Whether you run a printing business or have a press in your hobby shop, the anilox rollers used in printing can represent a significant portion of your budget. These rolls have steel or aluminum cores with a ceramic coating and are used in flexography to transfer ink from a foundation roll to the flexible printing plate. The surface of an anilox roll is covered in dimples that catch ink and deposit it on the raised surfaces of the flexo plate, but the size and shape of these dimpled cells will vary depending on the printing job.
Cleaning and Storing
Cleaning and storing your anilox rolls properly can keep them in better condition for longer and help you get more of a return on your investment. You will want to start by finding the right anilox roll cleaner for both the ceramic surface and the type of core your unit has. Some cleaners will damage the ceramic cells or degrade the material of the core, so it is important to know what your rolls are made of and which chemicals to avoid. After cleaning the surface, you will want to rinse the roll several times and dry it thoroughly. Many companies will store their rolls on a drying rack in a secure room to avoid the buildup of dust or fluctuations in temperature.
Applications and Types
Since the size and shape of the anilox cells will determine the ink quantity and distribution on the printing plate, matching cell types to both the ink and the project is important to get the job done correctly. Traditional sixty-degree hexagon shapes are moving out of favor as they reliably only release sixty to seventy percent of the theoretical ink volume, with more elongated hexagon-shaped cells allowing for more volume of ink released and faster printing speeds. Ultrafine screens need cells designed for high-release while substances such as adhesives and varnishes will need higher cell walls to better support doctor blades.
Anilox rolls are some of the most expensive parts of printing presses and are used to transfer ink, varnish or other liquids to the printing plate. These rolls are made by coating a steel or aluminum core with a shell of dimpled ceramic. Because of the substances used on these rolls, as well as the materials used in the construction of them, using the right methods to clean and store them will impact how long they last and how well they work.
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