The Challenge

Our customer in the Post Print Corrugated sector was experiencing repeated coverage and colour density issues during production print runs. The customer site has a structured anilox care and maintenance procedure in place, so it caused concern as to why this issue had started to occur.

The Anilox roller is a critical component within the flexographic print process, meaning any degradation in performance can be costly in terms of print quality rejections and press downtime to correct the issue.

The Process

Our experienced Technical Manager visited the customer site promptly to investigate the root cause of the underperforming Post Print Corrugated Press.

During the site visit our Technical Manager undertook an assessment to review the condition of the anilox rollers and observed the operational activities of the operators and their procedures. During which the ink recouperation process was run.

With a constant emphasis on gaining operational efficiencies and cost savings, with inks being an expensive commodity within the flexographic print process, modern print machinery is set-up with this in mind.

Ink recouperation is the first process within the wash-down cycle, returning the unused ink to the ink bucket.

The press allows 2 minutes for this process to take place, to recover maximum amounts of ink from the chamber.

On inspection, the ink chamber was empty just 1 minute into the cycle. The remaining time allowing the continuous rotation of the anilox roller with ink still present to the surface.

With the doctor blade still engaged friction increases causing ink to dry onto and within the anilox cells, causing anilox cell contamination.

The Solution

We reviewed this operation and worked out the length of time to run the ink recouperation process, which would recover 95% of the ink without effecting anilox conditions.

After several runs, and various calculations done to balance the retrieval of ink against the care of the anilox rollers, it was determined that a 1 minute recouperation process cycle would be with be the optimum time to benefit all elements.

The Added Value

By making the change to the ink recovery cycle time the business benefited from:

    • Operational efficiencies were still maintained through ink retrieval.
    • Anilox roller conditions were maintained consistently, by removing the excessive 1 minute of “Dry” rotation during the wash-down cycle.
    • Doctor blade wear and the likelihood of anilox roller damage was significantly reduced.
    • Cost savings were achieved through the reduction of reactive contract cleaning to reverse the negative effects of this set up

Working as an extension to our customers flexographic print process and through our regular site assessments and technical support, Print Tech Solutions continue to support the best care and maintenance of anilox rollers and flexographic print processes, for consistent print quality and the long-life of anilox rollers.

If you’re experiencing a similar print issue, book a site assessment now

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