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It's the Little Things That Count

Doctoring systems have several interconnecting elements that lead to successful print jobs.

March 2008 by Chris Mc Loone
Many of us have relayed the line, “it’s the little things,” in response to something we find funny or which made us feel good. It’s the same for your print jobs—“little things” play crucial roles. Critical components of flexographic or gravure print jobs are the anilox rolls or gravure cylinders and the doctoring systems that work to control the ink that lays upon the finished product. Properly installed and maintained doctoring systems also go a long way toward improving your bottom line, as they can directly impact whether or not your rolls or cylinders last as long as they should. “Eighty percent of all anilox rolls are damaged before they wear out,” says Jazmin Kluttz, ­Harper Corporation of America. “One of the leading causes of this high mortality rate is [a contaminant] in the ink system, which becomes trapped between the doctor blade and the anilox roll, leaving a bright line around the anilox roll. These lines are visible to the naked eye on the anilox roll, and in print are referred to as ‘score lines.’” The advantages of avoiding score lines are obvious when you consider the cost of gravure cylinders and failure to use them for their entire life spans.

Success stories

The proof is in the pudding, as they say, when looking at the benefits stemming from the proper use of doctoring systems. The following are a few success stories from your peers.

W/S Packaging, Alboma, Wis.

W/S Packaging has 23 presses running on the pressroom floor at this facility, and was paying approximately $10,000 a month to replace anilox rollers. About two and a half years ago, Max ­Daetwyler Corp. (MDC) began working with W/S Packaging and Bryan Ellerbrock, senior technical advisor, to help find a workable, long-term solution to the anilox roller scoring issues.

Ellerbrock and MDC started by studying what was going on with W/S Packaging’s presses and looked at ways to resolve the issue. With 80 percent of its anilox rollers damaged from scoring, it was obvious that the more economical approach was to replace doctor blades instead of the rollers. MDC had experience successfully using its nickel-coated Soft Blade with high-corrosive inks for the gravure industry. MDC felt that it also made sense to introduce this coated blade into the flexo printing process since the nickel coating is corrosion-resistant and provides a softer, gentler point of contact. The company felt that this could significantly reduce lines, streaking, and steel contamination against the anilox roll, ultimately resulting in extended lifetimes.
 

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