5 Tips for Proper Anilox Roller Cleaning
To get the maximum life from your anilox roller, and therefore the highest value and return on your investment, it is important to commit to a proper, regular anilox roller cleaning schedule. Over time, through regular usage and wear and tear, the cells of your anilox rolls will inevitably become clogged with dried ink, dirt, and other materials that, if left unchecked, will begin to impact the volume of ink each cell is able to hold and transfer to the substrate, negatively impacting print quality. But by maintaining a consistent anilox roller cleaning program you can minimize this material build-up, extend the life of your anilox rollers, and run your presses more efficiently and profitably. Here are 5 tips for proper anilox roller cleaning:
Daily Maintenance Cleaning After Each Use
The best thing you can do for anilox roller cleaning is to clean and wipe down each anilox roller at the end of every day, after each use. This will help remove any ink or dirt build-up before it has a chance to dry and plug the anilox roller cells. It is important to clean the anilox as soon as possible after completing the job; the longer you wait the more likely that cell blockage will begin to occur. Take the time to carefully wipe down the entire anilox roll surface.
Use An Anilox Cleaning Brush
It is also a good idea to regularly clean your anilox rollers with an anilox cleaning brush. These specially designed brushes are perfect for removing cell build-up. Anilox cleaning brushes are typically made of either stainless steel for use on ceramic anilox rollers, or of brass for use on chrome anilox rollers. Be sure to match the type of brush to the type of anilox you use, to ensure proper anilox roller cleaning that won’t damage your anilox.
Occasional Deep Cleaning
From time to time, it is a good idea to have your anilox rolls cleaned deeply and thoroughly. Some of the most popular deep cleaning units available are the Ultrasonic Cleaning, Flexo Wash, and Flexoclean systems. During a chemical wash, the anilox is subjected to cleaners that quickly and thoroughly removes all dirt, ink and other debris from the anilox. Some chemical cleaners can be dangerous if misused, so be sure to carefully read the instructions and consult with your ink company to make sure there won’t be any damage concerns.
Send Your Anilox Roller out for Inspection
It is also a good idea to send in your anilox roller for periodic inspection. Contact your anilox manufacturer to learn how they can help ensure that your anilox rollers are clean and functioning properly.
Adhering to a regular anilox roller cleaning schedule may at first seem tedious and perhaps even unnecessary but doing so will help you maintain consistent print quality for your customers and reduce press downtime, improving your profitability. Don’t wait until you’re about to begin an important print job to find out that your anilox rollers are not able to perform optimally because of ink and dirt build-up; commit to proper anilox roller cleaning to keep your business running at its maximum efficiency.