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!