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!
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.
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.