ANILOX ROLL CLEANING is a necessary part of the printing process. Without proper care, anilox cells clog and lead to inadequate ink distribution, poor color densities, and difficulties in matching colors.
There are several cleaning systems on the market today, most suited for a variety of roll widths, diameters, and line screens. No matter what cleaning method is used, "Today's systems must be safe, effective, consistent, and efficient," said Wes Stone, technical manager at WS Packaging-Superior Label Systems (Mason, Ohio).
Chemical wash systems clean aniloxes by enclosing the rolls in a washing machine where it is sprayed with a chemical cleaning agent. The detergent breaks down the medium on the roll, which is washed away by a high-pressure water rinse.
Max Daetwyler Corp. (Huntersville, N.C.), a distributor of chemical wash systems, recently introduced the Renzmann High-Pressure Washing Machine Type HA. The Renzmann HA is a closed, automatic spray jet washing machine for anilox rolls, anilox sleeves, and gravure cylinders. The Renzmann HA includes a special nozzle, which washes with a pressure of 100 bar, spraying the roller as it rotates.
Daetwyler also carries a smaller version of the Renzmann HA, called the Renzmann Washing Machine Type 50. Type 50 is a compact cleaning unit, designed specifically for label printers. The spray washer cleans ink pans, doctor blade holders, and splashguards in one 15- to 20-minute automated cycle. The
The Renzmann High-Pressure Washing Machine Type HA offered by Daetwyler
machine features the convenient "plug and wash" setup, requires no supervision while in use, and is used with eco-friendly chemistries.
Another company that provides chemical washers is Flexo Wash, LLC (Louisville, Ky.). Flexo Wash's FW Series Anilox Roll Cleaners, featuring "plug 'n play simplicity," are designed for all anilox roll sizes from 6˝ to 150˝. According to Michael Potter, general manager of the company, the FW Series Systems dissolve all types of inks, as well as adhesives, lacquers, acrylics, and other coatings with a hot, eco-friendly cleaning agent that is gently applied to the surface of the roll at low-pressure. The chemical is drained, filtered, and recirculated through the unit for use again and again. The anilox roll is then rinsed clean with a 1,400 psi blast of warm water at 100°F and dried with compressed air to eliminate corrosion. The anilox is ready for the press in 10 to 20 minutes. WS Packaging-Superior Label Systems, a primarily narrow-web printing company, uses a Flexo Wash high-pressure cleaning system as a means for safe, effective, consistent, and efficient anilox roll cleaning. "The solution we use with this equipment is non-caustic so as to protect our employees," said Stone of WS Packaging-Superior Label Systems. "This technique is low maintenance, cleans multiple rolls per cycle, and is not harmful to the anilox."