Machinery manufacturers are dedicated to making sure the “heart of flexo” is well maintained.
It’s said that the anilox roll is “the heart of flexo.” For human beings, taking care of one’s heart is of paramount importance to ensuring health and longevity. Much like how a proper diet and regular exercise is vital to heart health, a flexographer taking care of anilox rolls through proper care and storage is pivotal in providing high quality, defect-free printing.
Today’s label customer demands are often tied to pushing converters to lower prices and shorten job runs. Patrick Potter, vice president of operations at Flexo Wash, says that these factors have created for converters a dramatic increase in job changeovers and increased inventories, or both. “If the anilox roll is the heart of the flexo printing process and critical to maintaining a well-run operation, proper cleaning, care, and maintenance of your anilox inventory is essential to your survival. The absence of good cleaning practices will lead to increased downtime and inconsistent print results,” he says.
Joe Walczak, president of Sonic Solutions, notes that using a dirty anilox roll means that color densities on the final product will not equal those specified for the job. Because of this, he says, the printer will incur costs in wasted ink, paper, and labor to determine that there is a problem and then correcting for it. “An idle press is not generating revenue; and an undetected print error could ultimately mean losing any repeat business from the customer,” says Walczak.
In order to avoid the aforementioned downtime, inconsistencies and potential revenue loss, converters have various anilox cleaning technologies available to them, supplied by manufacturers dedicated to delivering the peace of mind that a clean anilox roll provides. What follows are descriptions of the latest machinery offered from some of the industry’s anilox cleaning experts.
Flexo Wash was founded in 1990 by an inventive Danish label printer in response to increased demand for improved print quality, as well as a safe and efficient production process. Centrally located in Louisville, KY, USA for over 20 years, Flexo Wash, LLC provides Flexo Wash cleaning technology in North America for the flexographic and gravure printing industries. “Today’s inks and coatings can be difficult to clean, even when they are still wet,” explains Potter. “The longer an ink or coating has been allowed to dry in the cells, the more difficult the cleaning process can be.” Also, he says, plugged and dirty anilox rolls create surface tension that prevents cells from accepting and releasing the correct ink volume. “Converters cannot wait to cleaning their rolls until the anilox can no longer perform. The market is too competitive, and dirty anilox rolls cause inconsistent print quality, increased downtime, excessive waste and thereby loss of competitiveness.”
Potter stresses that with anilox cells getting increasingly smaller, there is a growing need for quality cleaning. “Otherwise, quality printing cannot be obtained,” he says. “Deeper cells can exasperate plugging issues. Plugged anilox rolls cause difficulties in getting the right color, poor color densities, and inadequate ink distribution. Wasted time, ink and substrate is also an issue – and expensive. Smaller cells mean a more delicate cell structure. Delicate cells are more easily susceptible to damage from improper handling, doctor blade scoring and poor cleaning methods. Abrasive cleaners, pads and brushes are no longer a possibility in deep or small cells.
Flexo Wash offers cleaning technology for converters needing to clean from one to nine anilox rolls during a single wash cycle. The Flexo Wash FW Anilox Cleaning Systems incorporate “plug ‘n play” simplicity, Potter explains. “Place the roll, close the lid and push the start button. The entire cleaning process starts with liquid spraying, then rinses with high-pressure water, and finishes with an air blow dry. The whole process is 100% automated. And the systematic cleaning process is safe and harmless to the anilox rolls, employees and the environment, and cell volume is completely restored in less than 20 minutes.
Adding to lower costs, the Flexo Wash Cleaning Solution is filtered for re-use again and again. Another benefit is its simple maintenance: “Change the filter monthly and clean the liquid tank every half year,” Potter says.
“Flexo Wash technology helps our customers print better,” he adds. “We use a safe and gentle cleaning method that does not damage even the thinnest of cell walls. In fact, the cleaning method offered by Flexo Wash means that you can both deep clean the rolls and wash them on a daily basis without harming even the finest screens. It does not matter if the anilox is wet or dry. It does not matter if you need to clean water-based, solvent and/or UV inks, adhesives, lacquers, varnishes, laminates, etc. – it all can be cleaned in the same Flexo Wash FW Anilox Cleaning System with no changes to settings or liquids.”
"We actively practice Lean manufacturing so minutes and seconds mean a lot to us when working to meet our production goals. The Flexo Wash anilox cleaner has provided our shop floor leaders with greater consistency in color management since the cells are more thoroughly and deeply cleaned more often."Read more . . .
