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!


  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!

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!