5 Tips From Printing Experts for Protecting Your Anilox Rolls
Printing companies need to constantly monitor their presses to ensure they are running efficiently and producing quality products. If the printer anilox rolls are neglected, the engraved cells can get clogged with ink residue from previous printing jobs. To avoid reduced ink coverage, project re-dos and wasted labor time, it’s important to clean and maintain anilox rolls the best you can. You should also set up procedures for storage and handling to protect your investment. Here are some tips for extending the life of your business’s anilox inventory.
Use Proper Handling
According to Packaging Impressions, a print trade publication, anilox rolls can cost as much as $1500 each. Using proper handling is necessary to avoid the risk of damaging this expensive component. Anilox rolls should be removed and carried carefully from the box before installing them into the printer. Never drag the rolls across the floor and always keep them covered when they are not in use.
Monitor Doctor Blades
If rolls are chipped and leaking, operators tend to worsen the situation by putting more stress on the doctor blade, which is added wear and tear. Be sure to check for ink build-up by separating the blades from the anilox roll.
Keep the Ink Moving
Even when the printing press is not in use, the anilox roll should always be rotating and stirring the ink to prevent drying and to keep the doctor blades and the roll lubricated.
Ideally, an anilox should be cleaned after every print job. This is not always possible so you need to set up a cleaning schedule that includes a chemical-based anilox roll cleaner and a pressurized water rinse. Use a stainless steel brush to get rid of additional ink residue.
Use Caution With Cleaning Products
Your printing operators should double-check labels of chemicals for toxicity or corrosion warnings. If a cleaning agent’s pH is not within 6.5 – 11.8, it can damage the ceramic. Also, remind staff to use milder cleaning products on aluminum cores. Always emphasize the need to wear protective coverings including gloves and safety glasses when handling any chemicals.
Printing supervisors also comment that staff training can help ensure that employees understand how to properly clean and maintain printer components, including anilox rolls. If you encourage employees to be responsible for the equipment they use, they will likely work together to keep their stations as problem-free as possible. Following these key suggestions for establishing cleaning and maintenance procedures will help your business protect its machinery and continue to produce quality products.