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!

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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!

Anilox Rolls: When to Clean

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!

The Importance of Anilox Roll Cleaning

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.

Cleaning Frequency

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.

Signs That Your Anilox Roll Needs 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.

Anilox Roll Cleaning at Flexo Wash

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!