Components of Your Printing System
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!
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.
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.
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.
Highly specialized, highly expensive, and highly-fragile, your anilox rolls are the centerpieces of your flexographic printing machines. You want your rolls to work as well as possible for as long as possible, which means giving them the proper care whenever needed. In this article, our flexographic cleaning experts at Flexo Wash provide your with a short guide to cleaning anilox rolls. Below, we’ll cover topics including the importance of cleaning anilox rolls, when to clean your anilox rolls, and how you can get fast, easy, and effective anilox cleaning using our specialized anilox roll cleaning machines. Read on for more information, and contact our cleaning professionals at (888) 493-5396 today!
If you work at a printing company, you know how important an anilox roll is to the flexographic printing process. Indeed, anilox rolls are the distinguishing feature of flexography and give it the ability to effectively and efficiently print a wide range of finished products. If you work in printing, you also probably know how expensive anilox rolls are (most run in the several hundred to thousand-dollar price range for an individual rolls). The last important thing you likely know about anilox rolls is their inherent fragility. On their surfaces, anilox rolls are coated in hard, easily-cracked ceramic material will thousands of small indentations (called “cells”) responsible for precisely distributing ink onto a flexo plate. Even the lightest improper contact with anilox roll can chip or crack its surface, thus rendering it incapable of performing its essential function. For all the above reasons, you may also know just how important it is to properly maintain an anilox roll — but for same reasons, you may be afraid to do it.
In this article, our experts at Flexo Wash are here to remind you of the importance of anilox roll cleaning, give you tips on when to do it, and provide you with an easy, mechanized solution to help take the stress out of anilox roll cleaning. Dirty rolls can impact printing your printing business in a number of ways. For one, rolls with dried or caked-on ink will not perform to the same level of detail as clean rolls. They also take longer to do the same jobs. This is because dried-on ink prevents new ink from being properly transferred to printing plates (and subsequently to the substrates themselves). Put simply, dirty anilox rolls lead to lower bottom lines for printing companies. If you’re industry, you know this is a setback you simply can’t afford.
Many printing companies have asked us how often they should be cleaning their anilox rolls. Our answer is always the same: it varies. There are several factors that contribute to anilox dirtiness, and each of these factors occurs to varying degrees in varying commercial settings. If you your anilox takes on a relatively light workload with lower ink levels, you may not need to clean as often as another company’s anilox that is worked harder on a day-to-day basis. Another factor involved in anilox cleaning is that of preference. Would you rather clean regularly in shorter cleaning sessions, or less regularly in longer, more intensive cleaning sessions? The choice is up to you — but remember, don’t wait too long. If anilox rolls get too dirty, they’ll ruin your product.
At Flexo Wash, our professionals recommend washing anilox rolls after each and every print job. That being said, our specialized anilox washing machines can enable lighter-load companies to wash their anilox rolls as infrequently as once a month. With anilox roll cleaning, it really depends on usage. The more you use your roll, the more often it will need cleaning.
The biggest contributor to anilox roll dirtiness is dried ink. 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. You can tell that your roll needs cleaning when your color density or your coat weight diminishes. 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.
Many printing companies fear cleaning their anilox rolls due to the potential risk of damaging their costly and fragile investments. If you, like many, are in this boat, then we have good news for you. Here at Flexo Wash, we proudly offer several automated anilox roll cleaning machines for narrow web products, wide web products, and gravure products. Designed for maximum efficacy and efficiency, our anilox roll cleaning machines are used by some of the most successful printing companies in the world. To learn more about our products, and to ask our professionals ask questions about anilox roll cleaning in general, contact our team (888) 493-5396 today!
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