Anilox Sleeve Cleaning
Proper Anilox Sleeve Cleaning
You just purchased a new sleeve press, and you have no prior experience with anilox sleeves. Intimidating right? Well, no worries. In this blog we will be shedding light on some potential problems and how they can be prevented. We want to make sure that you maximize the life of your investment and get as much work from it as possible!
Be Mindful of the Sleeve Interior
One of the most important things to pay attention to is the inside of the sleeve. The sleeve interior can also be called the bore or the inside diameter (ID). It is just as important to clean the inside of the sleeve as it is to clean the exterior and the ends. Any foreign matter can greatly hinder the ability to install the sleeve into press and it complicates the removal process.
Never try to forcibly remove ink or debris by hand or with a tool. The best method is to use an approved cleaning solution. We recommend using a lint-free cloth and an aluminum-safe cleaner. Low pH cleaners such as vinegar causes aluminum oxidation and cane create blistering. If you are unsure of what cleaning solutions are safe, please contact your anilox vendor, ink vendor, or press manufacturer for further guidance. Feel free to contact us directly for additional information.
Considerations and Suggestions
Another important consideration is the sleeve’s air mandrel system. The mandrel should always be within the OEM’s recommended PSI range. It is also important to check all gauges and hoses are in optimal condition as well. Try to remove the sleeve in a solid and smooth motion. Avoid twisting, turning, etc. These actions can damage the overall integrity of the anilox sleeve. If the integrity is compromised, the sleeve will no longer fit properly. Always take care when installing the sleeve.
Applying too much force to the sleeve when sliding it onto the mandrel can lead to chipping on the ends of the sleeve. Chipped ends can lead to a variety of issues. If the ends are chipped, consider having the sleeve recovered. Have the end seals evaluated for any issues as well. It is always a good practice to keep the guards clean and free of ink and they should be dried completely when cleaning.
As mentioned before, ensure the use of cleaners that are safe for sleeves. Caustic solutions and solutions with a low pH can lead to corrosion of the aluminum. The rule of thumb is to maintain a safe pH range of 9.0-11.8. Always make sure to rinse and wipe away all the cleaning solution after each cleaning. You can use a solution such as alcohol or acetone to purge the sleeve’s surface of any water or leftover chemicals as well. If you follow these steps, you are guaranteed a longer life for all your sleeve products!