In a perfect world, immediately! The majority of inks and coatings are formulated to resist moisture, chemical, rub, scuff . .. you get the idea. The longer an ink or coating has been allowed to dry in the cells, the more difficult the cleaning process. Also, plugged, dirty rolls create surface tension which prevent cells from accepting and releasing the proper ink volume.
Good: Clean rolls on a routine maintenance schedule - once a week or once every 7 to 10 days.
Better: Clean rolls after each job
Best: Clean rolls immediately upon rremoval from press prior to storage.
ARE YOU PROACTIVE OR REACTIVE?
Proper care and maintenance of your anilox inventory has a direct relationship to downtime and waste. To obtain access to the full volume of every available cell and enjoy consistent print, you have to perform proper cleaning practices.
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Continuing our series on Good - Better - Best practices, here are some more tips on anilox maintenance.
Yes, preventive maintenance is critical to your bottom line. At Flexo Wash, we recommend a team approach and maintaining a log as a two-pronged approach to implementing best practice in getting the highest performance from both wide web and narrow web anilox rolls.
We can't stress it enough - preventive maintenance is a MUST!
The Team Approach
Develop a team to perform internal audits of your maintenance processes. Schedule and hold regular meetings to discuss the documentation and procedures taking place on each piece of equipment. Make sure everyone is equal on the team, and that everyone is expected to give input.
The Maintenance Log
A maintenance log will keep your team on task for ensuring the best practice approach to maintaining your anilox rolls. And we can’t stress it enough – preventive maintenance is a must!
Your daily/weekly log might track the following:
Use these logs to gather a snapshot of maintenance issues when auditing the condition of rolls, your future needs and budget.
Last month we talked about how a log book and tag team approach benefits your preventive maintenance program. This month, we want to share modern practices for maintaining photopolymer plates.
Old-fashioned, common cleaning practices for plate cleaning include manually cleaning photopolymer plates. Shop rags and fibrous towels along with soft nylon or other brushes are often used with different chemistries to scrub plates clean. Drying time, stacking plates before/after cleaning and other storage options must be considered. The results are often inconsistent and damaging.
Modern, automated cleaning systems are specially designed for cleaning plates and offer a constant, consistent, gentle brush motion. A circular motion cleans all sides of the tiny dots in a controlled, confined cleaning station. Since chemical solutions have limited contact with plates, the process is quick and plates are dried and ready for storage. It’s easy!
Last month we talked about modern practices for maintaining photopolymer plates. Today, we are focused on how the cleaning process can be part of your inspection process.
By now you are aware that plugged anilox cells create conditions that reduce the effective volume of the cells, increase surface tension and result in inconsistent print, unnecessary downtime and waste.
And that’s why your cleaning process is critical. But, how do you know if the cleaning process you have invested in, isn’t the same process that is actually contributing to shortening the life span of your plates?
Without including a proper inspection step along with your cleaning process, you really don’t know if your anilox cells are deep cleaned or if damage is present.
So, what does an inspection process look like? We recommend using a light scope of a minimum 400+ magnification for visual inspection / examination. We also recommend the use of a digital scope for inspection and measurement. A digital scope will measure cell wall, cell opening and cell geometry (angle).
Check out these images - you can clearly see the difference between each one. It's easy to know what's going on when you can magnify the cells and see direct, visual results of before/after cleaning.
At Flexo Wash, we want to make your buying experience simple and easy. That’s why we’ve created an online store. You’ll be able to find and purchase all the Cleaning Solutions, Parts and Scopes we offer. Of course, on-line ordering means you can place your order anytime of the day or night.
To get started, click here and select the button “Request Account”. We’ll get you setup in no time.
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