Reduce Downtime with New Flexo Wash Anilox Sleeve Cleaner
April 19, 2017 - Would you like to cut your press downtime in half? Flexo Wash has a new Anilox Sleeve Cleaner that will do just that.
Wide web converters are always looking for ways to reduce press downtime and costs. The new Flexo Wash FW 992XL Anilox Sleeve Cleaner will clean TWO wide web anilox sleeves at the same time in about 15 minutes.
This new cleaning technology is a fully automatic system designed to deep-clean and restore two anilox sleeves up to 63” in length with a diameter of 7” or less. The well-known Flexo Wash “wash-rinse-dry” process is quick and gentle — the perfect tool for the daily cleaning of anilox sleeves.
Want to learn more?
Visit Flexo Wash next week (April 25-27) at ICE USA booth number 131, or at FTA InfoFlex 2017 booth number 502 May 1-2, 2017.
Flexo Wash Installs FW 2000M Anilox Cleaner in time for Uteco N.A. Open House
Flexo Wash has installed a new FW 2000M Anilox Cleaner at the Uteco N.A. Demonstration Facility in Kennesaw, GA. The new Anilox Cleaner will be available for demonstration during Uteco’s Open House on March 22, 2017. Representatives from Flexo Wash will be available to answer questions about how converters can improve their operation and print quality with Flexo Wash technology.
FW 2000M Anilox Cleaner will clean sleeves from the new Uteco Crystal 108 press installed in the same Kennesaw, GA facility. This Anilox Cleaner is capable of cleaning Anilox Sleeves and journaled Anilox Rolls with a maximum face length of 67”, overall length of 73”, and diameter of 8”.
“We are proud to continue our partnership with Uteco N.A. This FW 2000M Anilox Cleaner will remain in the Uteco Demo Facility following the Open House,” said Ryan Potter, Vice President of Sales for Flexo Wash. “This Anilox Cleaner has greatly improved the overall processes for Uteco and is integral for any lean production environment”.
Flexo Wash Launches Updated Website and Online Store
January 10, 2017 - Flexo Wash is inviting visitors to explore its new mobile friendly website at www.flexowashus.com. The new website has been designed to provide the ultimate user-friendly experience with improved navigation and functionality from a PC or Mobile Device.
In addition to extensive Leading Cleaning Technology product information, the website includes a new Online Store for customers to purchase replacement parts, Cleaning Solutions, and even new Anilox Inspection Microscopes.
The new website means that customers and prospects can now benefit from richer online content that is easier to navigate and share with others, assisting the specification process. The website is continually updated with details so users can always access the latest technical specifications, view product images and product videos.
Visitors can also stay informed with the latest company news, including product announcements, press releases and appearances at seminars, conferences, and trade shows.
Inland Invests in Flexo Wash Technology for Process Improvment
November 10, 2016 – Inland is a leader in advanced packaging technology. Long known as the premier label printer for the big beer brands and the entire craft brewing industry, Inland has risen to prominence in new categories such as pressure sensitive labels, and flexible packaging.
Always striving to improve, Inland recently turned to Flexo Wash as they sought to improve their internal print processes while reducing unnecessary waste and downtime. Over the last year, Inland has invested in Flexo Wash technology for Anilox Cleaning, Plate Washing, and Parts Washing in multiple facilities.
“When I first spoke with the folks from Inland, they were entering some new markets and wanted to do it the right way from the start. They knew it was important to allow their operators to focus more on running the press and less on the time spent hand cleaning during changeovers”, said Bill Malm, Great Lakes Territory Manager for Flexo Wash. “They were looking for a comprehensive solution and not just one piece of the puzzle”.
Guy Billing, Inland’s VP of Operations stated, “Inland invested in Flexo Wash because of their excellent reputation and the complete solution that they offer for our cleaning and preparatory needs. Because we were so impressed with the excellent performance at our La Crosse, WI facility, we invested in Flexo Wash at our Downingtown, PA facility as well.”
About Flexo Wash, LLC
Flexo Wash technology helps our customers print better. Our products will extend the life of your anilox rolls and sleeves, gravure cylinders, flexo plates, flexo plate sleeves, press parts, and rotary screens, while decreasing the make-ready down time between job runs. Flexo Wash provides “Leading Cleaning Technology” and we are the only company in the world to offer cleaning systems for every need. Visit our website at www.flexowashus.com, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 888-493-5396.