Anilox Rolls and Sleeves

Anilox Rolls and Sleeves

Anilox Rolls

A common method used during the printing process is anilox -- when a measured amount of ink is supplied to a flexographic (flexo) print plate. Anilox rolls are the hard steel or aluminum cylinders that are coated by an industrial ceramic. The surface of the anilox rolls are laser engraved with very tiny dips, forming anilox cells.The engraving pattern used will affect the anilox efficiency and therefore it is very important to choose the engraving pattern and cell shape that will provide the best results. During printing, the anilox rolls are coated in a measured amount of ink that is then rolled over the raised portion of the flexo printing plate.

Let the presses roll

When it comes to our anilox rolls, we focus on more than just the performance and durability of the coating. We take extensive measures to ensure that our anilox rolls are mechanically sound and our engravings are exact.

We manufacture each of our anilox rolls to meet the OEM requirements for your flexo printing press and your unique specifications. We coat each one with our exclusive ceramic coating made of 99%-pure chrome oxide for optimal porosity, bond strength and density. One of the hardest ceramic coatings in the industry, our ceramic coating maintains an average hardness of 1300 Vickers and can be ground and polished to maximize surface integrity and service life of your anilox roll.

Finally, the laser engravings on our anilox rolls produce the proper cell volume and structure essential for accurate color reproduction and consistent ink release. Our microscopic laser pattern engravings are specific to your print application and can range from eight lines per inch to high-resolution patterns of 1300 lines per inch.

Roll up your sleeves

We also manufacture a line of anilox sleeves that are lightweight, easy-to-handle and require less storage space than those sold by our competitors. Each of our anilox sleeves is engineered with air cushion technology to provide optimal shock absorption and impact resistance, ultimately improving your press performance. Our anilox sleeves protect the side faces of your roll, reducing inner-layer damage and delivering better corrosion protection.

Our anilox sleeves can also improve print quality by offering a better compromise between line screen and volume choices, higher line screen count availability, improved image contrast and better ink metering control.

We offer anilox sleeves in a variety of custom sizes and can manufacture them with up to 67” in printing width.

Currently, our anilox sleeves are available through the following plant locations:

  • Charlotte, North Carolina 

  • Ratingen, Germany

  • Novara, Italy

  • Changzhou, China

  • Kozuki, Japan

How do I clean my anilox rollers?

Cleaning anilox rollers is an important part of their care and maintenance. If done on a regular basis, the anilox rollers will last longer, have a better ink transfer and reliable re-usage rate for printing. There are several methods and technologies that can be used to clean the anilox rollers:

  • Manual Chemical cleaning method: Anilox rollers should be cleaned on a daily and monthly basis. The rollers should be washed with chemical solvents after each retooling. Every 1-3 months the rollers should be deep cleaned and scrubbed with a chemical cleaner that will penetrate the ceramic surface.
  • Chemical cleaning Machine method: The anilox roller is treated with ink specific solvents then sprayed with heated chemicals which separate the binding agent from the ink. Other cleaning agents are then used to dissolve the remnants.
  • Anilox blasting technology: The anilox roller is dry cleaned by spraying it with a powder such as baking soda. The powder penetrates the cells, blasting off dried ink and other debris. The powder is then washed off with water.
  • Ultrasonic cleaning technology: The roller is rotated in a heated chemical solution in which ultrasonic sound waves are used to create gas bubbles. The gas bubbles implode on contact with the roller releasing pressure and temperature that dissolve and remove debris in the anilox cells. This method is very efficient with a majority of the inks used in the flexography process.
  • Laser anilox cleaning technology: Using a laser gun, the anilox roller is subjected to a laser beam which has a high-intensity impact on the ceramic surface, and causes cold evaporation of contamination. All other ink and contamination left on the roller can be removed by suction.

What does BCM stand for in printing?

BCM stands for Billions of Cubic Microns. In printing, cell volume is the capacity of the engraved surface in a square in and is expressed in BCM. A high cell volume means higher solid ink density and a heavier thicker coating. A lower cell volume means less ink will be applied and print quality may be affected. Cell volume is impacted over time due to wear, clogging and cleaning. Dirty or clogged cells can be fixed through proper cleaning regime and restore the cell volume. Wear is irreversible and will result in weaker or less color transfer due to lower cell volume.