Why the big fuss about cleaning anilox rollers?

Why the big fuss about cleaning anilox rollers?
September 5, 2017 No Comments » Barkev Graphics Bulletin, Bulletin Barkev Group

Today’s printers have a wide range of different type of inks to choose from to meet the high demand of quality printing.  With these option each ink type has its pros and cons. Some inks dry faster than others and some need UV Lights to cure the ink between printing stations. Then there are options of adding on silkscreen units to help enhance print finish which also needs a solution to clean the screen.

At Barkev we strive to make sure our Technical Sale Consultant are trained to the highest level in our products so they can pass that knowledge to the customer, it’s absolutely imperative that our TSC's understand what printing process their customer are using at the work place. What other printing equipment the customer might of added to achieve high quality print finishing for their client. They could be using a plate cleaning machine and anilox cleaning equipment to meet faster cleaning turnaround time.

Do you have some form of cleaning maintenance plan or program in place? You cannot afford to stop and clean dirty anilox rollers or wash parts because of ink getting contaminated and clogged anilox rollers. There might be ink build up in pipes that when dry could break off and cause Anilox damage. Dirty chamber blade units could lead to doctor blades been seated incorrectly and cause wear and damage to the anilox rollers.

Different inks types have their own set of problems when not cleaned properly. The main three types of inks are Solvent, Water based and UV inks. Then we have water based coating and laminates that can also be problematic if not cleaned after use. The rule is after use clean immediately to prevent costly downtime.

With all this said, we now need to look at what vital function an anilox roller plays in delivering the correct amount of ink to the substrate. Flexography evolved from Letter Press, where the lead type was replaced with flexible moulded rubber plate, the ink from paste to liquid, and smooth metal Ink Roller to a mechanical engraved Anilox Roller. Control of ink transfer was manipulated with pressure between the metal “Anilox / Inking Roller” and the rubber fountain roller.

This was the first, but as the need for better quality print arose so long the changes took place in plate making, ink technology and the Anilox Roller development.

The mechanical Anilox Roller probably first started at a low screen count of 100 to 120# (lines per inch) the 150#, 180#, 200#, 220# and 250#. At this point in time, plate making improved to better quality rubber, to rubber half tone, and to photo-polymer plates. Ink systems are also constantly evolving, we now have solvent based, water based and UV inks. Next came 360# free flow for fine half tone work and cells with channels for better ink release and transfer.

This has been a constant race between plate, ink and ceramic technology. To constantly improve print quality Anilox Rollers screen will be finer and finer, because photo-polymer plate dots will get smaller while inks need to become more sophisticated.

So, the big question of why the big fuss about cleaning anilox rollers? Well just like life where nothing comes free and there’s always a catch, so we have the trade-off scenario where at times there is an adverse effect that needs to be addressed and in this case, it is clogging of Anilox rollers, mainly because cells are smaller and because of water based, solvent and UV ink systems.

Every printer has an Anilox Roller that requires cleaning. They could be using one of the following methods commonly used in the industry. Then we have cleaning baths for parts and plates that require cleaning and chemicals products to remove the dry ink.

  • Recyl 2000.
  • Cobra.
  • Manual Cleaning with a brush and solvent or gel.
  • Laser cleaning.
  • Wash Bath and heating tanks.
  • Ultra-Sonic Cleaning.
  • Media Blasting.
  • Dry Ice Blasting.
  • Circulation Cleaning.

WHY A MAINTENANCE CLEANING PROGRAM IS REQUIRED?

CLEANING PROCEDURES

  • Chemical cleaning done manually.
  • Gel or paste also done manually or in the machine.
  • Using wash up systems like baths and heating tanks.
  • Using electronic cleaning equipment like Ultrasonic cleaning baths.

SAFETY FIRST

SAFETY GLOVES, GOGGLES SHOULD ALWAYS BE WORN WHEN WORKING WITH ANY CLEANING CHEMICALS!!!!

Barkev supplies a wide range of products. Contact us and we will send a technical sales consultant to come in and see you.

RECYL

RECYL 2000 ANILOX CLEANER.

Recyl Clean 2000 helps Flexo (and Offset and Gravure) printers and converters maintain quality by keeping the Anilox and Chrome Rollers clean, through a weekly manual clean. This product is designed as a maintenance cleaning product for in the machine and off the machine cleaning.  Recyl Clean 2000 is designed to maximize ink transfer capacity on both Ceramic and Chrome rollers. Recyl works on all types of inks. Its thixotropic properties ensure an even finish and do not dry over the surface, or inside of the cells or on the surface of the Anilox Roller.

