Clean as a Whistle
It’s a job that Mr. Clean probably wouldn’t take on, but somebody’s got to do it! Cleaning anilox rolls on a regular basis is part of every printer’s routine—a critical requirement for reliable flexographic printing.
Even though anilox roll cleaning is a common requirement in flexo printing, problems still abound due to misapplication or lack of knowledge. To get an idea of some real-world problems (and solutions) in the industry, packagePRINTING contacted a number of companies that provide anilox roll cleaning solutions to see how they solved specific customer problems. They supplied the following examples.
Bill Poulson, northeast technical graphic advisor for Harper Corporation of America, reports: “I had an experience recently with a roll that was running an adhesive for a two-ply lamination. We received a call that the roll was worn down completely. The coat weight was nowhere near the target coat weight they needed. This particular roll was only a few months old. My sales manager and I rushed up there to evaluate the situation.
“At first glance I had to agree that the roll had worn out. The surface of the anilox was smooth with a slight discoloration in the ceramic. I brought along a lab microscope to diagnose the roll. With the microscope I could not find any cell formation at all. The surface of the roll felt like smooth ceramic.
“A small area on the roll was cleaned with our cleaning paste, Ceram Clean II, and I started to see some cell formation. After multiple cleanings in that area, the engraving was exposed and the roll had no wear characteristics at all. This roll needed a real good cleaning and it would be back in production. It took some effort to clean the extreme plugging on this roll, but the Ceram Clean II product worked well as it always has in the past.