The Basics of Cleaning Anilox Rolls

The Basics of Cleaning Anilox Rolls

In printing, it is crucial to clean your anilox roll periodically. However, you may find yourself struggling to clean the roll and wasting a lot of time during the process.

In any business, wasted time is wasted money. Instead of finding the right cleaner through trial and error, see below for some tips on how to choose the right anilox roll cleaner.

Know the base material of your roll

First, you must understand the composition of your roller. Anilox rolls have a ceramic coating that is susceptible to chipping and scratches. In addition, the core of the roll can either be made from steel or aluminum. If your base is made from aluminum, it is vital to choose a cleaner marketed as aluminum safe. The ceramic coating is porous so that some cleaning solution will penetrate through to the metal interior. Ensure you rinse the roll off after applying the solution; otherwise, you risk corrosion on the base.

Two common chemicals used to clean anilox rollers are sodium hydroxide and potassium hydroxide.

  • Sodium hydroxide has a high acidity that is good for cleaning water-based ink and other grit that accumulates on rolls. Keep in mind that solutions with sodium hydroxide are highly corrosive, especially to aluminum rolls. If you choose to use sodium hydroxide, make sure you rinse off your anilox roll very carefully.
  • Potassium hydroxide is also very caustic. Ensure your printer is compatible with this highly corrosive chemical before spraying down your anilox rolls. Also, potassium hydroxide irritates the skin even at very low doses, so exercise extreme caution when using this solution.

Keeping your anilox roll clean requires knowledge of the roll’s material and the chemicals in your cleaning solution. Do your research before you start spraying down your expensive equipment, and make sure you do not let corrosive chemicals sit for too long on the rolls.

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