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!

Advertisements

Cleaning Your Anilox Rolls the Right Way

Keeping your anilox rolls clean is essential in ensuring that your flexographic system works the way it’s supposed to. When anilox rolls get “dirty,” it’s due to a buildup of ink from past printing sessions. Ink can dry in the cells of the anilox rolls and cause serious problems for future prints. Thankfully, ink buildup can be easily remedied (and prevented from happening altogether), through proper and regular anilox roll cleaning.

For many business owners, however, anilox roll cleaning appears at face value to be anything but easy. Anilox rolls themselves are not only incredibly important to the flexography printing process — they’re also very fragile and quite expensive to replace. Together, these characteristics make anilox rolls fairly intimidating to clean. Fortunately, our flexography cleaning professionals here at Flexo Wash are here to help. In this article, we’ve put together a short guide on how to clean your anilox rolls the right way. We’ve also provided a wealth of information on our industry-leading anilox roll washing machines, designed for both wide and narrow web products and used by some of the world’s top printing companies. Read on to learn more about anilox roll cleaning, and contact our professionals at (888) 493-5396 today!

Do My Anilox Rolls Need to Be Cleaned?

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. When your anilox roll color density or coat weight diminishes, that’s a telltale sign that your nilox roll needs to be cleaned. 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.

Flexography Ink Cleaning: What To Avoid

There are several dos and don’ts to pay attention to when cleaning your anilox rolls. Firstly, 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. If you’re using a journal system, be sure to handle your anilox rolls with great care. We recommend keeping protective covers on your rolls when storing them as well. If you are using anilox roll sleeves for your flexography printing, we recommend thorough rinsing after each use, and regular cleaning with the use of approved cleaning chemicals. (Stay away from harsh chemicals such as oven cleaners or other cleaners not specifically developed for cleaning sleeves.)

Anilox Roll Cleaning Methods

While chemical cleaning is the most common form of anilox roll cleaning, there are several other methods that may also be used for more intensive cleans. These methods include:

  • Ultrosonic Cleaning: Ultrasonic cleaning uses high-frequency sound waves sent through water or another solvent to break down ink or other unwanted deposits on an anilox roll.
  • Baking Soda Blasting: This relatively new anilox roll cleaning method air-blasts fine, uniformly-sized baking soda particles at the surface of a rotating roll. The baking soda particles are smaller than the anilox roll’s cell openings and effectively reach in to break down any offending material. A vacuum is then used to remove the baking soda and unwanted material, leaving the roll clean.
  • Plastic (Poly) Bead Systems: Plastic (poly) bead systems work in the same way that bake soda blasting does, except they make use of tiny plastic beads to clear out unwanted ink and debris inside an anilox roll’s cells.

Anilox Roll Cleaning at Flexo Wash

If you are searching for the fastest and most effective way to clean your anilox rolls, look no further than our products here at Flexo Wash. As an industry leader in flexography cleaning solutions, we proudly manufacture our own line of state-of-the-art cleaning machines, designed to clean anilox rolls for the following products:

  • Narrow Web Products: Our fully-automated, highly-effective anilox roll cleaners for narrow web products will have your anilox rolls cleaned and your cell volume totally restored in under 20 minutes. We also offer optional adaptors available for sleeve cleaning.
  • Wide Web Products: Our anilox roll cleaning machines designed for wide web products include our FW Side Load, FW Inline Cleaning, and Cylinder Washing machines, each with their own unique advantages and specialties.
  • Gravure Products: In addition to the above products, we also provide a selection of anilox roll cleaning machines specially-designed for gravure products. Click the above link to learn more!

Used by some of the world’s leading printing companies and designed for optimal cleaning performance, our anilox roll cleaning machines will provide you with the perfect anilox roll cleaning solution for any flexography system. If you are interested in learning more about anilox roll cleaning or any of our products here at Flexo Wash, please contact our flexography team at (888) 493-5396 today!

