Like it or not your operator is going to have to manually clean their anilox prior to or during a print run.
Choosing what cleaning chemistry to apply can either make the task quick and effective or an absolute nightmare!
The first task is to determine what ink/coating formulation you have in helping to select the right product for the job.
Knowing if you are dealing with a Water, Solvent, UV or combination of these ink chemistries is fundamental as all cleaning solutions have been especially formulated to clean specific ink pigments and resins.
When asked which type of inks are the most difficult to clean they are usually surprised to learn that water based inks and coatings generally present the most challenging cleaning issues as once the water/solvent vehicle that transfers the ink pigment has evaporated it is always difficult to rewet.
Even the best of cleaners will struggle to remove any ink that has been allowed to sit on a surface and dry out for an extended period of time and in particular on a porous surface such as a ceramic coated anilox.
So one of the secrets to getting ink off any surface effectively in addition to using the right cleaning product is to remove it as quickly as possible. This usually means at press side or actually on press itself.
In terms of the solution it must have a pH greater than the ink or coating that it must clean but not such that it will attack softer metals or is significantly hazardous to the operator or the environment.
Equally if using an acid based cleaner it again should not be below 2.5 pH . In both cases the cleaning products should be neutralized with fresh water immediately after using and the surface dried completely.
To remove staining, camouflaging, banding an acid based product such as our Eliminator has been proven very effective over many years such that most customers refer to it as “Magic in a bottle”!
For thicker dried on surface ink and some staining our Rejuvenator gel is also extremely effective and not being liquid is less prone to running around a roll making it very popular for on press cleaning.
We generally recommend applying these products using one of our Erazor sponges which helps hold the cleaning product against the surface to be cleaned and at the same time wick the contamination from the surface that is being cleaned.
For general lighter cleaning and on press wash ups our Reacleen and Deepcleen concentrates can be diluted with water and used from spray bottles for spot cleaning or pumped through the ink system for full wash ups on press.
There is no doubt that manual cleaning will never be as effective as mechanical cleaning such as with an ultrasonic system that we recommend but is an integral weapon in a printers daily arsenal that absolutely needs to be used if the performance or any anilox is to be maintained throughout a print run.