What Is the Average Life of Anilox Rolls?

Anilox rolls are undeniably the most important component of the flexographic printing press. However, they are very expensive and delicate. Thus, anilox rolls require sequential maintenance for long-term usage. If you maintain the anilox rolls of the flexographic printers, they can last two years.

On the other hand, poor anilox roll maintenance will make them get damaged beyond repair in a few months. Therefore, it will end up as a costly experience. The lifespan of anilox rolls is cut short due to various reasons. However, the accumulation of ink in the cells of anilox rolls is the major cause of the poor lifespan of anilox rolls.

Why Is Anilox Rolls Maintenance Important?

The maintenance of anilox rolls is very important from quality and lifespan perspectives. If you maintain the anilox rolls regularly, you will be enhancing the lifespan, and these rolls will last for at least two years. Hence, they will fulfill their life period. On the contrary, poorly maintained anilox rolls will not last long.

Moreover, the regular maintenance of anilox rolls in flexographic printing is also significant for print quality. A poorly managed anilox rolls of the flexographic printer will provide a shady output print quality. The cell volume of anilox rolls is changed after the ink debris accumulation. Therefore, the color intensity and consistency will decrease markedly.

Consequently, you will lose your customers owing to the poor print quality. Moreover, the inconsistency of print results will also add to ink wastage. Therefore, it is vital to maintain the anilox rolls effectively to reduce the print downtime and the costs of the anilox roll replacement.

How To Enhance Anilox Rolls Life?

There are several tested and general methodologies that one can follow to improve the lifespan of anilox rolls. These tips and tricks will also keep the print quality consistent, making your printing business reliable and trustworthy for the customer base. The methods to elevate the lifespan of anilox rolls have been discussed briefly in the following text.

Periodic Deep Cleaning of Anilox Rolls

The major job of anilox rolls is to transfer ink to the printing plate. Remember that the anilox rolls’ cells play an important role in the ink transferring process to the printing plate. During the printing process, the ink is prone to get stuck in the cells of anilox rolls. Therefore, this ink within the cells will get dry with time.

Resultantly, the volume of anilox rolls cells will decrease due to the accumulation of ink debris. The next printing process will not be able to submit the adequate amount of ink on the printing plates, leaving misconfigured and unsymmetric colors on the final print. Therefore, it is necessary to do deep cleaning of anilox rolls periodically to avoid these issues.

There are various methods for deep cleaning anilox rolls. Deep cleaning will remove the issue of cell clogging and will provide a consistent print result. Ultrasonic cleaning is the most viable deep cleaning method as it will use ultrasound waves and cleaning solutions to unclog the cells of anilox rolls from the dry ink debris.

Chemical and high-pressure cleaning is also a great method to remove debris stuck in cells for days. The chemicals in this cleaning method will remove the debris thoroughly. Laser cleaning is also an easy and effective deep cleaning methodology. It uses a high-powered laser to vaporize the debris stuck in the cells of anilox rolls. It is a non-abrasive method of cleaning.

Sani blast medium systems utilize high-pressure and bicarbonate soda for deep cleaning anilox rolls. It will out every speck of debris, ensuring the print consistency and longevity of anilox rolls lifespan.

Maintain Depth-To-Opening Ratios of Cells

The depth-to-opening ratio is a key factor determining the print quality in flexographic printing. The volume of cells in anilox rolls is of sheer importance as they play an important role in print consistency. It is essential to have an equal volume of ink supplied through the anilox rolls during the printing process. However, if the anilox rolls are not maintained or cleaned properly, it will result in an unequal volume of cells.

Thereby, the print quality will decrease. Conversely, print downtime and cost of printing will increase due to the unequal volume of cells in the anilox rolls. Therefore, it is vital to maintain the ratio of depth-to-opening of cells to keep consistency in control. The change in the volume of cells will directly impact the color intensity. Therefore, the print consistency will decrease in long or short runs.

Maintaining the volume of cells is not an easy task. Therefore, it is a better approach to managing the depth-to-opening ratio of the cells. Ideally and practically, the depth-to-opening ratios of cells should be below 40% for smooth maintenance and print consistency of anilox rolls.

Careful Installation of Anilox Rolls

Apart from cleaning and cell volume maintenance, installation is also an important step that will decide the lifespan of anilox rolls. The installation process requires certain alignments and proper placement of anilox rolls in the press. It is to be noted that the error tolerances in flexographic printing are in micrometers. Therefore, ample care should be taken during the installation process to avoid a hassle in the future.

Improper installation will impact the functioning of the anilox rollers and will also be disastrous for the printing results. Consequently, it will reduce the lifespan of anilox rolls. Therefore, installation of anilox rolls in a proper manner should be done in the first place.

Schedule Regular Audits of Anilox Rolls

Not every problem within flexographic printing is easy to detect. Therefore, it is important to audit the anilox rolls after regular intervals to increase the longevity of these rolls. The thorough audit of these anilox rolls will highlight all the problem areas and prose a framework for countermeasures. In this way, the audit is an essential part of anilox rolls maintenance and will help you to increase the lifespan of this expensive component of flexography printing.

Concluding Remarks

Anilox rolls in flexographic printing are the most expensive component. They can get damaged easily if no proper care is taken. The lifespan of anilox rolls is two years under the watch of strict maintenance. Therefore, you must take concrete steps to maintain the anilox rolls and increase their lifespan considerably.

Deep cleaning is the most crucial aspect of maintaining anilox rolls, removing the ink particles stuck within the cells. Moreover, keeping the depth-to-opening ratio of cells under 40% is also a key factor in maintaining the anilox rolls. You should also install anilox rolls in the printing press with great care to avoid damage. Last but not least, audits of anilox rolls at regular intervals will underline the problems, and you will be able to increase the lifespan of these rolls accordingly.

Read next about How to inspect Anilox Rollers