation.

Comprehensive Component-Specific Solutions

Here at Flexo Wash, we proudly design and manufacture a wide range of flexography washing machines for high-quality component-specific cleaning. With options for both narrow web and wide web flexography equipment, our comprehensive selection has automated solutions to fit virtually any printing set-up. For anilox rolls, we offer a full line of roll cleaning machines that can remove all traces of dust and ink from rolls of any size in a matter of minutes. Simply place your rolls into the chamber and let the machine handle the rest. For plates and screens, we offer a comprehensive line of machines designed to effectively and efficiently clean each of these components respectively. The links given will lead you to our narrow web washing machines; for wide-web plate washers click here, and for wide-web sleeve washers click here. In addition to these flexography cleaning machines, we also offer a wide range of machines designed to clean gravures and other components of the flexography printing systems.

Find the Right Fit for Your Flexographic Printing Enterprise

If you are looking for a fast and fool-proof way to clean your flexography equipment the right way, there is no better choice than our automated cleaning equipment here at Flexo Wash. Our component-specific machines save users the hassle of finding the right cleaning chemicals and other equipment, all while ensuring that flexography parts are thoroughly washed in a fraction of the time it takes to wash them by hand. Save yourself time and money, and stop worrying about damaging your expensive printing equipment during cleaning — let our machines handle the process for you! Virtually every product in our extensive line comes standard with a state-of-the-art microprocessor and user-friendly touch-screen interface for custom cleaning options so you can get the perfect wash for your products.

Interested in learning more about which of our machines may be right for you? Browse our selection right on this site, or give our team a call directly at 502-592-5797 today!

Cleaning Your Anilox Rolls the Right Way

Keeping your anilox rolls clean is essential in ensuring that your flexographic system works the way it’s supposed to. When anilox rolls get “dirty,” it’s due to a buildup of ink from past printing sessions. Ink can dry in the cells of the anilox rolls and cause serious problems for future prints. Thankfully, ink buildup can be easily remedied (and prevented from happening altogether), through proper and regular anilox roll cleaning.

For many business owners, however, anilox roll cleaning appears at face value to be anything but easy. Anilox rolls themselves are not only incredibly important to the flexography printing process — they’re also very fragile and quite expensive to replace. Together, these characteristics make anilox rolls fairly intimidating to clean. Fortunately, our flexography cleaning professionals here at Flexo Wash are here to help. In this article, we’ve put together a short guide on how to clean your anilox rolls the right way. We’ve also provided a wealth of information on our industry-leading anilox roll washing machines, designed for both wide and narrow web products and used by some of the world’s top printing companies. Read on to learn more about anilox roll cleaning, and contact our professionals at (888) 493-5396 today!

Do My Anilox Rolls Need to Be Cleaned?

After each printing, a trace amount of ink is left on an anilox roll. This ink can collect in cells or other surface areas of the roll and can eventually lead to cell plugging, which will directly affect printing quality. When your anilox roll color density or coat weight diminishes, that’s a telltale sign that your nilox roll needs to be cleaned. Another way to find out if your anilox roll needs to be cleaned is by using a Capatch Test Strip to determine your roll volume. If the volume is plugged 50% or more, then it is time to clean your roll.

Flexography Ink Cleaning: What To Avoid

There are several dos and don’ts to pay attention to when cleaning your anilox rolls. Firstly, 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. If you’re using a journal system, be sure to handle your anilox rolls with great care. We recommend keeping protective covers on your rolls when storing them as well. If you are using anilox roll sleeves for your flexography printing, we recommend thorough rinsing after each use, and regular cleaning with the use of approved cleaning chemicals. (Stay away from harsh chemicals such as oven cleaners or other cleaners not specifically developed for cleaning sleeves.)

Anilox Roll Cleaning Methods

While chemical cleaning is the most common form of anilox roll cleaning, there are several other methods that may also be used for more intensive cleans. These methods include:

  • Ultrosonic Cleaning: Ultrasonic cleaning uses high-frequency sound waves sent through water or another solvent to break down ink or other unwanted deposits on an anilox roll.
  • Baking Soda Blasting: This relatively new anilox roll cleaning method air-blasts fine, uniformly-sized baking soda particles at the surface of a rotating roll. The baking soda particles are smaller than the anilox roll’s cell openings and effectively reach in to break down any offending material. A vacuum is then used to remove the baking soda and unwanted material, leaving the roll clean.
  • Plastic (Poly) Bead Systems: Plastic (poly) bead systems work in the same way that bake soda blasting does, except they make use of tiny plastic beads to clear out unwanted ink and debris inside an anilox roll’s cells.

