When operating a printing press, efficiency and quality go hand-in-hand to keep your customers happy and your business profitable. An improperly cleaned press might results in a bad print run — costing you time and money. Keep your business running smoothly by using the right anilox cleaners for your press to avoid the hassle of redoing a job because of lines or ink residue.
How Often Should You Clean Your Anilox Rollers?
Depending on the size of your print operation, daily, weekly, and monthly cleaning may be necessary. If you are printing large orders quickly, you may even need to check the cleanliness of your rollers more frequently.
It’s good practice to clean the rollers between print runs, so any residual ink is removed and won’t corrupt the next printing order.
While cleaning the anilox rollers and keeping the doctor blades in good shape is integral to the life of the printing press, don’t forget the other moving parts in your machinery. Plates, applicators, and trays need to be periodically inspected and cleaned for optimal performance.
What Cleaners Should You Use?
It will depend on what kind of anilox rollers your press uses, and whether you use metal or plastic doctor blades. There are different products and solutions for all individual parts of a press. Anilox rollers are most often either solid aluminum or steel cylinders with a ceramic or chrome coating that defines the anilox cells, so consult your manufacturer’s guidelines on what cleaners are safe to use — and always purchase from an authorized distributor so you know the product is quality controlled.
Typically, anilox cleaners employ acidic and alkaline solutions to clean dried ink off rollers and prevent scar lines. Many formulas also use rust inhibitors and lubricants to help maintain the lifespan of your press.
Manual cleaning may be a mundane chore, but it’s vital for the longevity and upkeep of your printing press. Better to clean now than have to replace parts in the future!