The idea behind this is that if you frequently clean the Anilox Roller you will have between 95 and 100% of the cells capacity available. This in turn will provide one with consistence ink transfer. This was one of our first agency that we required 20 years ago. Recyl was the product that allowed us to get into many companies. Recyl is available in an 800-gram goose neck bottle for easy pouring.

RECYL 2000 APPLYING BY HAND.

  • Use gloves when applying Recyl by hand:
  • Make sure that rollers are clean and no surface damage is visible.
  • If it is a sleeve with an aluminium base, it is important for one to tape off the edges to avoid direct contact with the aluminium and inside.
  • Apply Recyl sparingly to Anilox Roller and massage into the cells.
  • Remember the excess on top goes to waste.
  • Use a brass brush for chrome rollers and Stainless Steel for ceramic, move in circular motion across the surface of the Anilox to agitate Recyl clean in the cells. Do this every few minutes to expose fresh Recyl to the clogged ink.
  • Do this for 20 to 30 min depending on how dirty the Anilox roller is.
  • Can leave RECYL on the Anilox roller over the week end.
  • Wrap in cling wrap to prevent product from drying out.
  • Use this technique over long weekends and during shut down periods or when roller won’t be used for a while.

RECYL 2000 APPLYING DIRECT ON MACHINE.

  • Make sure that rollers are clean and that there’s no damage to the Anilox Roller.
  • If it is a sleeve with an aluminium base, it is important for one to avoid direct contact with the aluminium and inside.
  • Use the concentrate and apply onto Anilox Roller with doctor blade engaged, while Anilox rotates in machine.
  • Depending on length of Anilox roller pour quarter of Recyl in the centre of roller.
  • Recyl will spread its self across the full length of the Anilox.
  • Recyl will be squeezed into the cells while Anilox rotates.
  • Let machine run for 5 minutes and make sure that there are no dry spots on the roller.
  • If there are dry spots then add a drop or two in the area so that it can be covered while machine runs.
  • Before removing Anilox from machine wipe off doctor blade and rubber rollers.
  • Recyl will remove the glaze from the rubber roller but can make the rubber swell where it forms beads, so wiped off with a damp water cloth immediately from rubber roller.
  • Clean machine where there is any trace of Recyl as it can corrode aluminium parts.
  • If you are not going to use the Anilox roller, can remove and store with a layer of Recyl applied to the surface.
  • If roller is going to be used immediately wash off with warm damp cloth to remove Recyl from roller.

RECYL COBRA DEEP CLEAN.

Cobra was specifically designed for large presses such as corrugated printers where it is time consuming to remove the Anilox Rollers. For application in press, however this can be done off press as well. Cobra should only be used on severely clogged Anilox Rollers where other cleaning products don’t work. Neutralizing powder is supplied to disposed of the product after its been used. If it is a sleeve with an aluminium base, it is important for one to tape off the edges to avoid direct contact with the aluminium and inside.

  • Safety gloves, goggles and neutralising agent supplied with kit.
  • Cobra can only be used on ceramic Anilox Rollers.
  • Cover area where you going to work with plastic.
  • Cobra is a very aggressive acid based Anilox Cleaner so caution is of the utmost importance.
  • Cobra covers an area of 6 MT square.
  • Apply Cobra by hand and massage into the cells of the Anilox Roller.
  • Use a Stainless-steel brush to agitate the Cobra into the cell of the Anilox Roller.
  • Cobra should only be left on the Anilox roller for up to 30 minutes at a time.
  • Wash Cobra off with wipes that are provided and rinse off in a bucket of water with neutralizing agent provided.
  • Once neutralised the product will change colour and can be disposed down the drain.

REVIVE AQUA WASH

REVIVE AQUA WASH FF5111

Revive Agua Wash is a water based general purpose cleaner. This product can be used straight or diluted to 1:1 with water.  Can be used by hand or in a bath. Must use gloves and goggles to protect eyes and hands from chemicals.

  • Good for cleaning Anilox Rollers with a wet cloth on a daily basis.
  • Can soak a clogged Anilox Roller in a bath and clean Anilox with a Brass or Stainless Brush.
  • Avoid contact with painted machine frame.
  • Mop floors around machines working area to remover ink stains.
  • Works well on Litho coating stations as a cleaning agent to pump through the system on water based coatings.
  • Can be pumped through their inking system to keep pipes, pump and chamber blade system free of dried ink.
  • Good for cleaning dirty printing plates or stereos.
  • Excellent when used in cleaning bath to wash dirty parts.

REVIVE UV WASH

REVIVE UV WASH FF2199

Revive UV Wash is used for solvent and UV inks only. Can be used by hand or in a cleaning bath. Can be distilled for recycling purposes. Revive UV Wash is odourless and it’s not flammable. This product will leave an oily feel to the parts that have been washed. Can wipe off with a damp water rag. It’s non-toxic. 