Anilox Roll Cleaning at Flexo Wash

If you are searching for the fastest and most effective way to clean your anilox rolls, look no further than our products here at Flexo Wash. As an industry leader in flexography cleaning solutions, we proudly manufacture our own line of state-of-the-art cleaning machines, designed to clean anilox rolls for the following products:

  • Narrow Web Products: Our fully-automated, highly-effective anilox roll cleaners for narrow web products will have your anilox rolls cleaned and your cell volume totally restored in under 20 minutes. We also offer optional adaptors available for sleeve cleaning.
  • Wide Web Products: Our anilox roll cleaning machines designed for wide web products include our FW Side Load, FW Inline Cleaning, and Cylinder Washing machines, each with their own unique advantages and specialties.
  • Gravure Products: In addition to the above products, we also provide a selection of anilox roll cleaning machines specially-designed for gravure products. Click the above link to learn more!

Used by some of the world’s leading printing companies and designed for optimal cleaning performance, our anilox roll cleaning machines will provide you with the perfect anilox roll cleaning solution for any flexography system. If you are interested in learning more about anilox roll cleaning or any of our products here at Flexo Wash, please contact our flexography team at (888) 493-5396 today!

The Importance of Regularly Cleaning and Maintaining Your Flexography Equipment

If you work with flexography printing systems, you know that nearly every piece of flexography equipment at your company comes into contact with ink and gets “dirty.” From the anilox rolls and doctor blades to the flexo plates and the ink trays themselves, almost nothing is exempt from this phenomenon. Over time, ink buildup and other sources of contamination can begin to have direct impacts on your printed products, thus costing you time and money and negatively affecting your bottom line. Components of your flexography printing system may also stop working for a variety of mechanical reason if regular inspections and maintenance appointments are not scheduled. To ensure that you don’t have a component breakdown in the middle of the work week, it is imperative that you stay on top of regular maintenance. In this short article, our flexopgraphy cleaning professionals here at Flexo Wash have compiled several reasons why regularly cleaning and maintaining your flexography equipment is the right move for your business. We’ll also give you some information on our very own line of specialized flexography cleaning machines. Read on and contact our team at (888) 493-5396 today!

Keeping Everything Running Smoothly

In the flexography printing business, efficiency and quality are everything. You want to be able complete a wide range of printing jobs as quickly as possible, and you also want each and every one of those jobs to meet the expectations of your clients. For these reasons, having properly-functioning equipment day in and day out is vital to your business. A dirty anilox roll can lead to unsatisfactory ink distribution, which will in turn lead to compromised detail and image rendering on final products. Cracked or dirty plates won’t be able to transfer ink as effectively to the substrate, leading to similar quality diminishments on final products.

These problems are bad enough in and of themselves, but when they happen in the middle of a workday, production halts and bottom lines plummet. Thankfully, such issues can be avoided through regular cleaning and maintenance. Keeping your anilox rolls, flexo plates, doctor blades, and ink trays clean at all times will greatly reduce the likelihood that your finished prints will turn out poorly. Plus, regular cleaning will help save you time in the long run. By scheduling regular maintenance inspections for your equipment, you will be able to identify problems before they arise and schedule necessary repairs or replacement wherever needed without losing a day (or more) of work and compromising your bottom line. Maintenance inspections will also alert you to any practices you may have been neglecting or performing incorrectly, helping you to avoid costly mistakes in the future.

Keeping Costs Low

As a business owner, you want to keep costs low. For this reason, regular cleanings and maintenance inspections might seem like a bothersome or unnecessary investment. In fact, this couldn’t be further from the truth. By scheduling regular maintenance inspections, you are protecting yourself from unwanted equipment mishaps and malfunctions down the road. Should a component of your machine break in middle of a busy printing day, you will not only be out the cost of a new component — you’ll have also lost at least a day’s worth of business. By scheduling regular maintenance inspections, you will know to repair and replace parts ahead of time, keeping your bottom line and your peace of mind intact.

Regularly cleaning your flexography equipment will also help keep costs low. Regular cleanings will extend the lifespans of nearly all components of a flexography system, thus saving you money on untimely replacements. By investing in a specialized cleaning machine like one of our many state-of-the-art models at Flexo Wash, you will be able to clean the components of your flexography system efficiently and effectively for optimal perseveration and performance.

Keep Clean With Flexo Clean

When it comes to cleaning your flexography equipment, there is simply no better choice than our fully-automated cleaning machines here at Flexo Wash. Used by some of world’s leading printing companies, our machines are designed for maximum efficiency and cleaning performance across a wide range of flexography products. We proudly manufacture machines specifically designed to clean narrow web products, wide web products, and gravure products respectively. To learn more about our product line, and to speak with one of our flexography professionals about cleaning your flexographic equipment, give us a call at (888) 493-5396 today!