How do you clean anilox rollers?

Baking soda particles give your anilox rollers a deep cleaning

Anilox roll cleaning is essential to maintain the precision of the ink or coating being delivered to the substrate. The clogging of the cells of laser-engraved ceramic anilox rollers with contaminants and dried ink impairs the printing quality. If you neglect to clean your rolls on a regular basis, you will not get the most out of your investment. Plugged cells will affect print quality and cause you frustration, waste and downtime. An anilox cleaning program consisting of daily, weekly and deep cleaning will preserve the integrity of the anilox engraving and ensure quality, press efficiency and longer anilox life.

Volume on new anilox rollers is even across and around the surface of the roll. As the roll is used, however, a residual amount of ink or coating material is left behind in the cells after the transfer has taken place. The residue dries and creates build-up in the cells. Over time, these deposits decrease the capacity of the cells and reduce their ability to carry and release the volume of ink or coating for which they were designed. This residue also raises the surface tension of the roll and increases the tendency of the coating to cling to the surface. When this occurs, the roll will not release the proper volume of ink or coating to the plate.

You, no doubt, have a daily process of cleaning down your anilox rolls by hand, wiping them down with a clean, lint-free cloth. This keeps the ink and coating from drying and building up in the cells. You likely also have a weekly maintenance plan to brush the rollers with a brush and paste to loosen and remove any ink or coating residue that remain in cells despite daily cleaning.

Over time, however, a residual amount of ink or coating material is left behind in the cells and the roll requires a deep cleaning to remove these tough deposits. This is where soda blasting comes in. Fine, uniformly sized baking soda particles are air-blasted at the surface of a rotating roller. The particles are smaller than the cell openings and reach in to break down the offending material and give your anilox rollers a deep cleaning.

It is important to remember that the duration from the time of contamination of the anilox roller until its cleaning determines how well the cleaning works. The older the ink and lacquer residues, the more difficult they are to remove, or the more incompletely they are removed due to their reactive binding agents.

Kelso Restoration will get your project done right the first time. With offices in Milton and Ottawa, we are happy to service not only the Greater Toronto area and eastern Ontario, but also the entire of Ontario and beyond.

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