Splish Splash, I was Takin' a Bath ...
Converters will be singing once they've mastered keeping their anilox rolls clean with these supplier cleaning tips!
By Joy English
IT'S BATH TIME! And a mother's famous words, "Don't forget to scrub behind your ears," are ringing loud and clear. Bath time, to a child anyway, is never much fun. But, it is necessary—and for anilox rolls, it is essential.
For anilox rolls, scrubbing the hard-to-reach areas is key to removing dried ink. And just using water will not get the job done. A cleaning system must be used. Several suppliers have given packagePRINTING their top anilox roll cleaning tips, while several converters have provided feedback on the benefits achieved from the cleaning systems they use.
"The anilox roll is arguably the most critical component of the flexo process, in terms of ensuring print quality and standardization," says Jack Mikolajczyk, vice president of solutions, Pamarco Global Graphics. "By optimizing the performance of the anilox, the printer can consistently control color density and strength. This reduces set-up time and press downtime, and ultimately reduces waste and improves productivity."
Yet, if the rolls become clogged with ink or coated with additives from the ink, converters will have a multitude of problems on their hands, from reduced ink capacity to low color density and poor quality. The life of the anilox roll will also decrease.
With all of these outcomes riding on clean rolls, one would assume that converters would make cleaning their anilox rolls a top priority. But, according to Jan Bendixen, president of Flexo Wash, many do not. "I have had experiences with production managers and converters not understanding that anilox rolls need to be cleaned."
Dirty to dirtiest
Anyone who plays in the mud all day long is going to end up dirty. Anilox rolls play in a similar environment—covered in ink and/or adhesives, in ambient air that can be entrained with dust and fibers.