NOTE: Revive UV Wash cannot be diluted and is blue in colour for identification.

  • Good for cleaning Anilox Rollers with a wet cloth on a daily basis.
  • Can soak a clogged Anilox Roller in a bath and clean Anilox with a Brass or Stainless Brush.
  • Wipe ink splashes off the frame of the machines keeping press in a clean state.
  • Good for cleaning dirty printing plates (stereos).
  • Excellent when used in cleaning bath to wash dirty parts.
  • No evaporation when left standing open.
  • Odourless.
  • Non-Toxic.
  • Can be distilled.

REVIVE COMBO PK WASH

REVIVE COMBO PK WASH FF 2206

Revive Combo PK Wash is used for water bases inks, solvent and UV inks. Can be used by hand or in a cleaning bath. Can be distilled for recycling purposes. Revive Combo PK Wash is odourless and it’s non-flammable. Revive Combo PK wash works well in plate cleaning machines. Cleans plate exceptionally well and leaves no residue behind.  This product is not to be diluted.

  • Can be used to clean plates by hand with a plate brush.
  • Excellent when used in cleaning bath to wash printing plates.
  • Works in cleaning bath for parts as well.
  • Non-Flammable.
  • Non-Toxic.
  • Can be distilled.

REVIVE HEAT TANK WASH UP

REVIVE HEAT TANK W200 WASH UP FF 2258

Revive W200 Wash is suitable for the following ink types:

  • Water based.
  • Solvent.
  • UV inks.

NOTE: REVIVE W200 must only be used on ceramic Anilox Rollers. Best used in a heating tank cleaning bath.  Works well when the product is heated to around 60 degrees. Can be diluted 1: 1. Revive W200 Wash is odourless and it’s not flammable. This product is very aggressive and extreme care should be taken when working with Revive W200.

  • Good for cleaning Anilox Rollers with all ink types.
  • Deep Cleans the cells of Ceramic Anilox rollers.
  • Best suited for a heating tank with Anilox rotating in solution.
  • Spray anilox clean or rinse with water after cleaning process.
  • Don’t use on aluminium products like sleeves.
  • Odourless.
  • Non-Flammable.
  • Can be distilled.

REVIVE SCREEN WASH

REVIVE SCREEN WASH FF 2262

Revive Screen Wash is suitable for Silk Screen inks and won’t damage the silk. Not to be mixed with other solvents or water product. If mixed with other solvents or water it will wash off the burnt-on image on the silkscreen.

  • Spray or submerse screen in product.
  • Rinse with water after cleaning process.
  • Can be distilled.

REVIVE ULTRASONIC CLEANER

REVIVE ULTRASONIC CLEANER FF 2204

Revive Ultrasonic Cleaner is suitable for all type of inks. The unit emits sonic frequency that cause the Ultrasonic Cleaner Solution molecules to vibrate and shake loose the dirt from the cells. This system is set on a timer and the frequency can be adjusted. These units are normally set to 20 min cycles. If set to long it can cause damage to the Ceramic cell of the Anilox Roller. The Ultrasonic Solution is also heated in these units.

  • Spray anilox clean or rinse with water after cleaning process.
  • Deep cleans Anilox Rollers cells.
  • Don’t use on aluminium products like sleeves.
  • Odourless.
  • Non-Flammable.
  • Non-toxic.
  • Biodegradable.
  • Can be distilled.

REVIVE FCC TANK CLEANER

REVIVE FCC TANK CLEANER FF2222

This product is best suited for the corrugated industry where it’s difficult to remove the Anilox Roller. This is a concentrate solution that gets diluted with water 3:1. The unit is mobile and gets pushed to the machine. The tank is filled and switched on so that the cleaning solution can heat up till 60 deg.

The printing station needs to be flushed out with the chamber blade system in place, using water. This is to make sure that most of the inks is removed from the printing station. After the system has been flushed the inlet and return pipes are placed in the heated cleaning solution.

The machine needs to run for about 2 to 3 hrs depending on how clogged the Anilox roller are. This is recommended for the first clean to get the Anilox clean. After the initial clean, the time could be for 30 min to an hour.

ADVANTAGES OF A FLUSHING SYSTEM.

  • Biodegradable, no additional cost for disposal.
  • Easy to clean Anilox while still wet.
  • Significantly reduced wash up time as the press gets wider.
  • The completed inking systems gets cleaned tanks, pumps, pipes and chamber blade units.
  • Time saving.
  • Cost effective.

Contact us today for a consultation

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Barkev Group
Barkev Group "A Proudly South African company offering world class products and solutions to the printing and packaging industry for the past 29 years"

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