The Importance of Regularly Cleaning and Maintaining Your Flexography Equipment

If you work with flexography printing systems, you know that nearly every piece of flexography equipment at your company comes into contact with ink and gets “dirty.” From the anilox rolls and doctor blades to the flexo plates and the ink trays themselves, almost nothing is exempt from this phenomenon. Over time, ink buildup and other sources of contamination can begin to have direct impacts on your printed products, thus costing you time and money and negatively affecting your bottom line. Components of your flexography printing system may also stop working for a variety of mechanical reason if regular inspections and maintenance appointments are not scheduled. To ensure that you don’t have a component breakdown in the middle of the work week, it is imperative that you stay on top of regular maintenance. In this short article, our flexopgraphy cleaning professionals here at Flexo Wash have compiled several reasons why regularly cleaning and maintaining your flexography equipment is the right move for your business. We’ll also give you some information on our very own line of specialized flexography cleaning machines. Read on and contact our team at (888) 493-5396 today!

Keeping Everything Running Smoothly

In the flexography printing business, efficiency and quality are everything. You want to be able complete a wide range of printing jobs as quickly as possible, and you also want each and every one of those jobs to meet the expectations of your clients. For these reasons, having properly-functioning equipment day in and day out is vital to your business. A dirty anilox roll can lead to unsatisfactory ink distribution, which will in turn lead to compromised detail and image rendering on final products. Cracked or dirty plates won’t be able to transfer ink as effectively to the substrate, leading to similar quality diminishments on final products.

These problems are bad enough in and of themselves, but when they happen in the middle of a workday, production halts and bottom lines plummet. Thankfully, such issues can be avoided through regular cleaning and maintenance. Keeping your anilox rolls, flexo plates, doctor blades, and ink trays clean at all times will greatly reduce the likelihood that your finished prints will turn out poorly. Plus, regular cleaning will help save you time in the long run. By scheduling regular maintenance inspections for your equipment, you will be able to identify problems before they arise and schedule necessary repairs or replacement wherever needed without losing a day (or more) of work and compromising your bottom line. Maintenance inspections will also alert you to any practices you may have been neglecting or performing incorrectly, helping you to avoid costly mistakes in the future.

Keeping Costs Low

As a business owner, you want to keep costs low. For this reason, regular cleanings and maintenance inspections might seem like a bothersome or unnecessary investment. In fact, this couldn’t be further from the truth. By scheduling regular maintenance inspections, you are protecting yourself from unwanted equipment mishaps and malfunctions down the road. Should a component of your machine break in middle of a busy printing day, you will not only be out the cost of a new component — you’ll have also lost at least a day’s worth of business. By scheduling regular maintenance inspections, you will know to repair and replace parts ahead of time, keeping your bottom line and your peace of mind intact.

Regularly cleaning your flexography equipment will also help keep costs low. Regular cleanings will extend the lifespans of nearly all components of a flexography system, thus saving you money on untimely replacements. By investing in a specialized cleaning machine like one of our many state-of-the-art models at Flexo Wash, you will be able to clean the components of your flexography system efficiently and effectively for optimal perseveration and performance.

Keep Clean With Flexo Clean

When it comes to cleaning your flexography equipment, there is simply no better choice than our fully-automated cleaning machines here at Flexo Wash. Used by some of world’s leading printing companies, our machines are designed for maximum efficiency and cleaning performance across a wide range of flexography products. We proudly manufacture machines specifically designed to clean narrow web products, wide web products, and gravure products respectively. To learn more about our product line, and to speak with one of our flexography professionals about cleaning your flexographic equipment, give us a call at (888) 493-5396 today!

The Best Techniques for Keeping You Anilox Rolls Clean

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!

Knowing When to Clean

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.

Using the Right Cleaners

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.

Other Considerations

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.

Effectively and Efficiently Clean Your Anilox Rolls With Flexo Wash

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.

Have more questions about anilox roll cleaning? Contact our professionals at (888) 493-5396 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!