Long Term Solution for Anilox Rollers and Scoring - MDC Nickel Coated Soft Steel Blade

MDC Max Daetwyler SwissTec AG

In the Flexo Printing Industry, one of the costliest items to maintain in the pressroom is the Anilox Roller.

(W/S Packaging – Algoma, WI)

It is also widely recognised as the one item which ideally requires the longest lifetime.  As a salesman in the industry, I am frequently asked, “Can you help with scoring issues and anilox roller life?”  A viable and efficient solution to address these two factual concerns is a priority.

As suppliers and end users within the industry, we understand that a score line can be caused by a variety of variables, including anything that comes in direct contact with an anilox roller.  It has been established that regular blade wear and steel shavings can get trapped behind the blade whether it is in a chamber or a single reverse angle holder.   Therefore, the quickest way to extend the life of an anilox roller is by simply preventing the likelihood of scoring.  Max Daetwyler Corporation has introduced the answer to this problem in our Nickel Coated Soft Blade.

W/S Packaging in Algoma, Wisconsin has 23 presses running on the pressroom floor.  The company was paying approximately $10,000 a month to replace anilox rollers.  About 2 ½ years ago, MDC began working with W/S Packaging and Bryan Ellerbrock, Senior Technical Advisor, to help find a workable, long-term solution to his anilox roller scoring issues.  With over 31 years of total experience within the Flexo Printing Industry and W/S Packaging, Bryan knew there had to be a better, more economical approach to correcting his problem.

Bryan and MDC started by studying what was going on with W/S Packaging’s presses and looked at ways which we could use our knowledge, product, and technical resources to solve the issue: 

With 80% of their anilox rollers damaged from scoring, it was obvious that the more economical approach was to replace doctor blades rather than rollers.   The next step was to determine which blade would provide the optimum result.  MDC had experience successfully using the Nickel Coated Soft Blade with high corrosive inks inside the Gravure industry.  We 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 which could significantly reduce lines, streaking and steel contamination against the anilox roll, ultimately resulting in extended lifetimes.

Our evaluation and approach turned out to be accurate.  By incorporating the Soft Steel Doctor Blade into their process, W/S Packaging has reflected a $350,000.00 cost savings over the last three years.

(Clear Lam Packaging – Elk Grove Village, IL)

Max Daetwyler Corporation began working with Clear Lam Packaging, located in Elk Grove Village, Illinois on their scoring issues in 2006.  When Daetwyler initially went into the Clear Lam plant, the presses were developing score lines on 3 to 5 rollers per month.  Because Clear Lam was printing high-end graphics with high anilox line screens and low volumes, they were printing with thin ink films to achieve optimised graphics.  The process to troubleshoot and diagnose the proper solution began by altering many of the variables along with their respective suppliers.  Anilox rolls, end seals and doctor blades were all investigated as either individual or a combination of factors that were magnifying the vulnerability of the anilox roll scoring.  Upon our initial consultation with Clear Lam’s Pressroom Technician, we found that their presses were in great shape.  All decks were within the OEM specifications and the washing systems were working correctly.  At this point it became evident that the doctor blade had become much more crucial to the process, so Daetwyler set out to develop a solution.  We performed numerous doctor blade tests within the Flexo printing market, and while magnets and filters are necessary for keeping the inking system clean and free of debris, this variable alone will not prevent excessive blade wear and contamination by the steel.  Our answer to their frustrating problem came in the form of a blade that wears differently than others; one that wears into much smaller particles than standard steel blades: the MDC Soft Steel Doctor Blade.  Our team of sales and technical specialists spend a great deal of time in the field working with printing companies like Clear Lam.  Scoring is consistently the most costly challenge that faces each one of them.  The press down-time required to perform roller changes, the negative effect it has on the print quality, not to mention the soaring expense of replacing rollers, quickly results in extremely high costs.  The positive news is that by using our Soft Steel Doctor Blade, printers are able to remove the blade as a variable to scoring issues.  With regard to Clear Lam, they celebrated a score-free 2007.

We would like to thank Clear Lam and WS Packaging for letting us share their stories and relay the technical examples of what is happening within Flexo printing pressrooms worldwide.

*The information contained within these case studies was compiled and completed by:

Phil Ford
Regional Sales Manager
Max Daetwyler Corporation
February 2008

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